Calcium buildup = slow flush?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by CarlH, May 24, 2007.

  1. CarlH

    CarlH New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    Northern VA
    A plumber told my father-in-law that his problem with a slow flushing toilet was due to calcium build up. At times, it took as many as three flushes to clear debris from the bowl. The toilet had been augered and the drain line had been cleaned out as far a 160ft from the house. The toilet itself is a 50 year old American Standard that flushes by dumping all the water from the top of the bowl. There is no siphon jet. I did end up replacing the toilet with a Cadet 3 and my father-in-law is happy with that one.

    I'm just curious to see if the plumber was feeding my father-in-law a line or if calcium buildup can be a problem for old toilets. I did neglect to inspect the bottom of the old toilet after I pulled to see if I could spot any obstructions. There is second toilet of the same make in this house and looks like it flushes the same way, but no complaints on this one yet. Perhaps there is not complaints because it is not used on the same level or not used by the same individuals.
     
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Probably the calcium buildup he was referring to was in the holes or passages under the rim. These areas definitely do get limed up, and that for sure can affect bowl washdown and the rim flush action. You also get a scale buildup in the throat and trapway. This is not a buildup such that it blocks the pipes, but it adds a lot of friction, and for sure this also affects flushing. This is why reputable manufacturers take the extra step of completely glazing the waterways and trapways.

    The fact the your new toilet is performing well seems to confirm the diagnosis on the old toilet.
     
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  4. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Occupation:
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    Location:
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Yes, and just like Jimbo has described. I once got one working "like new" by chipping the scale out of the siphon jet hole in the bowl, but I was unsuccessful with another that flushed from the rim. One way to check for this kind of problem is to attempt a "manual flush" by using about two gallons of water from a pail. If that pail of water makes the toilet flush fine, then the flush problem is most-likely related to how quickly the water in the tank can get into the bowl at flush time.
     
  5. Michael grubbs

    Michael grubbs New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    The Calcium buildup is on the top of the hump. After quite a long time, hard water causes calcium to deposite at the top of the hump. This causes the water to have to rise higher before the siphon effect starts to pull the bowl contents over the hump and down the drain.
     
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The siphon jet, if there is one, is probably INSIDE the trapway shooting upwards. A half gallon of muriatic acid will clear it out.
     
  7. Treeman

    Treeman Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have an old toilet at work doing the exact same thing. I tried cleaning the rim holes. I've also snaked the line. Is it possible that a semi plugged vent could cause a very slow flushing?? It seems that when the flush is so slow it that it doesn't remove the contents well, one single push with a plunger restores it to a good, but still slow flush.

    I'm about to pull the plug on a new Drake anyway, but will be disappointed if the problem is something else.

    Thanks for any comments.
     
  8. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2012
    Location:
    New York, NY
    It's not going to be the vent.

    Can you pour a bucket of water down the toilet and have it all drain away? If not, then there may still be something somewhere in the line, even if you snaked it.

    I'm all for the Drake. We have two, and love them.
     
  9. PumpMd

    PumpMd In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2015
    Occupation:
    Water Well Pump Installer/Diesel Mechanic
    Location:
    Oklahoma
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