Toilet Flushing Mystery

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On 9/1/2010 4:22 PM, TN wrote:

toilets from American Standard. The 3rd one was bought off the floor at HD and stored in the garage for over a year ... probably 2 or 3 years. When I finally installed it, it didn't flush. It was like you describe. While none of these units were, what I would consider "good flushers", this one simply swirled and swirled, sometimes flushing paper, other times, not. I removed the toilet and supported it above the laundry tub in the basement. I then filled the tank and tried flushing. I also tried a bucket of water dumped directly into the bowl. The bowl experiment, with about 1 1/2 gallons of water in the bucket, worked. But there was still some question about how fast I was pouring the water. Anyway, after close examination I found a 2" piece of red air hose stuck in one of the main holes under the rim. After a air-hose-ectomy, it flushed good .... well, as good (or bad) as the other two. I don't know much about the best flushers, however, in my new house I have Kohler Cimerons. Don't stand too close, or they will pull you in. They have never required a 2nd flush in the year that I've been here.
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On 9/1/2010 4:22 PM, TN wrote:

Did you snake it for tampons?
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sediment in bowl rim can cause this, acid can fix it fast and cheap
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What happens when you empty a bucket of water in the bowl? Does it flush normally or do the same sort of thing? If it flushes normally, I suspect there's no obstruction, but instead that something's impeding the water flow. If the flushing water from the tank enters the bowl too slowly, it will not flush.
I use a 1 gallon milk jug that's had a big hole cut into the top as a tester. If you slowly add the water from the jug, the toilet will not flush. You have to add the water quickly to displace enough water in the bowl to start the siphon action going full force. I use the jug flush to empty the toilet bowl of water for easy cleaning but it's also a great test for drainage obstructions. It's also great for people who don't like "splash backs" on their butts. (-: There's nothing worse than getting a jet of dirty water shot straight up your output port. Well, I suppose there ARE worse things . . .
If your toilet passes the jug flush test, then I would suspect something is clogged and not allowing the tank water to enter the bowl fast enough to generate a solid flush.
-- Bobby G.
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I tried that and it flushes normally. I am not sure I understand, are you saying the incoming water to the bowl is too slow or there is a clog down the drain? The incoming water seems to be as fast as the other 2 toilets, but I could be wrong.
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On Thu, 02 Sep 2010 13:22:46 -0700, TN wrote:

So if you flush the toilet with a specific mount of water in a bucket it flushes ok? On the toilet that flushes ok here is what you do. Get a bucket and fill it with a little water. If it flushes, fill the bucket back up with less and less water until it doesn't flush. The aim is to see how much water is needed to flush no more no less. Now take that amount to the problem toilet and see if that amount will flush it. If it does flush with the minimum amount of water from the bucket it took to flus the good toilet that means the toilet is not supplying adequate water and you have no blockage in the soil pipe or siphon.
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<I tried that and it flushes normally. I am not sure I understand, are you saying the incoming water to the bowl is too slow or there is a clog down the drain? The incoming water seems to be as fast as the other 2 toilets, but I could be wrong.>
If it flushed OK with a bucket dump, then yes, I would first consider that the water flowing into the bowl is either not enough, volume-wise, or not flowing fast enough, or both. I would concentrate my efforts at finding out how much water is released from the tank and how fast when you flush. As you can see with the bucket test, you have to dump it in pretty quickly to initiate the vacuum that makes it flush. If you just slowly pour the water in, all it will do is swirl stuff around and stay at the level dictated by the toilet's design
Since I am a known freak about data collection, I would stick a ruler in each of the tanks (2 working and 1 bad) to see how fast the tank level drops during a typical flush. I am betting it's going to be markedly slower for the bad toilet. That means you need to trace all the paths the water takes to the bowl (rim jets, etc.) to determine what's keeping the water from flowing as fast as it can. I've found that the flapper valve can be the culprit. It should stay fully open after you hit the handle, but some flappers drop back down to a partially open state and impede the water flow rate to the bowl. That's something you can determine by simple inspection. Does the flapper stand nearly vertically, or does it drop back down over the opening during a flush?
If you had an obstruction, the bucket test would produce results similar to the bad flushing you're seeing now. Since it flushes freely, it's not a bowl drainage problem, IMHO, but a problem in water speed or volume reaching the bowl. I'd follow the suggestions posted by others about cleaning the rim openings and other flow ports. I'd also do the ruler test to determine how fast the working units flush compared to the bum unit.
With all that said, I recall having a hell of an intermittent with a kitchen faucet once. When I took apart the aerator, there was a frikkin' ACORN stuck in the faucet. Depending on how it was oriented, it could block the flow to almost a trickle and yet sometimes seem unnoticeable. I would see if anything's stuck in the area right under the flapper. Anything lodged in there could block enough water to keep it from flushing. You might even be able to fit a rubber plunger over the opening and give it a few good pumps.
-- Bobby G.
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On Thu, 2 Sep 2010 19:33:41 -0400, "Robert Green"

Get out! Did it have a tap root started?
The strangest item I found was in a "bowl rim" -- a syringe hidden by a drug addict the had gotten past the tank flapper and into the rim.
Only way I found was that when I had to tank off, to fix the tank bolts I poured some muriactic into the bowl. Up the thing floated.
Nosed pliers and into the history books.
Acorns?
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Oren wrote:

how about the guy who had a pea plant growing in his lung that they had in the paper a couple of weeks ago?
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wrote:

That's like the little girl here in the DC area that had constant breathing problems - until the found one of those little blue stickers stuck on Chiquita bananas stuck deep in her lung! I've got to say, I was pretty stunned when I screwed off the aerator and out pops an acorn.
-- Bobby G.
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Although this is an interesting anecdote...the rim (in my experience) only rinses the bowl and has little or nothing to do with the force of the flush.
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On Fri, 03 Sep 2010 08:27:54 -0700, Bob Villa wrote:

Click on 3.1 Siphon toilet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_flushing
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On Fri, 3 Sep 2010 08:27:54 -0700 (PDT), Bob Villa

I believe the rim jets have plenty to do with the flush. It the jets get clogged / partially blocked by mineral deposit or nasty silt, the toilet will not flush as strong. (tape one side of the rim, cover the jets with duct tape -- that restriction changes the flush)
My toilets have tear-drop shaped jets under the rim. When flushed the water cleans to bowl rim, but also starts a vortex whirl of water - aiding the flush.
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On Fri, 03 Sep 2010 12:27:50 -0700, Oren wrote:

There is usually a water outlet out of sight that initiates the siphon on a siphon toilet. It raises the water level in the siphon to above the top of the S.
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wrote:

True. That outlet also needs to be checked for an obstruction and cleared. ( mineral deposits, fishing corks, etc. )
Unless I'm wrong, that water comes from the tank, via the rim, and into that lower outlet. The rim jets start the swirl of water as the bowl water rises.
It's a Harry Houdini.
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My first try for a cure would be to shut off the water at the valve and flush the toilet. That would drain the water from the tank. The next step would be to remove or prop up the Korky so it's out of the way and fully exposes the large flushing/syphon pipe at the bottom of the tank.
Using a transmission funnel to guide the liquid, I'd pour around 1/2 gallon of HCL- Muriatic pool Acid- into the flushing/syphon pipe, making sure it also dribbles out of the rim holes as well. Merely pouring it into the tank would lead to the chrome plating of the tank hold down screws corroding, along with any other metal parts. I'd also pour another quart or two into the toilet bowl. Every 15 minutes or so, I'd add enough acid into the flushing/syphon pipe to let a little trickle out the rim holes.
The repeated addition of acid over a day will insure that most metallic things that might have become lodged in the toilet's system would be dissolved. Probing the rim holes with a chopstick, bamboo skewer or other suitable thing would also be wise.
Finally, open the valve to let water rinse into the tank and bowl, then replace the flapper valve (Korky) and see if it flushes better.
If this doesn't work, then remove the toilet from the flange and check to see if flange gasket wax has partially blocked the connection. This is a bit unusual but certainly not unheard of. While the toilet is on its back, it's also a great time to probe the opening from below to see if you can locate any obstruction. I've found that an electrician's fish tape, with a 1/2" long hook bent tightly in the end, works great.
While you're enjoying life, also use the probe or snake to do your best number on the drain and trap. Go onto the roof and also use the fish tape or snake to go down the vent pipe as far as possible to check for an obstruction that might be above or below the toilet's attachment to the stack.
If all that fails, I'd suspect a casting flaw in the toilet and would simply bite the bullet and buy a replacement toilet.
Micajah
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If the toilet flushes solids fine using a bucket of water ALL the drain part is fine!
This narrows the problem to clogged passages or no water going down the dip tube.....
muriatic acid will fix that just fine and cheap too.........
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On Sat, 4 Sep 2010 04:47:00 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Add the addendum: If a septic system, neutralize the acid in the bowl and then flush.
OP went missing.
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On Fri, 03 Sep 2010 15:25:56 -0700, Oren wrote:

It's just making sure everything is in one solid column so the siphon action can pull it down. Forcing the waste down from the top is not enough in a siphoning toilet unless you want to fill the bowl.
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I have a Mansfield toilet and besides the siphon jet there is another jet under the rim (front, right side only) that contributes nearly as much as the rim jets to the total volume delivered to the bowl. This jet also is likely to get clogged with sediment.
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