Slow running toilet that is NOT clogged

hello folks, this is my first post on this forum. One of my toilets has been running slow. The water just gurgles around without sucking the gunk in. The is no blockage and I know this because I have done all the blockage tests - poured gallons of water in it. Pumped it with the vacuum pump (I think that's what it is called). Run a snake (that I bought from Lowes) through it. I have also adjusted the water in the tank by bringing it up to the max level. But still no luck. On some rare days, the water gets sucked down the way it should. On most days, it does not. What can be the problem? Do I need to change the toilet? The make it American Standard and its only 4-5 years old.
  18 answers
  • Sherleen Z Sherleen Z on Jun 17, 2013
    perhaps your drain field is blocked, pertinent only if you have a septic tank.

  • Bar Bar on Jun 17, 2013
    No septic tank in my house. Thanks S.

  • Welcome to your first post Barr, Is the flapper closing to soon? If so not enough water is flowing into the tank to make it flush properly would be my first guess If it is working as it should what happens If you dump a four gallon bucket of water directly into the tank at one time? Does the water go down as it should or does it work a bit better? IF not there can be only two things else that would be wrong. One is the vent to the toilet might be plugged. IF there is another toilet located above this one, they may share the same pipe which works both as a vent and drain. So check that first, even if there is nothing above, check your vent on the roof for blockage. A blocked vent often prevents drain water both in sinks and toilets from draining as fast as it should. Sort of a suction builds up causing the water in the toilet to glub glub as it is trying to get air to allow it to drain down past the toilet into the main drain. The 2nd thing that can cause this is something further down the drain that the snake has not got to. If the main drain is partly blocked air pressure builds up within the drain as the large amount of water that is flushed at one time pushes down the pipe. The result is sort of a push back because of the air pressure that builds up with in the pipe. You may need to have a professional come in and use a camera in the drain line to see if that is the case. This partly blocked pipe can be just settlement of the main line filling with water and acting like a large trap. If you have a newer toilet with low gallon flush, there is not enough water leaving the toilet to push against a larger quantity of water sitting inside the drain pipe past the house but before the road connection.

  • Carol Norment Carol Norment on Jun 18, 2013
    I'm thinking it sounds like a 'venting issue'- especially the gurgling-

  • Plumbrite Plumbrite on Jun 18, 2013
    is the refill tube in the overflow. are you using the blue tablets in the tank, i have had it were they clog up the jets under the rim, you will need to clean them, and stop using the blocks.

  • L. Ison L. Ison on Jun 18, 2013
    I am not a plumber but if you have hard water, it will clog in the little holes around the rim where the water comes into the bowl. I use an allen wrench to get the gunk out and this does the trick.

  • All of the responses above could be the problem, time to call a plumber. You do say "one of my toilets", guess you have at least one more. Are they on the same stack? Are the toilets the same, if so, watch one then the other, what's different?

  • A1tec service A1tec service on Jun 18, 2013
    well one thing do you have child in your home if so a toy will slow water down

  • I had a toilet that the woman of the house had dropped a small compact mirror in the toilet. What happened was the mirror got stuck in the u bend of the toilet and acted like a flapper. When the toilet was flushed the flapper would close and the toilet would fill with water and overflow. When the snake was put into the toilet to clear the clog, the mirror would tilt at an angle opening up and allow the water to drain and the snake to move down into the pipe. when the snake was in the toilet it would flush fine. Remove the snake, the the mirror would flap closed again and the toilet would overflow when it was flushed. We removed the toilet checked everything. Put it back and the same thing occurred. Until we decided to replace the toilet did we realize once we broke the toilet open that the mirror was the cause all the time. So strange things can happen so do not rule anything out when checking on how your toilet is working.

  • Jardenia Robinson Jardenia Robinson on Jun 19, 2013
    My basement t

  • A1tec service A1tec service on Jun 19, 2013
    two days ago i win on a call with the same think found out that the lady had been take meds that made her waste be very hard and was staying in the u bend we snake it five time but didnt help it we had to remove the toilet and hand clean some of it then pressure wash it out that clear out toilet now it work as good as the day it was new

  • Leanore Masi Leanore Masi on Jun 19, 2013
    I just had the same problem the other day (again with only one of my toilets). I mentioned it to my husband . . . he flushed after removing the tank lid and then turned the water flow knob under the tank. Problem immediately solved. Apparently one of my "darlings" had fiddled with it. Don't know if you've tried that already - if not, it could be the answer.

  • H.O. Electric H.O. Electric on Jun 19, 2013
    See if your vent stack is clogged on the roof. Maybe you have a birds nest stuck in it.

  • Gar188936 Gar188936 on Jun 22, 2013
    G&P RootRaiders Plumbing- You have most of the answers, The rim hols need to be cleaned, and there is one jet hole that you may be able to see or it is just inside where to water goes out it must be open, it is about the size of you first finger if that don't work some one could have broken a small piece of the toilet inside the bowl when using a closet auger. if that is the case you will need a new toilet. Good Luck I hope this helps.

  • Bar Bar on Jun 26, 2013
    The only thing I haven't checked is the vent on the roof. I will look into that and report back...Thank you all for your help!!

  • Vel1629730 Vel1629730 on Jun 22, 2015
    Sounds like it might be a stoppage in the main line...I have been having the same issue. Dont know if the snakes from the home imp store are long enough to get to the problem...I had to break down and call the plumber. He went from the clean out in the front yard and found the problem was in the yard near the street...may be roots from the yard. In any case, If you house is older (mine is 50 yrs) your pipes are probably pretty rough inside and this will be an ongoing issue.

  • Vel1629730 Vel1629730 on Jun 22, 2015
    Plumber can also run a camera down the line to see if there are obstructions or a broken or displaced waste pipe.

  • Patricia Swinford Patricia Swinford on Oct 23, 2015
    We have a gurling sound when 1 toilet is flushed could it be the vent on the roof making it like that, because we had a clean out a while back ?