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Old 11-24-2009, 07:14 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
10,081 posts, read 18,012,433 times
Reputation: 12757


Any plumbers or someone that knows this. When flushing, and it's just paper sometimes (and not a ton) - the toilet seems to only occasionally flush completely, otherwise it just goes down a water level, swirls around the paper, and then refills but paper is still there.

I hope this makes sense to someone who understands the issue?
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:35 AM
Location: Pomona
1,955 posts, read 8,911,379 times
Reputation: 1527
It could be the water level ... if it's not high enough, then there's not enough let in to allow all the waste to push through the colon. Likewise, if there is a blockage in the colon, that could hinder the flush too.

However, if it's always been like that, then it's just your toilet sucking. First generation low-flow toilets were notorious for being crappy.
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Old 11-25-2009, 07:40 AM
Location: Tulsa, OK
5,988 posts, read 9,732,664 times
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Some toilets have a 2 stage flush mechanism. A normal flush will handle liquid. Holding the lever down for 3-5 sec uses more water to flush solids.
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:04 AM
25,465 posts, read 23,258,132 times
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I really hate those newer toilets, the ones that use only a gallon of water to flush. They are worthless and by the time you actually get it completely flush youve already had to flush 2 or 3 times....why not just use a good toilet that actually works in the first place, either way you still have to use the same amount of water anyway. Arrrrgh!
Some of us dont have the time to stand there and hold the flusher thing down forever, when we could be buttoning our jeans and getting back to what we were doing before.
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:09 AM
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
763 posts, read 2,166,136 times
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One of my toilets does this, too. Not all the time, but often enough to be extremely frustrating. Solids or liquids - doesn't matter. Water level in toilet is constant and this is an old style, water wasting, full-flush model. When it refuses to flush, we have to add water to the bowl to make everything go down which completely grosses me out in certain scenarios.

We're on a septic system (30 years old but still working well as of our last clean-out) and this is a first floor bathroom having issues. We've checked the tank to make sure the float is working and the seal is good. No issues there, either.
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:32 AM
Location: Seattle area
857 posts, read 3,578,773 times
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I think Narfcake may be on to something there. Open the back of the toilet -- take off the lid. How much water is in there? The float could be hung up so that it stops it from filling up before it's completely full, or perhaps someone adjusted it on purpose to try to make it a low-flow. Is there an obvious high-water mark in there that's above your current water level? Fill it up to that high-water mark and then flush. If it rapidly drains into the bowl and gives you a great flush, then you'll want to adjust the float in the tank so that it always automatically refills to that level.

If, however, you have plenty of water in the tank and it dumps into the bowl quickly, and just raises the water level in the bowl until it slowly settles down again, then maybe you have a line that's not happy. You could try plunging the toilet for awhile, see if you get any change, but if not then I'm not sure what the next step would be.
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:00 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,224 posts, read 48,997,062 times
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There can be a variety of causes. SOMETIMES it is that the flapper hasn't risen completely out of the way of the water entering the exit pipe to the bowl. If is consistent and you see that as a problem, you may be able to adjust the chain to the flapper tighter. Sometimes it is better to replace the entire flapper assembly, including the flapper seat.
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:21 PM
Location: Central Fl
2,902 posts, read 10,272,221 times
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Harry, as always is correct.
It has always been my understanding that it is either not enough water doing the flush, or a partially blocked toilet trap or soil line.

If it is not enough water, you can check the tank to either adjust the flap to stay up longer, or adjust the fill valve to have the water level higher.

If you take a bucket full of water and pour it into the bowl, and it flushes better, then you probably have a water flap or valve or water level being too low problem.

If more water still results in a pour flush, you have an obstruction in the line. Try first a GOOD toilet plunger, then if that does not work, a toilet auger. If that does not work, then the obstruction is further down the line.

If the obstruction IS further down the line, your sink and tub/shower would be sluggish also...(sometimes).

I have seen things stuck in the toilet trap itself. Once, I found just a years long slow buildup of soap making the opening narrow. Come to find out, the owners always flushed the soap slivers down the toilet and they slowly accumulated. Very strange.

My guess it is a partial line obstruction...letting liquids go through, but not solids....always keep a good plunger and auger close by. Both are inexpensive and worth gold when you need them.

In the worse cases, i've had to unattach the toilet from the flange. It is not that difficult. I always keep a few extra wax rings around just in case.

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Old 11-25-2009, 03:06 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
23,168 posts, read 56,833,610 times
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Clean out your sewer line as stated above. If that does not do it, then get an older toilet (pre-low flush) or buy one from Canada. I have never had much luck with those dumb low flush toilets no matter how new or pricey they are. You can still buy the rgular flushing toilets in Canada, but they are technically illegal to bring itno the united states. People hate the US low flush ones so much, that there are actually smugglers who smuggle in Canadian toilets and sell them.

Your other option is to flush multiple times. I find that if you flush before wiping and then twice at different times during wiping, everything will go down even with the crummy us regualted low flush toilets.

If you are really wealthy, you can get one of those commercial style super powered flushing toilets like you find in some public buildings and businesses. Those are great, but realy pricey. Not sure how they work. They do not have a tank.
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Old 11-26-2009, 04:28 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
10,081 posts, read 18,012,433 times
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I should have stated, this is an older toilet - not the newer low/lite flush ones. A good 'ole American Standard, not sure how hold - house was built in the '50's, husband bought mid '80's and then remodeled so it's probably a toilet from the 80's.

We actually had it off before because the wax ring leaked and we discovered that problem - redid the subflooring, tiles, etc. - got a newer ring that is adjustable (quite cool, as opposed to the wax) - considering the toilet probably weighs as much as me, it was quite a struggle getting it seated so we were grateful to not have a "one shot" at the wax ring thing.

The tank does fill up, maybe I'll try the float adjustment and see. It's odd, sometimes it does completely empty (which is obvious from the sound) but other times it's just "lazy".
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