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Toilet bowl rising (over and over) after a clog. Ideas re diagnosis?
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Minor Deity
Picture of Amanda
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It started with the usual - a digestive issue which led to the toilet getting jammed. The precipitating cause (TMI as son would leap to respond) wasn't a solid mass but rather a liquid one which led to excessive use of toilet paper.

This was five days ago, followed by heavy plunging and LOTS of googling for suggestions ( after plunging anauger, of course). .

Only the plumber who came with his auger was unsuccessful, expressed consternation. What's been causing the serious problem thenceforward, is that after repeatedly emptying (pitcher from full bowl) it to buckets which I then painstakingly lower down the stairs, the primary danger being my fall risk.

At this point, I've emptied at least 30 heavy buckets (clear to the eye, though I'm sure plenty of e coli remains) ever so slowly - a few steps down at a time. Left arm depending on the bannister.

The little "quarter bath" (my term for this little makeshift partial bath is not rarely used except (as now) when I'm sleeping upstairs and losing that loo as needed.

The problem now (which no plumber seems able to diagnose) is that the bowl continues to rise at least three times/24 hours requiring me to empty it and lower it to the floor below where I empty it into that toilet which flushes fine.

Why? And what to do?? So far it may sound straightforward except that I've turned off the toilet water connection AND the adjacent sink. Then too, the tank seems to keep filling too and from there to the bowl which overflows if I don't empty it several times/day.

Sounds like a hydraulics problem, but that said, can anyone guess how and why a toilet bowl would continue to fill this way?


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13707 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'd like to state the problem as I understand it to be sure I've got the picture before I ask a few more questions

You have a toilet in a second floor bathroom where the water is backing up into the toilet. You've shut off the water supplies for the toilet and the sink in that bathroom. You had a plumber out to rod out that toilet but he was unsuccessful.

There is a first floor bath that you are using, and that is flushing normally, no backup.

Tell me if I've got anything wrong.


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Posts: 33215 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The upstairs toilet is doing this but the downstairs toilet is fine? Very odd.

Questions:

Are you on city sewer? Is there a pump?

Are both bathrooms original to the house or was one added later?

Is any water coming up in a bath tub or a shower?

Is the water coming up clean? Or is it dirty?

Have you tried turning off the water to that toilet?

Can you hear water running at night when everything is quiet?

Is your water bill unusually high?

Why do you empty the buckets in to the downstairs toilet? Why not in the sink upstairs?


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 32333 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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She said she turned the water off to the problem toilet.

quote:
I've turned off the toilet water connection AND the adjacent sink


I was going to ask if she has used a shower or tub on the second (or maybe the third?) floor....related to your question re: is there water backing up into a tub or shower.

What I don't get is why a plumber couldn't get a toilet paper clog cleaned out in this situation.


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

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Posts: 33215 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What I don't get is why the problem is on the second floor and not the first. Something is either pressurizing the sanitary sewer line (which is why I asked about a pump, although that should cause problems on the first floor before it does on the second floor), or the shutoff valve is bad and the toilet is completely clogged with something that allows an auger to pass but quickly clogs again.

Roots will do that, as will washcloths and various other things like grease.

Might be time to pull the commode and run a camera down the line.

One more question. When the plumber came out, did he auger the line through the toilet or did he pull the toilet and use a larger auger? The little augers you can use without pulling the toilet aren't all that effective.


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 32333 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Roots will do that, as will washcloths and various other things like grease


Roots would be outside the house. And grease would be way down the line. Either of those would cause the first floor toilet to back up first, and that's not happening.

From the initial description, there was increased toilet paper use followed by a clog. That's why I think the clog is between the first and second floor.

quote:
the shutoff valve is bad and the toilet is completely clogged with something that allows an auger to pass but quickly clogs again.


I think you're on to something with the shutoff. I was thinking another plumbing fixture like a sink or tub or shower might be dumping into the same clogged drain and then causing the toilet to back up. But would have expected the tub or shower to be backing up too.

I'd be pulling the toilet and doing the camera thing/making sure that toilet paper clog is cleared.


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 33215 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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quote:
Originally posted by wtg:
I'd like to state the problem as I understand it to be sure I've got the picture before I ask a few more questions

You have a toilet in a second floor bathroom where the water is backing up into the toilet. You've shut off the water supplies for the toilet and the sink in that bathroom. You had a plumber out to rod out that toilet but he was unsuccessful.

There is a first floor bath that you are using, and that is flushing normally, no backup.

Tell me if I've got anything wrong.


Yes, to all your points. Note too that there is also a basement toilet which is functioning normally.


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13707 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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quote:
Originally posted by wtg:
quote:
Roots will do that, as will washcloths and various other things like grease


Roots would be outside the house. And grease would be way down the line. Either of those would cause the first floor toilet to back up first, and that's not happening.

That's why I think the clog is between the first and second floor. From the initial description, there was increased toilet paper use followed by a clog.

quote:
the shutoff valve is bad and the toilet is completely clogged with something that allows an auger to pass but quickly clogs again.


I think you're on to something with the shutoff. I was thinking another plumbing fixture like a sink or tub or shower might be dumping into the same clogged drain and then causing the toilet to back up. But would have expected the tub or shower to be backing up too.

I'd be pulling the toilet and doing the camera thing/making sure that toilet paper clog is cleared.


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13707 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Roots are not always outside the house.

In my own house the toilet in the hall bath clogged repeatedly and finally pulled it to find the problem. I was amazed to find that a root had grown under the slab to the toilet at the very center of the house, made it's way past the wax ring and developed in to a tangle of roots some four feet long.

I don't see how that could happen on the second floor, but you never can tell.


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Posts: 32333 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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She said she has a basement. And that toilet is fine, too.

But your root story is pretty amazing. Did you take pics?

edit: And what kind of tree or plant was it?


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 33215 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Miller:
The upstairs toilet is doing this but the downstairs toilet is fine? Very odd.

Questions:

Are you on city sewer? Is there a pump?

Are both bathrooms original to the house or was one added later?


Yes, city sewer. No pump. The ground floor bathroom is original. The upstairs toilet was presumably added years ago (before our tenancy) when the upstairs had an added floor in our cape cod - along with the two bedrooms . (Heavy sloped ceilings).

It was added by that mom for her 7 year old twins (hence very small - can't even see getting the toilet out.)

quote:
Is any water coming up in a bath tub or a shower?

Is the water coming up clean? Or is it dirty?

Have you tried turning off the water to that toilet?

Can you hear water running at night when everything is quiet?


The water is only rising in the toilet bowl. At this point (at first - remember this began after a digestive mishap, diarrhea to be exact. Hence excessive toilet paper.)

At this point the water is clear, though at first there was digestive residue. And this ONLY began right after that "mishap" - hence no water bill. (However, Im SURE it's wasting many gallons daily. The buckets I'm emptying are gallons apiece - figure five or six buckets/day.)

quote:
Is your water bill unusually high?

Why do you empty the buckets in to the downstairs toilet? Why not in the sink upstairs?


I've tried to empty the water in the upstairs sink AFTER WHICH I NOTICED THE BOWL FILLING SIMULTANEOUSLY. In fact, yesterday. as I was emptying a bucket in that sink, I heard a glug glug and a few bubbles (so clearly there is a connection between the pipes, below. )

However, as I wrote, I then turned off that sink's outflow valve too and it didn't change anything.

Water bill and wastage WILL be high but no bill so far. Again, it began only five days ago with the digestive issue and consequent paper...


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13707 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Are you using a shower or tub on the second floor?


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 33215 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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To repeat, the plumber who augured reported he could not get the augur through the toilet bowl even two feel down - that it was completely blocked.

Note that water dripped into the basement through the ceiling when he plunged. I asked how that could be (since the kitchen on ground floor - below the bathroom) was in between the upstairs and basement.

He said because water was getting past the toilet's wax ring which was underwater because of the blockage.

No, no roots. This is effectively the third floor (counting the basement) and these pipes have all been cameraed in the past when I had that major blockage problem (resolved only by having the basement cast iron pipes changed to OVC).

I wonder if I can call the second plumber at this hour - request to change the tank's innards so as to prevent the tank filling at all. Then once the emergency is resolved (emergency being the continual water overflow and consequent risk to my falling on the stairs, as I empty the buckets.)


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13707 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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There is no tub or shower on the second floor.

That's why I called it a 1/4 bath - just the little turquoise toilet with the twin turquoise sinks to its right.


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13707 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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(Nothing helped by blizzard coming tomorrow! Frowner )


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13707 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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