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Low-Flow Toilets May Not Work in Your Home – Boston, Worcester

15 Jan 2014

Many homes around Boston and Worcester are older homes. Today, more and more homeowners are interested in saving money and resources, which has people investigating low-flow toilets. Older homes were built assuming that toilets would use more than 3 gallons of water for flushing. Today’s low-flow toilets use 1.6 gallons.

If you are considering changing to a more efficient toilet, keep in mind that there is a chance the plumbing in your older home may not be sufficient.

The pipes that take waste away from your toilet and your home need to slope between 1/8-in. and 1/4-in. per foot for the water to carry solid waste to the sewer. If the pipes are too steep or too level, the flow of water allows waste to collect in the pipe and that means you could get clogged toilets. Some old homes may even have a “negative slope” where water stands in the pipe. With a negative slope the waste is carried away only by the force of gallons of water flowing through the pipes because you have an older toilet that uses several gallons of water.

Here are a couple signs that your plumbing may not work for low-flow toilets:

  • The original toilet occasionally clogs, even when not flushing solids. This could be the toilet or a clogged waste pipe.
  • After lifting the toilet off the floor you see standing water in the waste line. That is a sign that your pipes have a negative slope.

In both scenarios a professional plumber can fix the problem. If your plumber says your plumbing may not work for a low-flow toilet, consider having a fixture with a pressure-assisted flush installed. When the toilet is flushed compressed air is released that forces the water out of the bowl and forcing it down the drain.

For  more information on if your home can handle a low flow toilet, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

Plumbing Problems Are Caused by Flushable Wipes – Boston, Worcester

12 Sep 2013

There is a fairly new product on the market in the tissue and paper supplies section of the grocery store: flushable wipes. Folks, flushable wipes don’t exist. In fact, these so-called flushable wipes, which are becoming more and more popular are wreaking havoc in commercial and residential plumbing, causing headaches for homeowners and plumbers.

'Flushable' wipes are causing very expensive problems for homeowners and plumbers who are stuck with the clogged pipes and their results.  Increasing calls to plumbers are about clogged pipes and plumbing problems and it appears towel wipes are to blame.

These flushable wipes are flushable in so much as they do go down the drain when the toilet is flushed. However, once they disappear down the drain, they go on to cause considerable problems in pipes and sewer systems where they clog pipes, jam pumps, and cause blockages.

These new type of wipes are marketed as being sewer-, septic-, and plumbing-safe .They aren’t, they just go down the drain. They’re not biodegradable and they cause pipe clogs and stoppages.

In the meantime, the Federal Trade Commission is apparently looking into the dubious “flushable” label and wipes manufacturers are working to develop products that “reduce wear and tear on sewer systems and septic tanks.” (

Do yourself a favor and stop buying and flushing flushable wipes. However, if you find yourself with a plumbing problem, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.