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Toilet Flushing Problems May Mean an Obstruction

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Michael in Alabama’s having some toilet issues. It’s just not flushing? Tell us what happens.

    MICHAEL: Well, it’s like sometimes I have to flush it more than once to get everything out of the bowl.

    TOM: How old is the toilet, Michael?

    MICHAEL: The house is 20 years old.

    TOM: So it’s probably not a low-flow toilet.

    MICHAEL: No, I don’t think so.

    TOM: Well, there must be an obstruction somewhere. Is it only happening with this toilet or is it happening with all the toilets in the house or you just have one?

    MICHAEL: I have two and mainly (ph) it happens with one.

    TOM: Well, OK. A couple of things.

    MICHAEL: We have really small children, so …

    TOM: OK. So do you think there’s a chance they could’ve flushed something down there?

    MICHAEL: Either that or put a bunch in and then tried to flush it.

    TOM: Well, if it’s a low-flow toilet, then the design of it is such that sometimes that happens. If there’s an obstruction, the only way you’re going to get to it is if you snake it out. Now, with a toilet, the obstructions can be in one of two places. It could be in the built-in trap, which is accessible if you take the toilet off the base. Or it can be in the line itself. If you run water through the – is this – this toilet that flushes slowly, is it in the same bathroom with a sink and a tub?

    MICHAEL: Yes.

    TOM: Do you have any slowness in the sink or the tub when they drain?

    MICHAEL: No.

    TOM: Because it’s going to be going to the same drain itself. Then I would it’s more likely to be in the toilet itself and you might want to do a little investigation here and pull it off the base and take a look. It’s not that hard to do. You turn the water off, disconnect the water line, move the toilet bolts and, of course, take the lid off so it doesn’t fall off. And then flush it so it drains all the water and then tilt it up and you can look right under it into the trap of the toilet itself and see if maybe one of your kids threw something down there. I actually had that happen to me and it was a little tricky to diagnose but once we found it, it was all set.

    MICHAEL: (children talking in background) OK, so the best way to do it is just take it all apart and then look in the trap itself?

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    LESLIE: And there’s the kid saying, “I shoved my toy telephone down there.”

    TOM: (chuckling) “Dad, I tried to tell you that.” (chuckling)

    LESLIE: “Dad, I was telling you.”

    TOM: Michael, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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