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Mark
Mark, Union Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 292
Experience:  32 Years Experience in Commercial, Hi-Rise, Residential Construction, 4 years Project Management
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my toilet wont flush properly, it backs up, but then the water

Customer Question

my toilet won't flush properly, it backs up, but then the water drains slowly until it's out of water. and when I pour in a bucket of water it goes down. so there doesn't appear to be a stoppage. also plunging doesn't help. any idea what could cause this? I hesitate to call a rooter since, again, the water does go down.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Mark replied 2 years ago.

Mark :

Per your description, it sounds like a partial clog or vent blockage. Everything else works fine? Mark

Mark :

When pouring in the bucket of water, does it flush completely?

Customer :

sorry im here

Customer :

when i poured in the bucket, the water went all the way down

Mark :

It went down normally?

Customer :

it didn't make a flushing noise or anything

Customer :

but yes all the water i poured in went down the drain

Customer :

it didn't back up

Mark :

When flushing with the tank, it doesn't overflow it just backs up and then goes down slowly?

Customer :

it starts to flush but seems to lose energy and stops and the toilet backs up

Customer :

then it stops when the water gets high

Customer :

and then slowly over the next, I dunno, 20 or 40 minutes, the water level goes down

Customer :

until there is barely any left

Customer :

not the normal amount you would see when a toilet flushes correctly

Customer :

still there?

Mark :

First, try plunging repeatedly for awhile. Chances are, this may not solve the problem. Next, locate the vent on the roof that vents that particular toilet and shove a garden hose down as far as you can and turn the water on. Make sure you have someone in the bathroom so you don't flood the place. You have a partially blocked vent which is siphoning water from your toilet and not enabling proper flushing is my guess. Let me know if the problem persists by posting to this thread and I will check back with you. Mark

Customer :

yea i've already tried plunging

Mark :

By the way, don't try the latter if it's not safe, please.

Customer :

yea i can't imagine how i am going to get a garden hose all the way onto my roof

Customer :

or how i would identify the vent for this toilet?

Customer :

is drano or something like it going to possibly do any good? could it make the problem worse?

Mark :

It should be in the vicinity of the toilet penetrating the roof and a minimum 2" vent. If your house is 2 or more stories, that may take a professional look.

Customer :

we had another backup on the same toilet a month ago and we don't put anything down there besides toilet paper. any idea what would cause it? is it the toilet itself or the plumbing?

Mark :

Drano is not a good option.

Mark :

It could be the toilet but, I suspect it's a venting obstruction either above the roof or directly off the toilets drain line. Any large trees overhanging your roof?

Mark :

How old is the home?

Customer :

no

Mark :

You could also pull the toilet and check for a partial obstruction in the S-trap internally from underneath. Good way to determine if it's the toilet or waste line.

Mark :

This "closet snake" can be purchased at any hardware store and good to have around for these situations. Let me know if you have any other questions. Mark

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