Flushes evry other time ??

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by nards01, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. nards01

    nards01 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Washington County, PA
    I have a toilet that flushes "about" every other time. The next time the water swirls and rises and then returns to a normal level. A minute later it flushes. What would cause this phenomenon?? If it was clogged it would never flush correct??
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Did you recently change the flapper and put a 1.6 gallon per flush flapper on a 3.5 gallon per flush toilet?
  3. worsnup

    worsnup plumbing contractor

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    phoenix az
    the refill tube? the refill tube refills the bowl to a proper level after each flush. if it is not working--- you flush the toilet and it flushes but leaves bowl level is low-- so when you flush again, half your water is used to fill the bowl
    resulting in a miss fire... flush once more and it flushes fine.... back and forth back and forth------- refill tube
  4. nards01

    nards01 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Washington County, PA
    The refill tube on this toilet (it's about 45 yrs. old) is molded into the ceramic tank. There's nothing wrong with it. I flushed it numerous times today after putting the little black hose directly into the refill tube thus eliminating that clip which is a nuisance. It flushed fine 5 or 6 times and then "bingo" it swirled up and didn't flush.
  5. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Could be a partial blockage in the sewer main, maybe roots. Is the toilet on the lowest part of the house?
  6. nards01

    nards01 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Washington County, PA
    No, it's on the second floor!!
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,319
    Location:
    New England
    Two things, put the clip back on the hose! If it is pushed down the overflow tube, you can end up siphoning the tank dry. Second, it sounds like you DO have a partial blockage. It just took those 5-6 flushes to fill up the drain line from where it is clogged.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  8. nards01

    nards01 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Washington County, PA
    I think you're right about a blockage. I have a snake that runs off an electric drill. Can I put that right into toilet and run it thru or do I have to take the toilet off its base??
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Try using a bucket to rapidly pour water into the toilet and see if it flushes.

    I would not put your drill snake trough a toilet unless you want the bowl to become horribly scratched.
  10. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    That snake is a joke! Totally too small to clear a clog. You need a professional plumber with professional equipment to auger the drain clear to the sewer mainline. Don't try chemical cleaners either, the do not work and they will create a potential hazard for the plumber you will eventually have to call. And no, a professional sized snake that you might rent is a dangerous weapon in the hands of a novice. This is not a DIY job.
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    [​IMG]
    We use a closet auger with the large 1-3/8" end on it.
    Smaller cables can go right by the obstruction and not move it.

    [​IMG]
  12. nards01

    nards01 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Washington County, PA
    Terry,

    Can I use this closet auger directly thru the toilet??
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Yes, you will notice on the bend it's covered in a protective covering. That prevents the bowl from scratching.
    The large end helps push things out, if the end is too small, it's kind of useless.
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The closet auger is designed specifically for unclogging a toilet.

    However, you haven't even figured out if the toilet is clogged or, just not working right...

    What does it do when you try the bucket flush test?
  15. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You say it takes 2 flushes of a 45 year old toilet. This is probably 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush which indicates to me the clog is beyond the toilet and what the auger can reach. Certainly try the bucket flush test, and you could even do the toilet auger, but my money is still on a clog in the line.
  16. nards01

    nards01 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Washington County, PA
    Redwood,

    I'm going down to the house tomorrow to try the bucket test. If I dump a bucket of water in and it flushes, I assume that mean's its not a blockage. But, rather something else??
  17. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    If the water is not leaving the bowl then there is a blockage at some point. If it took 5-6 flushes before it backed up then doing the bucket test is not going to prove anything, unless you flush it until it backs up then do the bucket test.

    Get a plumber with a camera out to inspect the drain and auger if necessary
  18. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The bucket test basically tests the flushing by taking the tank to the bowl run out of the equation.
    Yes it does need to be combined with a line test as Jerome stated above.

    If it flushes good with the bucket you then look for either not enough water going to the bowl or it going to the bowl to slowly.

    As it stands you can have a:
    • A toilet flushing poorly because of a tank to bowl delivery problem
    • A clogged toilet
    • A clogged line from the toilet

    All have different cures and if the wrong cure is used nothing changes.
  19. nards01

    nards01 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Washington County, PA
    OK I did the bucket test. It flushed the first and second time but the third bucket wouldn't do it. I'm sure it's a clog but it must not be very far down the line. That auger that Terry recommended may do the trick. I'll let ya know.
  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,319
    Location:
    New England
    One foot of 3" pipe can hold about 0.37g, or about one gallon per yard. Flushing 3x, means it is likely about 12-13' away or more, since it isn't a complete block, some water is passing by it is more than that. A toilet auger is too short...you may need a pro in to clean things out.
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