How to Fix a Toilet That Won't Flush
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How to Fix a Toilet That Won’t Flush

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Phil in Kansas finds The Money Pit on Discovery Radio Network. And you’ve got a toilet issue. What’s happening?

    PHIL: Well, I’ve got a house; it was built back in 1970. Say, it sat vacant for about six years before I just bought it this last year.

    TOM: OK.

    PHIL: And I’ve got a … got all copper plumbing throughout. And I’ve got a toilet in the upstairs; it empties directly into the sewer line headed out of the house. It’s the very first drain in the house. None of the other drains stop up or anything but this toilet refuses to flush. I’ve pulled the toilet up; checked the pipes; ran through the toilet, replaced everything – all the guts in it; made sure there’s no obstructions in it; checked the vent pipe, made sure that’s all good; ran a snake with a camera through the main sewer line out to the … out to the actual dump; and there’s no obstructions but it just … most of the time it does not want to flush.

    TOM: So have you checked the body of the toilet itself, Phil? When you took it apart, did you make sure nothing was wedged in the side … the trap that’s actually built into the ceramic part of the toilet?

    PHIL: Yes, I actually did. I had a problem with that a few years ago with the kids with a dinosaur. (laughing)

    TOM: Yeah, I had … I had the same problem.

    PHIL: Yeah.

    TOM: My kid had a little tiny phone that got stuck … just jammed it in the trap. Well, when you got the toilet up, can you run water through the pipe? Through the waste pipe?

    PHIL: Yes. Yeah, it runs great. I even ran a snake through it and everything.

    TOM: Well, then maybe this is … maybe this toilet’s just not working for you, Phil. Maybe it’s time to replace the toilet. Have you thought about doing that?

    PHIL: Actually, I have. I just … I can’t see anything physically wrong with this one; why it wouldn’t. But yeah, I’ve actually thought about that.

    TOM: Well, I think that you’ve kind of come up with your own answer here, Phil. You know, the newer low-flow toilets – the ones that only handle 1.6 gallons of water – have actually gotten a lot better. And a lot of manufacturers have redesigned those bowls and the piping and the trap – the throat of the toilet that all the waste passes through – to have very little restriction so that you can use less water to push the waste through.

    You can also get a pressure-assisted toilet that would … uses the force of air to push the waste through. But it sounds to me like this toilet is just not working for you and it’s time to replace it.

    PHIL: OK. Yeah, I’ve actually … I’ve looked at the pressure-assisted ones before and I know the pipes would actually handle it, with them being good copper pipes.

    TOM: Yeah, it absolutely will work and I think that’s going to solve your problem. Phil, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            1-888-MONEY-PIT      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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