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Question DetailsAsked on 2/23/2017

toilet bowl does not fill completely

Water was shut off by the city to repair a water main in the neighborhood. When restored I noticed that the bowl did not fill as normal after flushing, however the tank level was the same as before with no change. Also after this when you flush the toilet there is bubbling in the bottom before emptying.

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Coincidence ? If the tank is refilling as normal, then you are getting water to the toilet from the water supply OK, so water source as a cause is out.


Bubbling in the bottom of the toilet commonly means a line blockage somewhere, causing air to back up to the toilet trap from the sewer line as it fills with liquid after a flush. I guess if the toilet was used when the water was off (so if did not have a full tank and incompletely flushed the solids) you might have a blockage somewhere in the line - try a few buckets of fully hot water with a bit of liquid dish soap in it poured down the toilet, trying to keep the fluid level close to the underside of the rim so there is significant pressure on it, and see if that stops the gurgling. [Watching of course that it is not backing up at other drains when you do this, due to a blockage down the line]. If the water flows down rapidly and flushes well, then problem is downstream, not at the toilet. If the toilet bowl starts filling up right away rapidly without flushing out, then blockage is at or very near the toilet. If flow initially goes out rapidly but then as the bucket of water is poured in starts backing up, then likely in the drain lines close to but a bit downstream of the toilet - or IF this toilet is lowest drain in the house, could be a plugged sewer line to the street.


I guess they might have (if they were working right at or near your line connection area) damaged the sewer line from your house to the street sewer, so you have a partial blockage there.


Also - if the work was right at your place, and you do not have any significant frost penetration in your area, if heavy equipment drove over the sewer line in your yard it MIGHT have crushed it if real shallow - but that would be a rarity.


Another possibility - if they were working down the street (downflow direction on the sewer line), they might have damaged the sewer main and are causing a backup of sewage - though that should cause a rapid worsening of the problem and start sewage backup at the lowest drain in the house real quickly unless you are basically at the head end of the street sewer line.


If this toilet is the lowest elevation gravity (ignoring any on lift pumps) drain in the house then blocked main sewer line is possible - if there are lower drains that are not backing up or gurgling when the toilet is flushed, then is most likely a partial blockage just at that toilet or in the line just downstream of it.


If you cannot solve it with hot water or a toilet plunger, then you have the option of calling a Drain Cleaning company, or a Plumber. (The former will have equipment to reach to the street with cleaning, plumbers sometimes but commonly only clean drain lines internal to the house). Drain Cleaning companies can also bring a camera (commonly agree to not charge anything for that if not needed on the job) so if there is an issue in the line that they cannot clean out easily, or is indicative of a broken line or such, they can do a camera run while there and see what and where the problem is.


You could ask neighbors if they are having any sewer issues since the work was done - that might give a clue as to whether the problem is in the street or not - and also give ammo to give the utility to convince them it is their problem to solve.


Other option, though I doubt success unless you first have a drain cleaning company run the line and prove it is a backup from them (or that they crushed your line), would be to contact the water utility and try to convince them this is not coincidental with their work, and try to get them to pay for it to be remedied. A long shot, in my opinion.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD




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