Muriatic Acid? Snake?

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Hi! All of a sudden I'm having problems with my toilet. It flushes but the bowl doesn't empty all the way and I have to use a plunger to get the water level down to where it was when I first moved in two weeks ago. Everything was fine until Sunday evening.
If I'm CERTAIN that nothing was flushed down there that isn't supposed to be flushed down the toilet, why would all of a sudden it start to act that way? Without getting too graphic, let's just say I had some guests over that evening and I think one of them had an acute gastro-enterological reaction to the pizza we ordered (it seemed to be seasoned strangely, like tacos, so I'm not surprised).
A friend of mine told me to use muriatic acid. To empty the toilet, dry it out and then let the acid sit in the bowl for about an hour before flushing it down with a bucket of water. On the other hand, my sister said I should get a snake. She said there could be roots blocking a drain pipe, but if that's the case, why ALL OF A SUDDEN are these roots a problem? Everything was fine until someone flushed the toilet Sunday evening, and it hasn't emptied right since then. Any ideas?
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Do not use muratic acid in the toilet. The acid will etch the bowl.... at least that's what i've been told.
--
be safe.
flip
Ich habe keine Ahnung was das bedeutet, oder vielleicht doch?
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1) If the problem began with a guest, why are you certain nothing unfortunate was flushed?
2) I don't enjoy cleaning plungers, so I always try a few buckets of hot water first, and it works 9 out of 10 times. VERY hot - as hot as you can get from the tap. Worked fine in my first house. In my current house, it causes a slight bit of leakage from the pipes in the basement because they're apparently not sealed correctly. Investigate your specific situation and see if the method feels right.
3) In my previous home, the toilet's innards were an amalgamation of parts from different owners, including me. The toilet was never quite right. My son just reported to me that my ex-wife finally got tired of it and called a plumber. He tweaked the position of a small tube that shoots water DURING the flush process. It took him 3 minutes, and the toilet works like a champ now. I can't guide you any further, but it could be as simple as that.
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1) Because he told me when he came back downstairs (after being up there awhile) that something in the pizza didn't want to stay in his body and that's why he was up there for so long, and he told me what happened when he flushed the toilet.
2) I hate plungers too. I never heard of the hot water method--I'll try that!
3) I'll call a plumber as a last resort. After all, whatever is wrong will probably be covered under my home warranty. Thanks for the advice!
Lesley
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If it's one of those water saver toilets, you might want to hit the library and find the latest consumer reports tests of toilets. You might find that what you have is one of the lousier ones.
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Wait a few days, probably to much TP in the pipe. It should disentigrate. I have that happen once in a while.
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Now *that* makes sense. But I'm too impatient, so I'm going to try the hot water. If it is too much TP, then the hot water should take care of that.
I guess I should also have mentioned that there is a kind of dull and distant-sounding "thud" that I hear whenever I flush the toilet. Sounds like it's coming from somewhere down the pipeline. I don't know if that is significant, but I never heard it until this happened. . . Lesley
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| Now *that* makes sense. But I'm too impatient, so I'm going to try the | hot water. If it is too much TP, then the hot water should take care | of that. | | I guess I should also have mentioned that there is a kind of dull and | distant-sounding "thud" that I hear whenever I flush the toilet. | Sounds like it's coming from somewhere down the pipeline. I don't know | if that is significant, but I never heard it until this happened. . . | Lesley |
That's significant; something's in the pipe. If this is a new house, it could be anything from a contractor's tool to a piece of wood jammed in an elbow/joint/etc.
Can you find it by listening along the pipes as someone flushes it for you?
Got a cleanout trap you can check?
Pop
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Add dishwashing or other soap. It is slippery.
Remember, the trick to a plunger is trying to pull the plug back up, not pushing it down harder on what ever it is hung up on.
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You lucky guy! Me too. Very similar. Some important differences. . .
Last May or so, we had a similar situation in our hall ("guest") bathroom - all of a sudden no flush, 50 plunges with plunger and it would finally go glug glug and clear.
I tried the hot water trick. Wife and I are sure that made it noticeably worse. On the order of three times as much work to get it to clear.
I have contemplated a strong acid. Searched web and found no reference to such. Reasoned that until I checked out reaction of toilet bowl to hours or days of a strong acid bath I would put that on hold. Now if some readers who have just removed or are about to remove a toilet would experiment and then report the results here that would be progress. The problem is how to do that safely. Perhaps taking the lid from the tank into a part of the yard where no kids or animals would stray, then pour a few milliter of acid (20 drops?) into a tablespoon of water or so and pour that into the lid and let it sit all day would give you an indication. If no damage (etching) then double the concentration and try again. Consider pouring the left over acid in a hole in the ground - not down a sink. I had a handy gopher hole! Muriatic acid may make chlorine gas which will kill any plants/critters that it touches (you too if you breath it!) but the soil will neutralize it fast. So, if anyone trys this, you do need to be very careful.
This summer we visited other people until Labor Day when we discovered no flush of any sort, just a slow drain - a flush of clean water would take about an hour to drain. Just this last week I decided to replace it and see what I could see - toilet problem or plugged line.
In short it was roots, a Fig tree about 30 feet away had got a root across the yard, under the house about 5 feet, up between the concrete floor and the flange - the diameter of a hens leg at the flange. It grew more or less thru the notch for one of the T-bolts then down into the sewage line. That part of the root had exploded into root hairs that made a dense, thick filter going down the line about 2 feet. I used a router bit and a pair of pliers (and rubber gloves) to start ripping into it. Funny thing, there was no stench and when first uncovered, it appeared there was a layer of wax at the top. 40 to 50 % of the wax seal had melted away. Turned out the coating was not wax at all, it was t.p.. After ripping out the upper 6 inches or so of these roots, I managed to get a better-than-average-grip on the remainder, and several tugs later, all the rest came in one piece. And still no stench whatsover.
I'm in the process of installing the replacement (could have kept the old one but it was an old, larger tank water waster so I'm installing a new Kohler). I will post my questions in another thread.
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wrote:
<snip>

Don't! You can easily crack a toilet with hot water. A good plunger is the way to go.
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situation
One problem with hot water is that it may soften the wax seal that joins the bottom of the toilet to the floor flange of the toilet drain and might then leak? I suspect there may be feminine tampon/saniatary pad, a hairpin or a chicken bone or something in the bend of the toilet? Then toilet paper and other 'material' get hung up on the obstruction! If you do use a snake be careful it may or may not go around the bend and don't break anything in there reaming too hard!
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What do you mean about just moving in two weeks ago? Is this a septic system, or a city sewer? Does the problem get worse if you flush frequently?
One possibility is that you've got a plugged or collapsed main drain that can absorb/pass water if you limit yourself to one flush or so per day, but that your little party filled the drain-pipe, and backed up until the toilet won't flush properly. Other possibilities are accumulating crud in the water-jets, (do you have anything but water in the tank?) or that the load that was co-incident with the appearance of the problem was large enough to hang up on something.
In any case, I'd stay away from chemicals, which probably won't help and may damage things, and hot water, which may melt the wax-seal, and stick to mechanical clearing methods (snakes)
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A plumber helper does wonders. Get the kind made with a large rubber black bulb on the end. A metal snake could scratch the porcelain, but might be fine if the toilet was removed temporarily. Not a good idea to use muriatic acid on any plumbing, toilet, drain, tub nor sink.
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I'm surprised that no one has suggested a toilet auger yet. It's a snake that goes through about 4 feet of what looks like electrical conduit with a bend on the end that is covered in rubber. That bend allows you to get the snake into the toilet in the proper position and the rubber protects the bowl from getting sctratched. There's a crank on the other end that you use to turn it as you feed the snake in. You may have a problem further down the line, but you really should try the auger (they're cheap) before you do anything more drastic.
I'm told that you should NOT try using a regular plumbing snake in a toilet.
Greg Guarino
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Use a coat hanger to clean out the water jets under the rim of the bowl.
Tom

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Wow. Went home last night and flushed the toilet and it worked perfectly, without my doing anything! But then later on in the evening it was back to doing the same thing, and since I was the only one home, I know that nothing strange went down there between the time the toilet flushed perfectly and the next flush about an hour later when it was back to being slow again and needing the plunger. Just normal use.
Lots of things to consider but I guess no acid and no hot water. I'm going to try the auger thing, because it sounds safe and it's exactly what my sister told me to try. She called it a snake, but the OP described it exactly the way my sister did, so she must be talking about an auger.
BTW, the sound I was talking about is more of a low-frequency hum coupled with the sound of a vibration--all told it lasts about 1 to 1.5 seconds--I heard it again this morning. It only happens when the toilet is not emptying correctly.
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It might be something fell down the vent on the roof. Or it honestly may clear soon, mine always do. Paper could be holding somewhere, flush repeatedly and new paper is backing it up
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If its a normal feces plug, then a two or three gallon of warm/hot water poured from about three feet into the hole usually clears it for me. And this does not significantly raise the temperature of the toilet or seal. I have done this for years and not had problems of any kind. Of course a plunger is nearby, too. From what you descibe, there is probably something else wrong. --Phil
Lesley See wrote:

--
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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Many years ago, I worked in a warehouse unit. There were only about 10 employees in total, and we were all reasonably bright people who didn't put dumb things down toilets.
One day we had symptoms like yours. Intermittent. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Drove us crazy. Drove the plumber crazy because he couldn't detect any blockage. And none of us would have put anything stupid down the toilet.
Eventually he had to pull the toilet off the flange. Turned out there was a chunk of plastic from a deoderizer insert that reseated itself in a different way each time it was flushed, captured inside the bottom of the unit. Not quite small enough to flush thru, but not quite big enough to consistently block it. And since it was small and light, a snake would push it aside without the plumber "feeling it".
The plastic bit was something that sat inside the deoderizer unit that you don't normally even know existed, until it fell out without anyone noticing.
The point of my story is not to suggest that this is your problem.
Rather, sometimes things fall in without anyone noticing.
Or, maybe a birds nest fell down the vent stack.
Or...
Picking a mechanical method (like a snake) is probably the best thing to try first, but, if that doesn't work out, rather than fooling around with other things like hot water or muriatic acid (if the snake didn't solve it, _these_ won't!), it's time to get serious. Pull the toilet. Snake the vent stack. Etc.

If I had to guess, I'd think loose object in vent (imperfectly seals, the noise you hear is the thing passing air through a gap that varies each time you flush). But that's probably plumber time for you. As is pulling the toilet.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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