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What's going on with my toilet?

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  • Feb 21st, 2021 10:07 pm
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5205 posts
619 upvotes

What's going on with my toilet?

So my toilet seems to not be flushing properly lately. Sometimes it barely flushes and sometimes it takes a few tries. It's one of the dual flush american standard models. I've tried messing with the throw distance of the buttons and even pushing it from inside the tank but it seems to not make much of a difference.

The toilet can clear a 5gal bucket almost instantly, just about as fast as I can pour it in. I've done this several times and I'm guessing there isn't a blockage. I just tried snaking it today and it doesn't seem to be clogged, it can't go into the train, as I understand there is some sort of seal there or something.

What could be wrong with my toilet? Should I bother replacing the mechanism that flushes inside the tank or just a new toilet all together. Or could it be there is some sort of partial obstruction. I'm a bit worried my kid threw a bath toy in there or something when nobody was looking. Should I remove the toilet and look? The snake didn't seem to go in that easily but it could have just been because the bend in the trap.

Ideas?
23 replies
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
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Oakville
When it's not flushing properly, is the water accumulating in the bowl (like it's clogged)? Or is not releasing the water quickly? Or it is not releasing all of the water, and closing too quickly? Does it fully empty the reservoir?
Member
Nov 15, 2011
216 posts
219 upvotes
NORTH YORK
You probably have calcium buildup in the neck part of the toilet between the tank and bowl (sorry i dont know the plumbing names). Basically the pathway that the water flows from tank to fill up bowl which causes the toilet trap to open and flush.

I took CLR and poured it in bowl for a period of time and then took a snake like brush to scrub the hole in the bowl where the water fills in. For me calcium and limestone was loosened. Flushes great since. Youtube weak toilet flush fix
Deal Guru
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Oct 23, 2008
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GTA, ON
Issue with the flapper? Is the tank emptying?
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5205 posts
619 upvotes
engineered wrote: When it's not flushing properly, is the water accumulating in the bowl (like it's clogged)? Or is not releasing the water quickly? Or it is not releasing all of the water, and closing too quickly? Does it fully empty the reservoir?
Tank completely emptying and coming out, just doesn't push the water down fast enough.
g5spark wrote: You probably have calcium buildup in the neck part of the toilet between the tank and bowl (sorry i dont know the plumbing names). Basically the pathway that the water flows from tank to fill up bowl which causes the toilet trap to open and flush.

I took CLR and poured it in bowl for a period of time and then took a snake like brush to scrub the hole in the bowl where the water fills in. For me calcium and limestone was loosened. Flushes great since. Youtube weak toilet flush fix
Damn, I didn't think this. I'm totally going to try this. I don't have CLR but I'm going to try scrubbing it with citric acid solution.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Oni-kun wrote: Tank completely emptying and coming out, just doesn't push the water down fast enough.



Damn, I didn't think this. I'm totally going to try this. I don't have CLR but I'm going to try scrubbing it with citric acid solution.
You need muriatic acid which is much much more stronger than CLR. Do not get this stuff on your skin.
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Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Oni-kun wrote: Tank completely emptying and coming out, just doesn't push the water down fast enough.



Damn, I didn't think this. I'm totally going to try this. I don't have CLR but I'm going to try scrubbing it with citric acid solution.
You need muriatic acid which is much much more stronger than CLR for buildup. Do not get this stuff on your skin.

https://www.rona.ca/en/muriatic-acid-1-l-59795327
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5205 posts
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gr8dlr wrote: You need muriatic acid which is much much more stronger than CLR for buildup. Do not get this stuff on your skin.

https://www.rona.ca/en/muriatic-acid-1-l-59795327
It seems this american standard toilet overflow only goes into the big jet at the bottom of the toilet. I dyed the citric acid green with food colouring and it doesn't come out where the jets are. What's a good way to get the acid to the jets? I don't want to handle it with gloves and rub it into the jets.

I saw youtube videos if them pouring it into the overflow.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Oni-kun wrote: It seems this american standard toilet overflow only goes into the big jet at the bottom of the toilet. I dyed the citric acid green with food colouring and it doesn't come out where the jets are. What's a good way to get the acid to the jets? I don't want to handle it with gloves and rub it into the jets.

I saw youtube videos if them pouring it into the overflow.
Yes you can pour some into overflow tube and let it sit and repeat of needed.

Because it's not sitting in the acid that's why you need stronger stuff like muriatic acid.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Deal Fanatic
Nov 11, 2008
7955 posts
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My toilet of 15 years starting doing that. Solids would flush half, and liquids are usually ok. Poured hot water and vinegar, dish detergent and the issue resolve for a few days and would return. Lived with it for another year or 2 then it started requiring multiple flushes. It wasn't clogged. Before we used half the tank, and the flush was fine, then slowly raised it back to regular, and then it became 2 flushes of a full tank.

It would flush every time if i put dish detergent in. Only reason i can think of is the walls in the toilet was getting rough. Ended replacing the it with the 100$ costco toilet. No problems since.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2009
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Sound alike a clog or partial clog. Try plunging it.
Deal Addict
Jan 23, 2002
4130 posts
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Hamilton
Could also be clogged venting or blockage further down line. If it's a venting issue then all the CLR/acid/etc won't help. For an issue further down line, have you considered if your shower is draining slower?
Deal Fanatic
May 5, 2008
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Winnipeg
Is your vent blocked on roof?
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5205 posts
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airmail wrote: Is your vent blocked on roof?
I don't think so. Bathtub next to it and sink is draining fine? Or doe it use a separate vent?
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
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Toronto
Look in your tank and see how far up the flapper moves when you flush. Then let it refill, then stick your hand in there and move the flapper up COMPLETELY and hold it there a bit. If there is blockage between tank and bowl, then it shouldn't make a difference, but if it makes a difference, that means your flapper needs adjustment and needs to open wider. Usually the flapper is attached to an arm with a metal chain, so you need to adjust the arm or shorten the chain to take out any slack.

You mentioned the water in the tank completely empties. It's possible that the flapper stays open long enough for the water to empty, but it needs to open wide to get a powerful flush.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5205 posts
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jm1 wrote: Look in your tank and see how far up the flapper moves when you flush. Then let it refill, then stick your hand in there and move the flapper up COMPLETELY and hold it there a bit. If there is blockage between tank and bowl, then it shouldn't make a difference, but if it makes a difference, that means your flapper needs adjustment and needs to open wider. Usually the flapper is attached to an arm with a metal chain, so you need to adjust the arm or shorten the chain to take out any slack.

You mentioned the water in the tank completely empties. It's possible that the flapper stays open long enough for the water to empty, but it needs to open wide to get a powerful flush.
Unfortunately it's one of those complicated stupid "dual flush" toilets with two buttons at the top and pushes into this cylinder and I can't see the flapper.

I guess i'll look up the model name to see if it's worth replacing.


I did the acid flush and it's a bit better but not consistent.
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2018
4343 posts
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Vancouver
Seems like a lot of people didn't understand the OP's post. If the bowl is draining properly, then the problem is not a blockage. If the tank contents don't drain rapidly into the bowl when you flush, then the problem is normally the flapper. But the OP doesn't have a standard flapper, he has one of those diabolical dual-flush systems that malfunction like the OP is seeing fairly often. You can get out the manual, check the dual flush adjustment, make sure the half-flush setting hasn't changed. You can check that the flush cable isn't twisted or snagged. But in the end the only fix sometimes is to replace the dual-flush mechanism. I've had to do that twice on our most-used toilets. They just wear out.
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Oni-kun wrote: Unfortunately it's one of those complicated stupid "dual flush" toilets with two buttons at the top and pushes into this cylinder and I can't see the flapper.

I guess i'll look up the model name to see if it's worth replacing.


I did the acid flush and it's a bit better but not consistent.
Did u get Muriatic acid? You need to reduce amount of water in the bowl and put acid in there as well as the overflow tube and then let it sit (a few hours) to eat away all of the buildup. Test and repeat.

Makes a big difference. Goggle Ask The Builder podcast for slow flushing toilet for instructions.

Before you flush the acid down the drain...neutralize it with baking soda as well.

We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5205 posts
619 upvotes
gr8dlr wrote: Did u get Muriatic acid? You need to reduce amount of water in the bowl and put acid in there as well as the overflow tube and then let it sit (a few hours) to eat away all of the buildup. Test and repeat.

Makes a big difference. Goggle Ask The Builder podcast for slow flushing toilet for instructions.

Before you flush the acid down the drain...neutralize it with baking soda as well.

I mixed vinegar with 80 grams of citric acid. I let it sit a few hours. Seems to have done the trick for now. If it isn't enough I"ll get the muric acid. Hardware store isn't open except for curbside. Didn't want to bother
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Oni-kun wrote: I mixed vinegar with 80 grams of citric acid. I let it sit a few hours. Seems to have done the trick for now. If it isn't enough I"ll get the muric acid. Hardware store isn't open except for curbside. Didn't want to bother
Do it before you go to bed and let it sit overnight.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!

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