Troubleshooting - cranky toilet!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by thesweetpickles, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. thesweetpickles

    thesweetpickles New Member

    Sep 25, 2012
    Greetings, all.

    We have been dealing with an unhappy 2nd floor toilet for a little while now. Liquid waste + toilet paper do not cause any problems, but solid waste is slow to move and gurgles, with an occasional back up. Plunging takes care of the immediate issue, but I feel like there's something else at play here. We've checked the vent to the roof --- blasted with a hose and had no back up in the vent or the house. Today I went up and pushed through about 40 feet of a 50 foot snake (could not manage to get it pushed any farther) and when I pulled it back out, it was covered in solid waste. No one has used this toilet for any #2 variety activities for a couple of days, so I was surprised that there was still waste in the line. There are no other toilets in use upstairs.

    Is this normal, and if not, where to go from here? We don't have any other drainage issues on the other levels, just this. Does it make sense to remove the toilet and snake the line from there? I do notice that the water level in the toilet tank is about 1/2" below the recommended line and that the water in the bowl seems insufficient compared to our other toilets.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Edited to add: we have also taken the toilet off to replace the wax seal, checked the toilet innards at that time with no visible clogs; also used a toilet auger to no avail.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Evidence of solid waste means there's a clog somewhere. Without knowing how your house is plumbed, one branch could easily be clogged and the others working quite fine. FWIW, a toilet will flush with no vent at all, so that isn't the issue. Pulling the toilet can give you a closer path through that drain line. But, the typical homeowner's snake is not designed to scour the larger lines and often will just poke a hole, that will quickly plug back up. 40', depending on the house, could easily be out into the yard on the way to the main sewer line.
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  4. thesweetpickles

    thesweetpickles New Member

    Sep 25, 2012
    Thank you for your reply. I should've been more clear that I was snaking from the vent stack on the roof, so the 40ish feet of snake I did get through was going through the roof, attic and then into the line so I don't think I could've made it out into the yard (through part of the send floor line at most, I assume). I appreciate what you're saying though. It does sound like a professional is in order here. Thanks again.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    For a second floor toilet to back up, without flooding a downstairs toilet or kitchen sink first, ITS branch, and only its branch, has to be plugged up.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Snakes that are available to DIY are seldom capable of clearing a clog even if the clog is in the line being snaked. These are too small and will just poke through the clog and leave it intact or push the clog deeper and compact it more. Unless the toilet has an obstruction in its trap, you need a professional plumber whose company does not contain the words "Rooter" or "Roto" to clear the drain with professional grade equipment. This equipment is normally not available to a DIY and even if it is, should not be used by a novice. These things are very powerful and can literally take and arm off in a split second if not properly handled.

    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

    Aug 6, 2007
    Retired Master Plumber
    Not looking for plumbers with Roto or Rooter in the names doe's not
    make any sense since almost all "good" drain cleaning Co's, do use those words somewhere in there name or list of services,
    those Co's known by those names also do good work most of the time
    even if they can be overpriced for what they do,
    it all depends on how you value their work, they do have a right to charge for their services just like you have the right to choose another Plumber. To do your work
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2012
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