Best toilet for unvented install?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Dsalch, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Dsalch

    Dsalch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Medford, or
    The title was supposed to say UNVENTED install...

    Hi... Looking for some advice. I just discovered while replacing a toilet in our home that there is no vent at all on this line. Concrete slab, 3 inch line goes straight down from toilet, water sits about a foot below the floor. The entire pipe is full of water to the septic tank. I assume thus if because it is a home built job in the country. Either way it is my problem now!

    installed new kohler toilet. It drains very slow and really only drains if you hold the handle to let all the water out of the tank. Trust me when I s ay there is no clog...the problem is apparently the complete lack of any vent.

    Instead of tearing the bathroom out to install a vent... is there an alternative? the existing toile almost works...so would a better one push it over the edge to be acceptable?

    I am considering either trying the popular toto toilet or going with a pressure assist model. I keep thinking that it just needs a little more strength to flush well enough.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,120
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If there is standing water in the line, then it's going to affect any bowl that you install.

    Your only option may be to hold the handle down and force it down the line.
    However, I would consider at least thinking of a possible plug down the line. Plumbing is installed with grade, and should drain by gravity on it's own. Any plumber would have checked for this at the time of install, and if it was inspected, it would have been checked twice.
    More then likely, you have a blockage downstream of the bowl. I would look into that, keep the new toilet.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,053
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If the pipe is properly pitched and full right up to the tank, then the tank must be overfull and the root of your problem.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,133
    Location:
    New England
    While a septic tank normally is full to the baffles, if it gets overfilled so that it backs up the line, you have a major problem with the leach field. Or, through settling, the line is no longer pitched properly (if it ever was).
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,358
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    While a Kohler toilet is far from my choice of toilets, the problem you have is not the toilet. A pressure assist is a gimmick to make a poorly designed toilet flush the bowl better not to make the drain line work better. The Toto is a superior toilet, but it would not lessen a drain problem. I concur with the advise from both Terry and Jadnashua's. The only time a drain should have water in it is when it is actually draining. There should never be standing water in a drain. (except in a P trap of course)
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,815
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    NO TOILET will flush into a sewer line full of water, regardless of whether it has a vent or not.
  7. Dsalch

    Dsalch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Medford, or
    Thanks for the advice.

    Unfortunately the system read never inspected, and installed by a previous homeowner. There is standing water in the pipe, for about 40 feet, but not a full pipe most of the time. There is virtually no slope to the tank. The tank is not overd full and all other fixtures work fine. This bathroom is in an add on section and barely above the level of the tank.

    My theory is that the old toilet actually had a broken flange and faulty wax ring. This allowed air to vent under the old toilet and it worked fairly well (except for rocking). When I replaced it all and made it water right, it became very hard to flush. the new one does flush if you hold the handle to invest the water flow. Flushes slow and gurgles at the end as expected.

    Short of busting the concrete to install a vent, here are a few thoughts:


    Put an air bleed in the wax ring, this would make it as good as before. Small perhaps small pipe pushed through the wax above the flange. Shouldn't leak (never did with an almost gone ring) and shouldn't smell because of the standing water below.

    Change the float system to make more water per handle flush push. Looking at the system in the tank I think this would be easy to do.

    Build a raised floor under the toile t and add a vent pipe up the wall.
  8. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I guess we should have asked if you wanted to fix it RIGHT or not.

    A toilet does NOT need a vent to flush properly. It does need a clear line to flush into.
  9. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    Why do you keep talking about a vent when your pipe doesn't even have a proper pitch to it?
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,133
    Location:
    New England
    As stated, a toilet will flush without a vent. That flushing action may suck other traps on the line dry, but it won't affect the performance of the toilet at all. It will NOT flush if there's standing water in the drain line or there's not enough pitch to it.
  11. Dsalch

    Dsalch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Medford, or
    Let me say.. if there is a way to fix this RIGHT for a reasonable price I am all ears. It doesnt seem possible though. There is a cement slab, the drain from the toilet goes directly from under the toilet to the septic. There is nothing but a cleanout a the edge of hte house. No other pipes drain into it, no venting, nothing. There would seem to be no way to increase the pitch unless I am missing something ? That would require raising hte floor substantially ot lowering the septic tank. Neither seem practical. So unless I am missing something ... this is a situation we have to live with, which is why I am asking for any workarounds.

    It was never a problem until I replaced the toilet and installed a new wax ring. The old toilet flushed fine for over 3 years, never a clog. The reason this all became an issue is that a fork got flushed down the toilet and stuck in the trap. We couldnt get it out so I replaced the toilet. Thats when I realized there was a more serious problem. The new toilets use a lot less water, so they dont work nearly as well as the old one. If I hold handle down until the tank is empty, it flushes slow but fine. If you just push the handle, maybe 1/4 of the tank is emptied. That just isnt enough water to flush this setup.

    It seems that, if i could find an old style non water saving toilet, and put in a very leaky (air) wax ring... it would work as well as it ever did, which was perfectly fine. That is why I am asking questions... in a situation where you CANT fix it right short of a major rebuild... any ideas on how to make it as good as possible?
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,133
    Location:
    New England
    It might be worth having a plumber come and run a camera down the line. The better ones can detect the slope and if there is a dip (often called a belly) in the line. At least then you'd know if there's a partial clog, poor slope, or something else preventing the line from emptying. If you're lucky, you might find there's an issue that's outside of the slab that could be fixed.
  13. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    Why did you come here if you don't plan to fix this properly?

    It isn't an old plumber trick to install a leaky wax ring to create some sort of vent that will magically fix your improperly sloped drains...
  14. Dsalch

    Dsalch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Medford, or
    That seems an odd question. If I only wanted to fix this"properly" I wouldn't come here at all...I would simply call a plumber and pay him lots if cash to rebuild it all from scratch. Coming here I hoped that in the vast combined experience there would be a more reasonable alternative. If a bad install had not caused a problem for over 3 years...and only does more because the toilet I bought worked different from the old one...I an looking for ideas. For ideas... Ask people that have been going this for a long time if there if anything I missed.its there a brand that makes a toilet that works better in this diffusion, as the old one did.

    If all I wanted was to rebuild it from scratch...there would be no point in asking the question.forums like this are best for exploring ideas that may not be obvious.

    my apologies if this is an improper use of this forum.
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,053
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Check CraigsList, FreeCycle, or one of those places for a used toilet. Playing toilet roulette may be a crap shoot but you could get lucky. Forget about your hair-brained "very leaky (air) wax ring" idea of letting sewer gasses deliberately leak into the home.
  16. Dsalch

    Dsalch New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Medford, or
    Great idea about craigslist! Thanks

    The sewer gasseshave never leaked into the house, I suspect because the pipe being filed with standing water and no other drains on that line produce what is essentially a very long trap. Odd.. But it worked for over 3 years.
  17. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,120
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You don't have to "rebuild" a toilet to use more water, just hold the handle down longer.

    This advice was given at the beginning of the discussion.

    A new bowl with the handle held down will outperform the old bowls hands down.

    I still wouldn't give up on checking the line though. Has anyone really looked at the line?
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