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toilet not flushing properly

my downstairs toilet flushes good sometime and sometimes not so good. you can see the whirlpool sometimes and other times the water just rises with very little whirlpool , what could be wrong?  i do have a septic tank. and the upstairs bathroom seems to flush okay. what should i do now.   thanks

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Posted 2011-10-07T01:49:16+0000  by skoss22 skoss22

First of all how old is the toilet.

Posted 2011-10-07T06:33:22+0000  by cam356

Hello skoss22.  Welcome to Home Depot’s how-to Community!


Sorry to hear that your toilet backs up.  My downstairs one also does this from time to time.  It sounds to me that the problem lies in the drain piping that runs horizontally from the toilet elbow to the main stack.  This is a common partial blockage problem often made worse when that line has a slight upward slope somewhere.  If the blockage was in the toilet itself, it would always flush poorly until you cleared it up with either a plunger or a special toilet snake.


I have found that using a toilet plunger can temporarily improve flushing performance.  Your mileage may vary, but the newer your home, the more likely this will help.  This is where I would start.



Next on the list would be to use a special type of drain cleaner.  There are basically 3 types of cleaners: Acid, Base (or lye) and enzyme.  Never, ever use either acid or lye cleaners in a toilet.  The enzyme type however can be very useful in clearing clogged pipes.  Since you have a septic system, you may already be familiar with this type of cleaner.  The routine use of enzymes in a septic system helps keep the tank from backing up, reducing visits by the folks than run the honey wagon.  Here are some examples of enzyme cleaners:



These cleaners also will eat away at the crud in pipes, as well as the septic tank.

There is a downside though, as enzymes need lots of time to do their work.  After flushing the cleaner into the pipes, leave the toilet unused for as long as practical.  Repeat the application after use and continue to let time pass.  After a few days, you should be able to plunge the toilet and find that flush performance has significantly improved.


If this process either does not work or appeal to you, then there are special toilet snakes which are made to clear the toilet and first couple feet of pipe without harming the toilet porcelain.  I am not confident that a toilet snake will be the solution, but the last resort is to pull the toilet and use a large drain snake to clear out the piping.


Please let us know if these ideas help.

Thanks, Newf

Posted 2011-10-07T15:52:08+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Hello cam356, and welcome to the community! We are glad to have you join the forum.


Thank you for your help on this question. Please keep us updated on your projects and feel free to join in helping others.


Again, thanks for joining the community,


Posted 2011-10-07T17:02:50+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Firstly you have need to check your toilet flushes how old is your toilet. If it is old then you have need to change its flushes pipes. If there is blockage problem and pipes problem then you have need to clear it up through plunger.

Posted 2011-10-13T06:20:13+0000  by jennifer20

Hello again jennifer20,


Thanks for the input on this topic = ) It's great to see you again, helping out our other users. It's very much appreciated!~


Be sure to keep stopping in on the community and spreading your knowledge to the rest of the board. Hope to see you around soon!~

Posted 2011-10-13T16:50:17+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI
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