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Old 01-23-2010, 10:37 AM  
perch98
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Default The Potty Weed - HELP!!

Back in November of 2005, we had issues with our toilet not flushing. We thought it was because the toilet was just old (we had exhausted every other effort). We went out and bought a new toilet, and upon removing the old one, we found a plant whose roots ORIGINATED just under the wax ring. It was growing down into the toilet drain pipe - here is the picture from '05:



Over the past few months, the toilet would drain slowly. We plunged, we snaked, we blew out the clean-out drain with a blow bag - everything. We called a plumber, who used an auger to go down the drain and pulled out some large clumps of gunk... and also told us to replace our wax ring - that it might be old. The toilet flushed for about 24 hours, but when it began to slow again, we went and got the wax ring replacement. Upon removing the toilet to replace the wax ring, there it was AGAIN! This time - more than twice as long! Here is the newly grown potty weed from today:



The coloration in the picture is only different because this time, I used my cell phone to take the picture.

Can anyone tell me WHAT plant grows away from light and how to kill it permanently? Has anyone ever heard of this before? Is there any kind of "professional weed person" who I can ask? I have searched the Internet and keep coming up blank.



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Old 01-25-2010, 09:30 AM  
SJNServices
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AAAAHHHHHH!!! Try using explosives!



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Old 01-25-2010, 09:34 AM  
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Actually, I just remembered somebody that was cleaning out their birdcage and dumping stuff in the sink. Well what do you know, some of the birdseed germinated and started growing. Since you've replaced the toilet I would just make sure that you get all of the wax ring off, give it a very thorough cleaning and soak everything with Round Up. And if that bugger grows back, then use explosives.

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Old 01-27-2010, 07:05 PM  
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I would take both of those pictures down to the Department of Botany at your local University. If you explain the circumstances the plant was growing in, one of the profs of grad students would at least know what family of plants it belongs to. And, I don't think it's unreasonable that they'd be able to identify the species itself and how it most likely came to be growing in your toilet's drain pipe.

I think you're dealing with some sort of sea weed there. But, that's just a guess. The first picture shows that the plant is green, and that's a clear indication that it relies on photosynthesis for energy. But, I'm not a botanist. Maybe some plants can survive without sunlight providing they get all the nutrients they need to grow from other sources.

I notice in the second picture that you removed the toilet tank and bowl together.

I know people do that, but I think you should be aware that it's much easier and safer to remove the tank from the bowl, and then remove the bowl from the floor flange. Then, reinstallation of the toilet goes in the reverse order; you put the bowl on first, and then the tank.

That way, when you're re-installing the toilet, it's easier to thread the bowl over the bolts sticking up from the floor flange. That's cuz your view isn't blocked by the tank, and you have much better control over moving a lighter weight than a heavier one.

If you're starting into DIY stuff, I'd learn to separate the tank from the bowl so that you can remove each piece separately. That will make this job easier in future.

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Old 01-28-2010, 12:12 AM  
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Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
I would take both of those pictures down to the Department of Botany at your local University. If you explain the circumstances the plant was growing in, one of the profs of grad students would at least know what family of plants it belongs to. And, I don't think it's unreasonable that they'd be able to identify the species itself and how it most likely came to be growing in your toilet's drain pipe.

I think you're dealing with some sort of sea weed there. But, that's just a guess. The first picture shows that the plant is green, and that's a clear indication that it relies on photosynthesis for energy. But, I'm not a botanist. Maybe some plants can survive without sunlight providing they get all the nutrients they need to grow from other sources.

I notice in the second picture that you removed the toilet tank and bowl together.

I know people do that, but I think you should be aware that it's much easier and safer to remove the tank from the bowl, and then remove the bowl from the floor flange. Then, reinstallation of the toilet goes in the reverse order; you put the bowl on first, and then the tank.

That way, when you're re-installing the toilet, it's easier to thread the bowl over the bolts sticking up from the floor flange. That's cuz your view isn't blocked by the tank, and you have much better control over moving a lighter weight than a heavier one.

If you're starting into DIY stuff, I'd learn to separate the tank from the bowl so that you can remove each piece separately. That will make this job easier in future.
No need for any of that....

Cut the roots back to make room for the flange repair
Copper Sulfate applied to the remaining roots between the pipe and the concrete,
Then fix the leaking flange...
problem solved....

A better picture of the busted flange will get you more precise answers on how to fix the flange.

Real plumbers take the toilet off and put it back on with the tank attached to the bowl...
In fact when I install a new toilet I put the tank on the bowl before mounting the toilet...
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:13 PM  
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No need for any of that....
Real plumbers take the toilet off and put it back on with the tank attached to the bowl...
In fact when I install a new toilet I put the tank on the bowl before mounting the toilet...
...and that is how real tileguys do it too. In thirty three years this is the first time I have ever heard anyone suggest taking the unit apart to remove it.

I wouldn't recommend it.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:06 PM  
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...and that is how real tileguys do it too. In thirty three years this is the first time I have ever heard anyone suggest taking the unit apart to remove it.

I wouldn't recommend it.
As long as we're on the subject: If you drop a toilet on a hard surface and it shatters then razor-sharp heavy pieces go flying everywhere at high speed.
Any of you guys know someone who was cut this way?
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:10 AM  
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As long as we're on the subject: If you drop a toilet on a hard surface and it shatters then razor-sharp heavy pieces go flying everywhere at high speed.
Any of you guys know someone who was cut this way?
No, I don't drop them unless they are flying out of my truck on a high arcing trajectory into the dumpster at the shop. I'm out of the way when that happens.
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:16 PM  
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Real plumbers take the toilet off and put it back on with the tank attached to the bowl...
OK, I don't want to make a major issue out of this, but...

I talked to a plumber who I've known for years, and he says you're right that plumbers always used to remove the tank and bowl together, but the reason is because of a difference in the tank-to-bowl hardware that was commonly used years ago.

And, I'm convinced he's right.

What he's telling me is that until about 20 years ago, the tank-to-bowl hardware that was provided with Crane and American Standard toilets didn't allow you to take the tank off the bowl without removing all the water from the tank first. Otherwise, whatever water was still in the tank would come spilling out the bolt holes.

Those old tank-to-bowl kits looked like this:



or this for some toilets:



and were meant to be used like this:



With those old tank-to-bowl kits, it was the tightening of the nut under the top of the toilet bowl that compressed the rubber washer inside the tank.

So, if you loosened the nuts under the top of the toilet bowl to remove the tank, the water tight seal around the rubber washers would be lost and any water still in the tank would come spilling out the bolt holes. So, plumbers would shut off the water to the toilet, flush it and then remove the tank and the bowl together to avoid having to take the time to get all of the water out of the tank. With the water shut off, there would only be a little water left in both the tank and the bowl after the flush anyhow.

Nowadays, most tank-to-bowl kits come with an extra washer and "jam nut" (which is a nut that's half the thickness of a normal hex nut) to be installed between the tank and the bowl like this:



...so that the tank can be removed even if there's still some water in it, and the rubber washers remain compressed so there's no concern they'll leak when the tank is put back on the bowl.

I'll leave it up to the people in here to decide for themselves how to take their toilets off and put them back on. I guess there's no right or wrong way to do that, but if the above explanation is correct, then there's no reason any more to do it the harder way.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:00 AM  
Redwood
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Nestor,
It's just a totally unnecessary step that adds T&M cost to the job.
If that's what you like to do then keep on doing it, but I wouldn't offer it to others as legitimate advice...



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