Poo-Pourri – Answering Your Basic Toilet Plumbing Questions

We get a lot of questions at Lee Plumbing about basic toilet plumbing functions. Mechanical functions – not bodily functions; we’ll leave those to your gastroenterologist. Our expertise has more to do with stainless steel or PVC piping than intestinal movements. But plumbing questions are important – there is nothing more frustrating than dealing with an avoidable plumbing issue.

Some people may be amused at what others ask. That’s ok – there really is no question we cannot answer. The answer may surprise you. If you are unsure about anything plumbing related, contact us. We can help.

Oh crap. Some of the most common questions we get involve toilet clogs. We don’t want to scare the poop out of you, but trying to flush things not intended for flushing can cause a real stink. Without getting too graphic, it is important for you to remember what your commode is made for and when to use the trash, instead.

  • Disposable Paper Products? No. The most asked question is “can you flush Kleenex”? No, no, no. Facial tissue is not made to be flushed. Neither are paper towels. Even though bathroom wipes (often referred to as “adult wipes”) are marketed to be “flushable”, don’t do it. These wipes are causing sewer system clogs across America. In fact, there is a city in Minnesota that is suing the manufacturer due to the havoc it as wreaked on the entire sewer system.
  • Small, Seemingly Insignificant Disposables? Nope. Don’t put condoms in the toilet; even though they are small, they create havoc for sewer systems. In addition, your latrine is no place to dispose of cigarette butts, prescription medications (these contaminate groundwater and have terrible environmental consequences), feminine products, cotton swabs or balls, band aids, dental floss, kitty litter, diapers (poop-filled or otherwise), or fat/grease/oil. None of these items should be flushed down your toilet – for your own good and for the good of your community.
  • Bodily Waste? ✓ Flush away! The easiest way to think about it is, if it doesn’t come out of your body or off of a toilet paper roll, don’t flush it. And don’t forget our motto – “A good flush beats a full house any day!”.
  • Uh, oh! Toys in the Toilet!  Every so often, people will call with an emergency involving a child flushing a toy down the toilet. Generally speaking, if you can see the item, you can probably retrieve it. Some people go a little further and drain the bowl to look with a mirror. Again, if you can see the item and get ahold of it, you can probably get it. Whether it is still fit for your child to play with is another question. If you can’t see it at all there is a good chance it is gone forever. If it’s small, it is likely that it will not create clogging issues. Larger toys can create bigger problems, in which case, it is best that you give us a call and let one of our plumbers clear the item for you.
  • Drain Liquids? Sometimes people want to know how and if they should use drain products. Take caution, these are very caustic. If you do use them, be sure you do not try to do any pipe maintenance when they were recently used. We recommend a pot of boiling water over caustic chemicals as a better solution to regular toilet maintenance.
  • Running Toilets?  Toilets that don’t quit running result in many calls to our office. These are usually simple fixes that can be accomplished by the homeowner. Nine times out of 10, the flap at the bottom of the tank isn’t sealing properly. If it doesn’t seal, the float ball will never rise to the fill line and shut off the water. If you cannot get it to seal with a little wiggling, you might want to call and have us install some new internal toilet pieces that will have your toilet running smoothly again.

Whatever your question, we at Lee Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric are at your service 24/7. Our professional tradespeople have seen it all – there are few questions we cannot answer. So whether you are wondering about some smelly situation with your toilet or have a question about your garbage disposal, Lee Plumbing is the place to go for quick answers. Contact us. We are happy to be of service.