Non-flushing Loflo Toilet


My American Standard low-flow toilet is no longer emptying the bowl of waste. The basin empties, the swirl occurs but nothing drops through without multiple flushes.
I've already snaked it to make sure nothing is blocking the flap. I've used chemicals to clear the line. And these seemed to help for one or two flushes.
It's getting old using the plumber's helper after every use just to make sure the toilet does its job on the first try.
Any ideas on what's going on or how to fix it -- short of replacing the entire toilet.
The Ranger
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Might be the syphon is clogging, that happens to my mother's toilet often. You can use a specially bent coathanger to reach in, hard water tends to clog where it goes into the bowl.
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asked:

I'll be damned. Thanks!
I rammed my own specially-bent coathanger up through the hole and shanked it about for three minutes. At first nothing seemed to happen... But then a whole lot of calcium and "other" debris came shooting out. Pretty soon the lower bowl was littered with chunks. A quick flush and -- Voy-oh-lah -- it's working again on one tank's worth of water. The syphon was indeed reduced to a trickle. Is there a way of getting back into that area with some CLR without lifting the whole tank from the floor? If I was able to scrap so much calcium with the tip of a coathanger, I can just imagine how much must really be in the syphon preventing the toilet from discharging its duties.
The Ranger
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Use one of the submerse-in-tank bowl cleaners, check the instructions for descaling properties. A week or two should clear it as long as there's _some_ flow.
While using one of these all the time isn't necessarily a good idea, using one periodically might well help.
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I had a similar problem with my "whatever" toilet. I tried everything you did. It didn't help.
Finally, I took the toilet off the base. I found that "someone" had put the "spool" from the toilet paper holder down the toilet! It didn't quite block things entirely but it nicely locked itself in place out of sight from top and bottom. Its round shape diverted the "snakes."
I used a shop vac from the bottom of the toilet. I didn't have any idea there was something "up there" but I just wanted to be sure the path throught the toilet was clear. When the vac sucked in something that made a "clunk" I figured I had solved the problem and I had.
It goes without saying that I have kids.
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I'll echo John's suggestion. If the tank is filling normally, and seems to be emptying into the bowl normally, if the bowl is slow to drain, it's probably something in the bottom of the toilet or the drain.
What you're describing is a flow restriction out of the bottom of the bowl - the water doesn't get going fast enough to properly flush. Either something that the auger won't hook onto (experience with a toilet that had an air freshener mounting bracket down the trap), or, remotely, that the vent is clogged and providing back pressure.
To absolutely confirm it's the bowl or drain - try filling the bowl from a bucket. That's isolated from whatever the tank does/doesn't do.
Once you've isolated it to the bowl, you have two areas to check - you pick the one that's more confortable to test first (but Murphy's means you pick the wrong one to do first, so do the hard one first. No wait, it knows you know, so it'll be the easiest. No wait.... ;-)).
1) Pull the toilet off the flange, inspect and snake the trap in reverse, and also snake out the drain pipe near the flange.
2) Go on the roof and snake the vent.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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lies (I am _so_ lucky on this count) so they were cleared of any mischief quickly. It was a real stumper but clearing out the syphon seems to have worked.
Thanks for the suggestion, though. Using the shopvac is an excellent idea.
The Ranger
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On Wed, 4 Oct 2006 08:10:44 -0700, "The Ranger"

Err.... What flap? And what did you snake the thing with?

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wrote:

Apparently there isn't any which doesn't help me figure out why it's taking multiple attempts to empty the bowl...
The water swirls about, waste is removed (slowly), and the water level never drops until after it's plunged with the plumber's helper. Neither of the other toilets are performing this poorly (and they're both American Standard 1.6 two-piece toilets.)

My bad; I used an auger. Nothing was dislodged or returned back for me to view.
The Ranger
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