?How to Eliminate toilet paper jams?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by larrymcg, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I have an American Standard toilet (new in 1993) that, for several years, has a hard time flushing even moderate amounts of toilet paper. It seemed good when first new but after a couple years started showing issues. Over the last year it has gotten very touchy. What happens is that the flush starts and as soon as the toilet paper has started down the toilet it will abruptly stop. If I wait an hour or so (sometimes longer) the water will slowly lower and another flush will put a lot of water in the bowl and then it will break lose. Otherwise I will have to use a plunger.

    A month ago we had serious work done on our sewer line - it is really clean now but the toilet is just as touchy as ever. We also checked that the vent is clear. The toilet is right over the home sewer line.

    To me it acts as if there is something in the toilet itself, or in the pipe below the toilet, that causes the toilet paper to catch and stop the flow of water.

    I'm wondering if there is a way to make sure the path from the toilet bowl to the home sewer line is clear? Is there some kind of strong but flexible brush that can be pushed down there and pulled back? Chemical or bio-cleaners?

    Thanks,
    Larry

    edit: PS - I'm in the habit of holding the flush lever down so that maximum water enters the bowl. Does not help.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    They sell a device called a toilet auger designed to help clear the trapway of a toilet. If there's something caught in there, it sometimes will catch it, but if it can't get through at all, you would be certain there's an obstruction. A comb, pencil, pen, toy, etc. can easily cause the issue you are seeing. Sometimes, you have to pull the toilet if the auger isn't successful, and go at it from below.

    In the meantime, make sure the siphon jet is clear. Some of the older toilets used a float on the flapper valve, and those can be small enough to get sucked into the innards of the toilet and mess things up if they ever get detached. That would likely be hard to remove, if possible.
  3. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,830
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Don't use the chemicals.

    One possibility is that there is something hard stuck either by the trapway or by the outlet into the closet flange. Eyebrow pencil, GI Joe, tampon container, etc.

    I would read the following thread and look at some of the photos. http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?18133-How-to-use-a-closet-auger-on-a-plugged-toilet

    I would start by using a hand-crank closet auger. If that doesn't fix it, if it's within your skill set, I would pull the toilet and check whether something is stuck right at the outlet. That will also give you a chance to see if there's an accumulation of anything that would be making the toilet have challenges.

    If you want a great-flushing, quiet, reliable, high-quality efficient toilet that won't break the bank, I would look at a Toto Drake CST744E or CST744S (1.28 gallons per flush for the E and 1.6 gallons per flush for the S).
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,341
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Your problem stems for the fact that you have a first generation low flow toilet. AS and many other manufacturers tried to use their old toilet designs with less water. Guess what. It didn't work. Low flow toilets have been fighting this stigma ever since. Unfortunately, some companies are still trying gimmicks with there old designs with less that good results. There are a couple of things you might try that may help. First, if you are using Charmin TP or any other brand that has a high rag content, switch to a lighter weight paper. I find that the house brand paper in super markets works well. Second, cut down on the paper load. It is also possible that there is something caught in the toilet trap way that is catching paper and partly clogging the toilet. Children's toys, toothbrushes, and other items not intended for flushing are often found. Sometime you can snag these things with a closet auger, other times you have to pull the toilet and go from the bottom up. One thing is for sure. DO NOT pour chemical drain cleaner into the toilet. These don't work in the first place, and they also create hazard for a plumber. If it was my toilet, I pull it out and install a Toto, but I realize it is difficult to go out and spend several hundred dollars even if the toilet is far better than what you have. BTW, a decent low flow toilet does not require holding the handle down so the tank will empty. You are actually defeating the low flow concept when you do that.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Have we really been doing the low flow toilet for 20 years? Wow.

    I have seen a number of toilets with internal buildup/restriction from people using the the white or blue "hockey puck" style toilet cleaning products.
  6. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I mis-typed the year. It's a 2003 model, not 1993. Costco TP - much lighter than other brands I've Used. I've been using the "flush as you go" plan for years with this toilet which means I actually flush 2 or 3 times. So I'm REALLY defeating the low flow concept!
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    1,830
    Location:
    New York, NY
    The Costco stuff is good quality but also dissolves pretty well. It's sounding more like an obstruction...
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,341
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I say again it's likely an obstruction, but I must add that Costco toilets do not enjoy the best reviews. There are some who are very happy with them, but not everyone. I have 2 Toto toilets and NEVER have to flush more than once. There are 1.6 gpf models, not the newer 1.28 gpg, but there seem to be no problems from them reported.
  9. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Actually, we were referring to Costco toilet paper.
  10. benlinus

    benlinus New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    People find the idea of going without toilet paper a bit shocking, but lots of people around the world do it, and there are good technologies available now to replace your toilet or add on to it. It is cleaner and healthier, and counterintuitively, saves a lot of water. Blue Bidet is such an good example
  11. larrymcg

    larrymcg New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Clogging Problem Solved!

    I solved my clogging issue by installing a new TOTO Drake 1.6gpf toilet. That thing really flushes!

    --Larry
  12. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,830
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Congratulations, Larry! That is certainly one very effective way to do it! Enjoy it and come back here if you ever have an issue.
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