What I Learned About How Toilets Work Tonight…

November 14, 2012 10:37pm
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So the toilet in our master bathroom has been clogged up for over a week now. I tried just about everything I could think of – tons of plunger-ing (obviously), makeshift coat-hanger auger, actual bought it at Home Depot auger, Internet-suggested baking soda and vinegar chemical method to breakdown the alleged blockage…

Yes, the Internet told me to turn my toilet into a baking soda & vinegar volcano, and I did it because I was really running out of options at that point!

All of this ended up being in vain, however, because it wasn’t until a couple of hours ago that I was faced with a startling revelation – the toilet was never actually clogged to begin with.

For you see, apparently two things are needed for a toilet to properly flush:

  1. a clear pipe leading out of the toilet into the unknown sewers below <— this is what I thought the problem was
  2. an adequate volume of water with which to carry anything in the bowl out of your life and into said sewers <— BINGO!!!

What I discovered after watching random toilet repair videos on YouTube (…yeah…) was that the tank of my toilet wasn’t actually filling up all the way because the guts inside of it are old and leaky, so when you’d go to flush the toilet you were really only getting about half a tank’s worth of water to push all of the yucky stuff out of the bowl. This explains why when I was dumping literally gallons of vinegar and warm water into the toilet as part of my volcano experiment, the bowl cleared perfectly fine because there was plenty of water weight working in its favor … but on its own, not so much.

It looks like in the meantime we can just keep an eye on the tank and if it isn’t full all the way at the time its service is required, just hold down on the little arm inside to fill it a bit more before flushing and then it works fine. This weekend I’ll have to spring the $8 to buy a new floaty thing, which isn’t hard to change because I’ve done it before, but I’m still not particularly looking forward to the task, either.

Anyways, the real takeaway behind tonight’s post is that just because your toilet isn’t flushing doesn’t mean that it’s actually clogged.

This has been your Educational Toilet Moment … I’m Scott Sevener … happy flushing! 😉

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