Toilet Drips and makes Ice Blockage in Main Drain

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by molo, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    845
    Location:
    cold new york
    I believe the toilet is dripping into the main line and if it's out of use for a couple of days when it is cold outside it is forming an ice blockage in the main line.
    What steps can I take to stop this from happening?
    I'm wondering if it's being used as the expansion tank for the water heater. However, there is no backflow preventer into the municipal water system (not required here) so I'm wondering if the system would need the toilet for expansion.

    Over a few cold days it froze a 4" line completely solid (in the basement).
    Where do I start?

    Thank you,
    Bill
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,180
    Location:
    New England
    Is the flush valve leaking and water is going over the overflow tube or is it leaking by the flapper? Shut the water off and see if the tank empties, if it's not going down the overflow.
  3. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    845
    Location:
    cold new york
    I'll check that out, thanks Jad.
  4. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Are you on septic or city sewer? Either way there should be enough heat in the line to prevent freezing. The only time I saw this happen is when the septic tank was pumped when the temperatures were below freezing.

    John
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  5. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    845
    Location:
    cold new york
    This is septic, but I've heard of it on city when the line wasn't deep enough outside and ran under a driveway where the frost was driven down.
  6. Beads

    Beads All thumbs

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    New Orleans
    Why is your basement so cold, are some walls exposed? Are your floors insulated? You must have other pipes there too. What keeps them from freezing?
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    A leaking toilet can indeed cause a ice blockage to form in the main line.
    For that matter so can dripping faucets and bellies in the line...

    There are many drain lines that are not buried below the frost line that work great unless one of the above problems exist.
  8. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    845
    Location:
    cold new york
    The 4" line froze at a place where an elbow is right up against the rim joist and there is no insulation. I need to find the drip.
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