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What to flush down an Eichler toilet?

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: May 28 2003

The Roto Rooter man visited friends of ours, who also live in an Eichler, and he told them not to flush anything down their toilet, except toilet paper.

That is, there are lots of cloth wipes, cleaners, ... that say "flushable" on the box; however, the advice was that anything that is not plain old-fashioned toilet paper should not go down the toilet. This was espcially true for a house with "old" plumbing, such as an Eichler (perhaps the issue was that the pipes were narrower than the pipes in newer houses?).

I was also told by a Roto Rooter person that if they ever clean your pipes and see that mud comes out, this means that there is a crack in your pipes - at which point they are required to notify the "authorities" (city or someone) that you have a crack in your pipe. Then, you need to start digging up your house until the pipes are repaired. Again, this advice came with an Eichler warning - i.e. your Eichler pipes are old and every time you call a company like Roto Rooter, you risk being tagged with a "cracked pipe".

So... any advice on the advice I've been given? Are Eichler pipes more fragile than others? Should one ignore the word "flushable" on these products?


Joined: Mar 16 2005

Eichler, in my lexicon, means outdoor-in architecture with suspect construction methods and decisions. The Eichler story also included working with building regulators for its different style of construction, but I would find it hard to believe that Eichler was permitted to build infrastructure that was different than code or customary.

I assume Eichlers, when it came to plumbing & electrical, reflected building standards then in effect (although the post & beam construction & atriums & radiant heating presented challenges that haunt owners years later). On this premise, Eichlers should not differ from, say, ranch houses built during the same period, so if flushables should not be flushed, then neighboring non-Eichler houses should have a similar limittaion - - Eichlers shouldn't be singled out.

With regard to other comments by the Roto-Rooter guy, city-by-city code requirements differ enough that most qualified contrators won't say unless they look it up.

Joined: Mar 30 2003

We have had some trouble with drains backing up and the issue seems to be the angle of the pipes. Because there is no crawl space our pipes run nearly horizontally away from the house. We don't have the assistance of gravity in moving "flushables" through the pipes. We've also had problems in the kitchen area for the same reason - grease and bits of food can build up more easily. We use an enzyme product once a month to help keep the drains clear (when I remember to do it).


Castro Valley

Joined: Jan 4 2004

Hi Ed,
Everything this guy told you is pure speculation, unless he scoped you sewer lateral with a camera (which usually runs about $200-$300), and if you have a sewer service scope the lines, get a video, and make sure the tech marks on you property:
location of connection to city sewer
This sevrice is used to evaluate the condition of the sewer lateral, type of material used (the original sewer lines in your area wer either clay pipe or a product called "orangeburg". Unfortunately, both materials are subject to root intrusion, have poor resistance to ground movement/ settling, and often need frequent servicing or replacement.
We use the sewer camera service usually locate the sewer main (and evaluate the condition) prior to adding a bathroom, as it is unwise to tie into
any part of the system other than the main, as it could result in failure down the road. My suggestion: dont flush tutrtles down the toilet, wait until the next blockage, and have the camera service performed prior to having the tech clear the blockage.
Replacing a sewer lateral can take a minumum of 2 days (even with a back hoe) and I have seen them cost thousands, depending on how long the run, the impact to landscape/hardscape, depth, and a few other factors.
There are a few companies that use a hydraulic ram that breaks apart the existing sewer lines, then they follow the ram with a sleeve of poly something plastic. I have heard good and bad things (some building depts. don't allow this material, if the existing lines don't have the required 1/4"/ft slope, niether will the plastic pipe sleeving in the old pipes) but it can be much less expensive, cause less "site trauma" to finshes, concrete, landscaping, etc. and usually takes less time. Email me if you want a referral for a camera guy (you can call my cell ph if you still have the #, there are problems with my office phone right now). good luck.


Joined: Aug 12 2004

Just don't flush anything down a sewer line other than sewage.

It's not a garbage can.

Both bad for our environment, but fact of life.

But manage it properly.

Garbage does not belong in a sewage plant and just addes loading to
an already over loaded system.

Garbage belongs in the garbage can and the land fill it ends up in.

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