Let it mellow

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Terry, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Let it mellow

    Here is what happens when a toilet is not flushed. The toilet was thrown away; the trapway had filled with salt deposits from the urine and had quit working well. Below the bowl, the drain was also filling with salt deposits.

    [​IMG]

    Salt caking around the drain, all because the bowl wasn't being flushed often enough.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Might be a good thread to reshow the picture of the bottom of the drain pipe eaten away by uric acid...toilets are designed to be flushed after use...trying to save some water can be problematic - I'm sure the plumber to resolve this was MUCH more costly than a little bit of extra water (and maybe sewer costs) over the years.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    I don't know how they can stand the stench of an unflushed toilet or urinal. It is disgusting. At work we have to keep putting up signs reminding people to flush. Some tree hugger that wants to save water and electricity keeps taking down the signs and turning off the exhaust fan and light.
  4. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    Over what period of time did that take place? I thought in areas where has been a water shortage, the motto was "Mellow yellow, brown, flush it down".
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    We had installed a new toilet that a few years ago. Rather then bother cleaning it all out, they replaced it.
    And Jim, I should add the picture of the pipe I replaced that had been eaten through too.

    [​IMG]
    A copper toilet drain pipe.
    What happens when you pee in your toilet at night, and you don't flush.
    This copper pipe was from a six gallon toilet. When you don't flush, it doesn't matter how many gallons the tank is.

    Copper can desolve over time.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  6. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    This might be a situation caused by the 1.28/1.6gpf toilets. I don't flush every time all day and night for the past eight years but that was with a 56 year old toilet. I just replaced it and it was spotless at the flange. I may have to rethink about doing the same with this 1.6gpf.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    The copper pipe was from a 1960's toilet, about six gallons.
    If you had a 1.28, why wouldn't you flush?
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Because of specific densities, some of the concentrated uric acid goes over the weir and down the drain nearly undiluted. Doesn't matter the volume in the bowl or the tank. Only when you flush or it sits for awhile does it become more homogenous, and then when you flush it, it truly gets diluted and washed away.
  9. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    Well, I could say, why would you? Some don't flush at night because of the noise. So, why didn't I see any build up after eight years?
  10. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    I ask you the same question, why I had no build up after eight years?

    The issue I had with my old toilet was a fill valve leak which caused water into the overflow pipe and I could see the bowl water get diluted. This new AS Cadet 3, repeated urninating raises the bowl's water level and doesn't get high enough to push it over into the drain.
  11. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    I don't know the answer to your first question; maybe urine content varies from person to person depending on such things as diet? Or maybe the accumulation is further down the tube on yours?

    On the statement above, I don't see how that is possible. The weir is the weir, and if the bowl is refilling to the right spot after a flush, then it's filling to the tip of the weir, and, frankly, usually a little over, meaning that within a minute or so the surface will constitute a plane level with the weir. If you "raise the water (or, more precisely here, the "fluid" level) in the bowl, water/urine mixture is going to trickle over the top of the weir until the bowl level settles back to the plane level with the weir, and that trickle is going to dry until there is a flush, leaving mineral deposits. Kinda like those old Cascade commercials regarding "drops that spot". Accumulate enough drops coating the interior of the porcelain and collecting around the closet bend, and...eeeeeew.
  12. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    The same thing happens with waterless urinals. They are a plumbers nightmare. The pipes in the wall cake over with salt.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    quote; What happens when you pee in your toilet at night, and you don't flush

    Unless you discharge a large volume, the heavier urine displaces water and stays in the bowl.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    There are many toilets that don't refill completely. My AS comes up one cup short.
  15. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    Due to a tank leak, I'm on my second tank. Funny, I didn't notice that the first one was stamped as a 1.28gpf(supposed to be a 1.6gpf) but written in as a 1.6gpf. The WL stamp was hard to read but looked like 1/4" below overflow. Unsure about the first digit but sure about the second. Second tank stamped a 1.6gpf, WL clearly shows 5/8" below overflow. Bowl WL on second tank is clearly lower than the first one. I was curious so last night, I turned the water off, flushed it and added measure water to the 5/8" level. It was dead on for 1.6gpf. Of course, no idea about the first tank but the dimensions of the tank vary a bit.

    I guess one way to test this is to add water slowly to the bowl and notice at what point the water stops to rise. I know on mine, it'll go a good 1/2" up the sides. I might try that later on today.

    The toilet is white but the old was was Tan, Bone or whatever and I do notice that the urine color settles to the bottom of the bowl. I would guess that urine varies by person too. I do know that for certain jobs involving the handling of steel guages, one's perspiration is checked for acid content as they can etch steel. I've seen this happen as somebody used a steel pipe I used for leverage on allen wrenches. The next day, it had his finger prints etched into the pipe.
  16. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Bill, on your test, just to be clear, it may well rise a little bit above the "settle level" and then begin to drain down to that level. So it's not the point at which the bowl water stops rising; it's the level to which the bowl water settles after you leave it a bit after filling to a little higher than that level.
  17. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    If the water goes over into the drain, why would it take time to settle? It gets push over, it gets pushed over. I will try that later.

    I just made a deposit of solids ;) and the bowl WL must have raised over an inch. Of course, I didn't wait to flush!
  18. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    Just added 32oz to the bowl which raised the WL about 1/2" measured in the center. After 30 minutes the WL did drop but only about 3/32". I may have reached its max level. This level is higher than I had seen with my first tank.
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    A well-tuned, designed, toilet fills the bowl just to the point of overflow when the tank reaches full. Older toilets tended to dump much more water into the bowl, essentially wasting it. If the bowl isn't full when you start the flush, your flush will NOT be as powerful as when the bowl is full to start with. Instead of immediately starting to push the water out, some of it must fill the bowl the rest of the way first, and that affects the overall flushing efficiency. This is why it is important when trying to minimize water use to use the correct parts, properly installed - not all aftermarket parts will achieve good results while simultaneously minimizing water use. You would not notice the bowl was being overfilled, but you may notice it doesn't flush well if it isn't full to start the flush, and definately will notice if the level is very far from the design level.

    Now, some toilets used in other parts of the world have nearly no water spot and the waste sits there until you flush. People here tend to not like them, and thus there's little market for them, but they are designed differently than ours.

    If you've displaced all or most of the lighter water in the bowl with urine, and wait to flush, adding a little bit can put concentrated urine trickling down the drain. Only when you flush do you cleanse that area. That slow trickle of undiluted urine can eat through pipes, as shown in the picture Terry posted as well as leave crystalline deposits that do not get flushed away. This is real, not theoretical.
  20. wptski

    wptski Retired Machine Repairman

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    I flushed, added around 40oz to the bowl, left home for four hours, the level lowered to that same point again so that must be the overflow point.

    Now if well tuned, properly designed toilet fills the bowl to the point of overflow, I wonder what happens as your dumping solids to the bowl? Are you getting a concentrate of whatever into the drain till you flush? If a toilet fills the bowl to less than the overflow point, you have room for solids, etc.

    I like to get an unbiased test of a Toto using this same procedure just to see how full the bowl is.

    I'll have to look but I'm unsure if WL in the bowl reaches that overflow point between flushes.

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