Lazy flush

In the learn something new every day category:

Our home is about 25 years old and the toilets are at least 10 years old (that’s how long we have been in it). Recently two of them developed lazy flushing, where the water sort of swirls around but does not flush completely. It does not back up and overflow just flushes poorly. Since we have a home warranty and I don’t have a closet auger, I called the warranty plumber out. He augured both but that did not help. He declared they were flushing slowly due to a restriction of the internal trap caused by scale build up and they should be replaced. He also said that the warranty company would not cover replacement due to scale build up. (I called them and he was right, they don’t). He said I could try muriatic acid to clean the scale out before forking over for new toilets.

So I did some Googleing and came across which verified that muriatic acid may help in some cases. But it also has lots of info on lazy flushes caused by “blue goo”. Those are the blue cakes you put in the toilet to make the water clean and pretty blue. My wife had put those in our toilets a few weeks ago. I was skeptical but I cleaned out all the blue goo, ran a clothes hanger thru the rim jets for good measure and presto! Full and complete flushes again! Didn’t even have to do the muriatic acid treatment. Warn your clients when you see the blue toilet water.

edit addition: The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. The problem of the lazy flush was not caused by restricted water leaving the bowl, but by a slowed flow of water entering the bowl thru the small rim jets. Increased viscosity caused by the blue additives slowed the flow enough to prevent the siphoning action from starting. Wish I had thought of that before I spent the home warranty deductible fee. Oh well, at least it wasn’t the full cost of a plumber visit. God bless the internet! Thanks Al Gore for inventing it.:mrgreen:




That Blue Goo tablets also melt and float down across the tank and prevent the flushometer valve from seating properly and runs all the time, but you see some nice blue colored water.

I told my wife, after her complaining that the toilet was running all the time, that if she liked the blue water to buy a quart of blue food coloring to put in the tank. At least that way I would not get my hands stained blue for a week.

Marcel LOL :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

It will also void most toilet warentees.


**One of the toilets in my home also had this same symptom of slow or incomplete flushes. I took a screw driver and and reamed out the jets under the bowl rim and the jet at the bottom. Worked like a charm. Be careful not to damage the china. Turns out that my water softener had stopped working and the jets built up with calcium and reduced their flow rate. The way to test this is with a 5 gallon bucket. fill it have full and dump it in the bowl. If it flushes normally look for a water flow rate problem entering into the bowl.

Fluuuuuuuuuushhhhhhh, gurgle, gurgle.

Lime away down the over flow tub does the trick.
Hard water build up gone .
Roy Cooke sr .

I know but I don’t like putting acids into my septic system. It kills the little critters that are doing all the work.

Does your water softener go into your septic .
Salt is a sterilizer and it to kills your bed may be a lot more then people realize.

If allowed I recommend a Dutch well for the salt back flush.
Roy Cooke Sr ,…

Yes, but…

Do Water Softeners Hurt Septic Tanks?
I’m frequently asked whether water softeners have any adverse effects on the operation of household septic tank/absorption field systems. There are three main questions.

  1. Is the softener’s salt brine toxic to the septic tank’s bacteria?
  2. Does the liquid flow rate produced during the softener’s regeneration cycle upset the septic tank digestion process and carry over solids into the absorption field?
  3. Will the sodium in the brine cause some soils to swell and reduce the water percolation rate through the soil?
    Studies by the University of Wisconsin (UW) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) provide some good news. The answers are (1) no, (2) no, and (3) no.
    UW and the NSF found that the increased sodium in the softened water was actually helpful to the bacterial organisms in the septic tank, and did not hurt the soil’s ability to absorb water in a normal absorption field. The volume of softener backwash during regeneration was easily within the limits of what the septic tank could handle. An automatic washer would pose a greater threat to the septic tank than a water softener. The calcium-rich backwash acted similar to gypsum, which is a high-calcium mineral long used to increase the porosity of clay soils.
    Keep in mind that an undersized septic tank and/or excessive use of drain cleaners or household antiseptic products are more likely to disrupt the normal operation of a septic tank/absorption field.

Me again- Besides “gray water” systems are not allowed in many areas.

Thanks for the info . I have heard that a person who has had chemo can seriously effect the septic system ? Any thoughts
Roy Cooke sr ,…

I have no idea about that. :frowning:

I too have read something about chemo and antibiotic treatments that suggested they can have negative impacts on the septic system critters. The way I read the article was, that long term and/or frequent use is where problems can occur.

AB’s as well as most medications don’t get fully metabolized in the body and end up being evacuated one way or another. Since AB’s are indiscriminate in what they kill, they will kill the beneficial bacteria in the the septic system. Excess use of bleach and other cleansers were also cited as problems.

I think I got that from the Pennsylvania Septic folks or from a University or other source in Minnesota.

Back to lazy flushes, I guess I will try the ream out the jets trick, I tried the acid method and it did nothing. A client said to try turning off the water, dry out under the rim, put duct tape over the holes to seal things up, then pour vinegar into the tank and flush. This lets the vinegar stay in contact with the mineral deposits longer. He did say it may take a few tries. The upside is that vinegar is not a strong acid so damage to plumbing components is less likely.