“We’ve all been there. The water tank is emitting a strange gurgling sound and we know something’s not right. We call the plumber and pray that the house hasn’t become the Niagara Falls by the time he arrives. We wait on tenterhooks, anxiously watching the clock. Finally, the doorbell rings and there he is. We’re so relieved we want to kiss him.
Instead we get a hold of ourselves and usher him up to the attic. Using wrenches and pliers and working by torchlight, he emerges some time later – t-shirt soaked with copper-coloured grime – and pronounces the job done. Oh the joy of having running water once more! We take a look at 17 Emergency Situations When You’ll be Glad You Know a Plumber – and express our gratitude to all those nifty plumbers who keep our modern conveniences in good nick.”
“My toilet is clogged or has a weak flush, it doesn’t always empty the bowl when I flush it….”
The above quote is a very common symptom reported by many clients. Would it surprise you to know that about half of the time the toilet isn’t clogged at all! Take a look at the picture below: Notice the spot marked “trap,” this is the place where water & waste travels on its way to the sewer drain pipe. Technically the toilet is only “clogged” when an obstruction exists inside the trap preventing passage. Note the hollow area around the bowl. When a toilet is flushed, water sitting in the tank rushes into and around these hollow chambers and then enters the bowl via water jets. The main water jet (aka “siphon jet”) is usually at the bottom of the toilet bowl.
An older, poorly performing toilet can have clogged jets and/or obstructed jets preventing the water from entering the bowl as needed. This causes weak flushing toilets & toilet bowls that don’t empty all the way. Additionally, if the water level inside the tank is too low this results in an inadequate amount of water for a proper flush.
An old plumbing trick called “the bucket test” can narrow the possibilities. Simply fill a 5 gallon bucket of water and pour it into the toilet bowl expeditiously. If the toilet bowl revives the water with no problem or back up – it’s more than likely your toilet is in need of repair or replacement. If this is the case call (503) 719-4015 and speak with the pros at Sutherland Plumbing, LLC. We carry as regular stock: premium, high-efficiency 1.28gpf (gallons per flush) toilets on our trucks!
Q: I’ve recently read some articles which say that utility companies, municipal water companies and the treatment plants etc. are “freakin’-out” because folks have started to flush all kinds of pre-moistened towelettes down the toilet. This wasn’t so much of a problem in the past. Apparently these can cause havoc all the way down the plumbing system at the treatment plants. What’s the deal with this? Is it really that bad? Can it affect my plumbing lines or only the municipal systems? Is toilet paper the only thing I should ever flush down the toilet?
A: The short answer is YES the treatment plants are “freaking out!” Unfortunately, this translates into higher rates for everyone because they have to structure & modify their equipment to deal with all of these so-called “flushable” over-the-counter products like wipes, cat litter, female sanitary products etc. The main issue is this stuff does not macerate well like human waste and toilet paper. (Sorry for the visual!) Eventually everything makes it to a pump system or means of mechanically moving, sorting & filtering (the raw sewer). Some of these “wipes” are just short of a cloth rag. Flushable in that it will flush and go down but it’s no good for any part of the system down the line. Plumbers joke around the water cooler about how great these products are for keeping us very busy!!
The flushable cat litter is just as bad or worse because it absorbs a ton of water & swells up. This can cause havoc in the plumbing system!
When I walk down the aisle at the supermarket and see a new flushable product I pause to thank the manufacturer for their patronage. This used to bother me more when I lived in a neighborhood forced to pay sewer rates, but now I have a private septic system.
The Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code addresses this issue: (Oregon plumbing specialty code chapter 3 – 306.1)
“My toilets were clogged in both of my bathrooms. Ti showed-up on time the same day that I called. He fixed both toilets, educated me about current fixtures and recommended specific brands & styles for future installations. Ti replaced aerators in both baths for free. Thanks, nice touch! Ti is our guy from now on. Excellent customer service, respectful of my home and placed shoe covers on shoes! Great attitude and very knowledgeable about the problem and how to fix it. Clean and absolutely professional. Great price and great service, I couldn’t be happier. Thanks again Ti!”
Tracey A – Portland, OR
Don’t just take their word for it – Experience our clean, professional, knowledgeable staff for yourself – Call Sutherland Plumbing at (503) 719-4015!