Clogged toilet drain

A friend of mine lives in a rental property. The toilet is in the second floor bathroom. The toilet drains very, very slowly. And in many cases needs pluging to get the waste down the drain.
As he tells me, plumber came out, and had the toilet off the base. He (the tenant) could see that the drain line was clogged with "crystals". I tried my closet auger, which did loosen up some dark grey particles that came back into the bowl when I pulled out the closet auger. Still drains slowly.
An internet search isn't being very useful. Not many web sites on clearing crystal clogged soil pipe drains. The toilet is next to a bath tub which does drain, probably rather slowly. And in the same bathroom is a sink which does not drain at all.
Any ideas how to open up the toilet drain a bit? I'm thinking either a longer snake (25 footer) through the toilet trap. Easier to do might be pour some acid drain cleaner into the bath tub, or into the toilet tank. Anyone had experience with that kind of clog, and what worked for you?
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Christopher A. Young
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The plumber removed the toilet and yet did not clean the drain?
I'd rent a power auger. Most are 50' so you can get to where the clog really is. I have no idea what the crystals may be. Pouring acid probably will do nothing but cause irritation when you finally clean the drain the right way. Acid has to sit on the clogging material to work properly and it may never reach it.
Remove the toilet and use the auger. I'd also clear the tub and sink drains too. They may not be the culprit today, but could be soon.
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The plumber removed the toilet and yet did not clean the drain? CY: That's the story I'm getting.
I'd rent a power auger. Most are 50' so you can get to where the clog really is. I have no idea what the crystals may be. Pouring acid probably will do nothing but cause irritation when you finally clean the drain the right way. Acid has to sit on the clogging material to work properly and it may never reach it. CY: If the drain runs slowly, the acid would run through the pipe slowly. But, still, that might clog things the rest of the way. Wonder what they cost to rent. Or maybe Harbor Freight has a cheap one to purchase outright.
Remove the toilet and use the auger. I'd also clear the tub and sink drains too. They may not be the culprit today, but could be soon. CY: The sink drain is total clog, the trap is clear. And the tub drain, well, who the heck knows? The tub is probably next problem. Pulling the toilet isn't a lot of fun, but definitely can be done. Thanks for the advice.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

I would not run a big snake thru the bowl trap. Pull the toilet up. If it's an old lead bend in the floor, you also are at risk of perforating it with a snake. Beware.
Have you done the "bucket test" yet? Pour a whole bucket of water rapidly into the bowl. Will it overflow?
You could try acid flush, but there are big risks in that too.
If you could snake down the stack vent, that may help.
You probably have much better things to do... <g>
Jim
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I would not run a big snake thru the bowl trap. CY: Too easy to scratch porelean?
Pull the toilet up. If it's an old lead bend in the floor, you also are at risk of perforating it with a snake. Beware. CY: that's a thought. I don't know if there is a bend at the floor level.
Have you done the "bucket test" yet? Pour a whole bucket of water rapidly into the bowl. Will it overflow? CY: The water level comes up when you flush the toilet. And drains slowly.
You could try acid flush, but there are big risks in that too.
If you could snake down the stack vent, that may help. CY: I'm starting to wonder. Might be time to check the other drains in the house.
You probably have much better things to do... <g> CY: That's for sure. Unless someone wants to pay me large ammounts of money, this is getting a bit out of hand. Your last suggestion is the best I've yet heard.
Jim
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Gosh, I've cleared a few drains but i have never seen any crystals. Usually it is hair balls, baby wipes, food clogs, etc. do you have a clue what these crystals are, a guess even?? You might try calling the landlord but I know that doesn't always get results. At least try to get permission before fooling with his plumbing.
My 50' snake cane with a bent piece of tubing which allows me to get it through a toilet trap. It's a Milwukee and has pulled me out of a few jams. I don't use it a lot, thankfully.
Link: http://www.absolutehome.com/web/catalog/product_detail.aspx?pidh128&cm_ven=Froogle&cm_cat=Hardware&cm_pla=Milwaukee&cm_ite=Milwaukee-Tools-68128&cidsE0902EA38E3935A61519E07B814BAD
A longer snake almost always does the trick for me. The rentals are always crappy is how I ended up buying one. I've never had much luck with the drain cleaners but for sure are worth a try.
The next step after using a longer snake is to snake it from downstream. Since yours is on the second floor you might be able to ask the downstairs people if their plumbing is ok, after doing all you can upstairs. If it's not, they may not mind if you try snaking it from their place.
In one place I lived I pulled out seven or eight big clogs before I got it flowing. In another place I ended up snaking all the way out to the street before we called in a real plumber who had a little camera he used to actually look inside the sewer pipe. Turned out tree roots were blocking the pipe and the whole front yard had to be dug up. Good luck.
Lawrence
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Gosh, I've cleared a few drains but i have never seen any crystals. Usually it is hair balls, baby wipes, food clogs, etc. do you have a clue what these crystals are, a guess even?? CY: The tenant said "calcium" but tht's likely just a wild ass guess. He also said he thought the stack was ceramic, not metal. I've got to look in the cellar some time, and see what's the stack made from.
You might try calling the landlord but I know that doesn't always get results. At least try to get permission before fooling with his plumbing. CY: It's an odd deal, the tenant is responsible for all maint.
My 50' snake cane with a bent piece of tubing which allows me to get it through a toilet trap. It's a Milwukee and has pulled me out of a few jams. I don't use it a lot, thankfully.
Link: http://www.absolutehome.com/web/catalog/product_detail.aspx?pidh128&cm_ven=Froogle&cm_cat=Hardware&cm_pla=Milwaukee&cm_ite=Milwaukee-Tools-68128&cidsE0902EA38E3935A61519E07B814BAD CY: That's a good link. Came thorugh OK. So, you got the 50 footer? Seems that 35 should go across a couple floors, and into the cellar. Was it really worth $300? Musta been, since you bought one. I spent $25 on a closet auger, and have got my value out of it already.
A longer snake almost always does the trick for me. The rentals are always crappy is how I ended up buying one. I've never had much luck with the drain cleaners but for sure are worth a try. CY: My concern is that a drain cleaner will make the crystals fluff up, and clog the rest of the pipe. and then we can be down to zero water flow, and caling a plumber.
The next step after using a longer snake is to snake it from downstream. Since yours is on the second floor you might be able to ask the downstairs people if their plumbing is ok, after doing all you can upstairs. If it's not, they may not mind if you try snaking it from their place. CY: These folks have the entire house, so that's not an issue. I wonder if there is a clean out in the cellar. PRobably yes, and probably pointed in the down direction.
In one place I lived I pulled out seven or eight big clogs before I got it flowing. CY: They do have three teen girls, and a couple babysit kids, one is 3 and a half. I would imagine just about anythig that will fit through the toilet bowl has been flushed.
In another place I ended up snaking all the way out to the street before we called in a real plumber who had a little camera he used to actually look inside the sewer pipe. Turned out tree roots were blocking the pipe and the whole front yard had to be dug up. CY: I hadn't thought of that. Ought try a pail of water in the kitchen sink, and see if that flows. Might very well be a clog between the cellar and street. Thanks for a valuable idea.
Good luck.
Lawrence
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Well, I have had that tool for years. As I recall, it came with the 35foot snake. then when that got rusty, I replaced it with the 50 footer which is just a smaller diameter. You never want to use a rusty or damaged snake for danger of breaking it off inside the pipe. The thing to do is to clean the snake after each use and wipe it down with oil to prevent rust, a nasty but necessary job. That snake has save me a few times now but as to whether it was worth it? Just barely. It probably cost about as much as one or two visits from a plumber if you want to look at it that way.

Welcome.
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Well, I have had that tool for years. As I recall, it came with the 35foot snake. then when that got rusty, I replaced it with the 50 footer which is just a smaller diameter. CY: Got your use out of it, eh?
You never want to use a rusty or damaged snake for danger of breaking it off inside the pipe. CY: That would be totally impossible to do anythign about. Cept run another snake and hope to catch on the broken one.
The thing to do is to clean the snake after each use and wipe it down with oil to prevent rust, a nasty but necessary job. CY: I do that with the closet auger. Wonder if I could just spray a bunch of oil into the drum?
That snake has save me a few times now but as to whether it was worth it? Just barely. It probably cost about as much as one or two visits from a plumber if you want to look at it that way. CY: I like tht way to look at it.

Welcome. CY: Thanks, again.
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Call a "Drain Cleaner" from the yellow pages. 2 hours from now for about $80 you'll be done with it.
Stormin Mormon wrote:

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steel or cast iron pipe gets a crystal look when it rusts badly...
messing with landlords plumbing if theings go bad could be costly like a snake perforating a line...
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You've got the right idea. Not my house, not my problem. Not insured.
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Christopher A. Young
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