I Hate Those @#%&!!! Toilets

Thread Starter

Glenn Holland

Joined Dec 26, 2014
703
We've had two incidents in my condo building with a clogged sewer line below the bathroom.

In both cases, the culprit was a low flow toilet that doesn't use enough water to flush the line all the way to the sewer. The clog was in the elbow of the pipe right below the toilet and it eventually filled up with what I will politely call "solids". Since the connection between the toilet and the elbow (a wax or rubber ring) is not pressure tight, the water (contaminated with raw sewage) eventually leaked out.

In one case, the leaking sewer was directly over a parking garage and the only damage was someone's car got wet. However in the other case, the leak was above the bathroom of the the condo below. The plumber had the very unpleasant task of unbolting and lifting the toilet which released about 1/2 gallon of raw sewage on the floor. The owner had to call in a remediation contractor to tear out his contaminated bathroom floor and also the sheet rock ceiling of the bathroom below. It took about about a week t clean up the mess and the first and second floor of my building wreaked with the smell of sewage.

Here's a summary of the "elephant in the living room" called Low Flow Toilets:

 

JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,709
+1
American Standard Champion 4 series 1.28gpf - works great. Lots of early low flows didn’t work well. These do. Totos too.

Have Vortens 3245 1.28 gpf in new place with Flushmaster dual flush innards. First click for #1, full push for the rest. Flawless so far.

Sometimes the old plumbing can be partially obstructed. That’s what the rooter guys are for. But once past the P trap, gravity should do the work if the pipes are ok. That said, some of those old SFO units throw 7gpf or more which would cover lots of problems.

In any case, a proper wax ring should not leak even with pressure plunging.
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

Glenn Holland

Joined Dec 26, 2014
703
It's not just the toilet itself that has to be flushed, it's the entire line to the street sewer.

We've had a roto rooter company take videos of all the building lines and they are all full of "solids". In the two cases I mentioned, the waste was simply flushed into the elbow below the toilet and it never went any further. San Francisco's building/city sewer connections also have a street trap which can fill up with solids and that can cause a back up in the basement drains.

I also bail out my shower/tub into buckets which I dump in the toilet and that gives a huge surge that pushes everything to the street.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,088
Beginning in January 2016, all toilets, faucets and urinals sold in California will have to meet new low-flow efficiency standards set by the California Energy Commission. Under the new rules — which will be the toughest in the country — toilets cannot use more than 1.28 gallons per flush.Jun 26, 2015
California Imposes Tough New Rules For Efficient Toilets, Faucets

I predict a run on black market toilets from Canada and adjacent states. Pretty sad when a state government can crawl this far into your life as to define what rules your toilet must comply with. Then too, being this is California nothing surprises me.

Ron
 

RichardO

Joined May 4, 2013
2,270
California Imposes Tough New Rules For Efficient Toilets, Faucets

I predict a run on black market toilets from Canada and adjacent states. Pretty sad when a state government can crawl this far into your life as to define what rules your toilet must comply with. Then too, being this is California nothing surprises me.

Ron
This has been happening for decades. The standard work around was to buy a new toilet to get the paperwork for the permit. Then install an old, used toilet. I am guessing that the supply of old toilets dried up long ago.

"HISTORY
OF CODES AND REGULATIONS ... Effective January 1, 1978, California law required toilets sold in California to have a flushing volume below 3.5 gpf. ... Among dual flush designs there are some that use 1.6 gallons for a full flush and 1.1 gallon for a reduced flush, and other designs that use 1.28 gallons for a full ."

cuwcc.org/Committees/Research-and-Evaluation/FileId/6076
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,088
This has been happening for decades. The standard work around was to buy a new toilet to get the paperwork for the permit. Then install an old, used toilet. I am guessing that the supply of old toilets dried up long ago.

"HISTORY
OF CODES AND REGULATIONS ... Effective January 1, 1978, California law required toilets sold in California to have a flushing volume below 3.5 gpf. ... Among dual flush designs there are some that use 1.6 gallons for a full flush and 1.1 gallon for a reduced flush, and other designs that use 1.28 gallons for a full ."

cuwcc.org/Committees/Research-and-Evaluation/FileId/6076
Oh absolutely it has been over time. When my sister here in Ohio had her bathrooms refinished she went with the low volume toilets which led to problems which led to changing the slope of the plumbing in the basement. The house was my mother's and the old toilets worked fine for 50 years. I will never give up my toilets and have rebuild kits at the ready. :)

Ron
 
Top