Friday, 24 April 2009

Ode To A Clogged Toilet

In the continuing discussion about the "green revolution" and its effects and consequences on us today, barely a day goes by that I don't read multiple complaints on the discussion groups and DIY forums about toilets clogging. I own 2 low CFM (cubic feet per minute) toilets and I'm a big guy. Yes that means what goes in eventually comes out the other end and if anyone was going to stop up a toilet it would be me. Does it happen? Occasionally, but honestly no more frequently with my 1.6 CFM toilets than back when I had the 6 CFM's toilets. I am the proud father of 3 wonderful sons and the youngest could clog a toilet with urine only and so we kept the latest in high tech plungers immediately next to his toilet at all times. I answered a typical question this morning on the DIY Network forum where the poster was complaining that both of the family toilets were clogging about every 2 weeks and immediately the posters jumped on the band wagon of what was his flush capacity? what brand toilet was it? Just how many golf balls was he trying to flush when it became clogged. The point is that our preoccupation with low flush toilets has the vast majority of the public immediately assuming that it's the toilet's fault. It couldn't possibly be that we have a serious lack of fiber in our diet nor that we have always clogged toilets regardless of the CFM. My answer was that if it was intermittent and there was no real difference in the volume or density of the solid waste then had anyone thought that it might not be the toilet at all. This problem could very easily be the beginnings of a clog down stream in the main drain line. This occasional clogging can easily be the harbinger of more serious things to come down the road when the main drain becomes so clogged that it backs up into the lowest point of the house (usually a downstairs bath tub) and causes a mess that only a remediation company can begin to repair. Instead of joining the chorus on blaming the toilets, they were 5 years old and the clogging has just begun, I recommended an aggressive snaking of the main drain from each toilet out and down through the main line to the septic or sewer system. A clogged grease trap on the sewer system can cause this. Although it wasn't mentioned as to whether this user was on a septic tank or not , a full septic tank can cause the same effect, or clogging drain field lines on the septic tank can be the cause especially after a heavy rain. In summation before you start discussing with God the destiny of the soul of the inventor of the low flush toilet, before you yell at your teenager that he has to start eating more high fiber pizza, before you join the chorus of well meaning yet possibly mislead complainers, stop and think your way through your situation. Look at the whole situation about your clogging problems and don't just stop by blaming the poor toilet that's trying to help conserve water while we still have some to conserve.

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