Archive for the 'Toilets' Category

Choosing The Right Toilet

Jun. 29th 2012

Toilets are toilets, right? Everybody needs to use one about every day, so as long as they do what they were designed for, what is all the fuss about choosing one over another? A toilet by any other name would smell – the same, wouldn’t it?

How often do people get to choose their toilets, anyway? Generally, we buy a house, and it’s got a toilet in one of the rooms, or maybe more. But there do arise times when you may want to renovate a bathroom, and you consider the possibility of replacing the fixtures, include the toilet. You may even be building your dream house, and though it has been designed to include a toilet or two, there is a great opportunity to have a say concerning which toilet is installed. And of course, it is possible that you have cracked your toilet, or your elderly mother has moved into your home, or your family has gotten too big for one little toilet.

OK, so maybe the need to choose a new toilet is not so rare an occurrence. And if you have that choice before you today, there is a good bit to know before venturing out to your neighborhood home improvement center.

It might seem to you that even though there are differences in appearance between different toilets, they all seem pretty much the same. Are there important differences that don’t meet the casual observer’s eye? Is it fine simply to pick the one that you think best matches the decor of your bathroom? It may be, but it’s wise to narrow the list down a little before letting the decision rest on that factor alone. So, what are all the considerations that should be made in forming an educated opinion?

For most people, price is an important factor. Many assume that as the price of an item increases, its quality improves. In the world of toilets, this is far from certain. Low price toilets can potentially perform as well as some very expensive ones. And the features we will look into here will show you how.

The first distinction to be made is on the basis of the three major types of toilets. Numerous examples can be found of each of these types that function comparably:

Gravity-fed toilets – these are those with a tank mounted above the bowl (one-piece or two), and when the handle is pressed, the water rushes in from the rim or the siphon-jet (the small hole under the water in front of the drain), or both. This rush of water “pushes” the bowl contents into the drain.

Vacuum toilets – these suck the air from behind the trap, creating a vacuum which the bowl’s contents rushes to fill. This “pulls” the waste into the drain. Vacuum-assisted models combines the two methods, for a simultaneous “push” and “pull”.

Gravity toilets have a smaller water surface deeper in the bowl. This can mean that they get dirtier than the vacuum type.

Pressure-assisted toilets – these are quite distinct in appearance and in sound. Pressurized water is released from a sealed mechanism located in the tank to overwhelm the bowl’s contents and send it scurrying into the drain. The process is rather loud, and the mechanism requires a larger tank. These require a minimum household water pressure, so if you are considering one of these, check with the manufacturer or sales representative. Additionally, there are no user-serviceable parts in this toilet, so if that is an issue, scratch this one off your list.

Another clear distinction between toilets is their shape. The so-called “standard” shape is fairly round, while the other common shape is an elongated circle. This distinction is primarily according to taste, but there are some who maintain that the round bowl is suited to a better “vortex” for flushing –the swirling action of the water within the bowl that helps accomplish a more complete flush.

But the characteristics of the toilet which make a measurable difference are the diameter of the flush valve (the hole through which water leaves the tank) and the trap size (diameter of the trap, through which water leaves the bowl) A larger flush valve delivers water faster and more forcefully, and a larger trap can move a greater amount of waste without clogging. These numbers are not mutually exclusive – you can look for a toilet with large diameters of both of these openings. This is a more important consideration for homes built during or before the 1950′s, because the commonly used 4-inch cast iron waste pipe has a rough inner surface and requires either a large amount of water or fast-moving water to wash the waste completely out of the soil pipe.

Some might long for the days when we could flush 5 gallons of water into our toilets and walk away knowing that whatever we just put in there is long gone. Some recall the bad and inefficient products that hit the market when the current 1.6 gallon per flush standard first became Federal law. But what has not made much press is that innovation has stepped into the void and confusion, and the products we have today are as efficient and successful with 1.6 gallons (and some with even less) as our old ones were with 5 gallons.

You can buy toilets with concealed mechanisms (located behind a wall), toilets which hang from the wall, or floor-standing models, all using any of the three flushing methods. All manufacturers offer models which provide greater accessibility for handicapped persons as well. The major consideration which may limit any of your options is the space you have available for installation. Make sure you know the square footage of usable space and, especially, the rough-in measurement. This is the distance from the wall (ignoring the baseboard) to the center of the drain.

Lastly, the color of your toilet can add substantially to its cost. A typical manufacturer adds 60% – 70% to the cost of a white toilet to produce a colored toilet.

When you have narrowed your list considerably and are ready to go out shopping, be sure to check with Consumer Reports. They have an excellent buying guide that is worth your review.

Posted by plumber | in Plumbers, Toilets, Water Savers | No Comments »

Dual Flush Toilets

May. 7th 2012

When you’re looking for the ultimate efficiency in a toilet, you’re motivated by more than just getting yourself the best looking or fastest flushing toilet on the market. Water efficiency, as well as a long lifetime of service, ought to uppermost on your mind. The drain on your water resources, as well as the drain on your budget, will also weight heavily on your mind. When you need the best, you’ve got to be prepared to spend a bit more to get it. Remember, when you’re thinking about installing a toilet in your home, you need it to be there and in tip top shape for the long haul!

So, when you’re in search of the best, most efficient toilet that can be found on the modern market place, look no further than a dual flush toilet! A dual flush toilet is essentially a variation on the old tried and true 19th century flush toilet. Dual flush toilets use two separate, adjoining handles, to flush down two different, succeeding, levels of water. Dual flush toilets were first developed in Australia by the inventor and plumbing expert Bruce Thompson. Since its invention in 1993, the latest models have managed to cut water usage nearly in half. This has been a major breakthrough in water efficiency, with a natural reduction effect on the average water bill for families who make use of them.

In fact, today’s latest dual flush toilets have been clinically tested and scientifically proven to reduce 67% of water usage in homes that employ them. Of course, as noted above, the somewhat more complicated structure of dual flush toilets means that they will cost more to purchase and install in your home. However, this initial expenditure is more than offset by the resulting benefits that accrue during the succeeding twenty or thirty years of constant savings when it comes to water resources and utility bills.

Although modern 21st century dual flush toilets are a logical successor to the traditional Western flush toilet, they differ in several respects from the old fashioned design of siphon flush toilets. For one thing, dual flush toilets rely on the natural force of downward gravity to flush and disperse waste. Chiefly due to its dual flush mechanism, this modern brand of toilet dispenses with the traditional siphoning action, which thus enables it to use a great deal less water in performing its removal action.

Essentially, dual flush toilets perform their waste removal functions on the same basic principles as airplane toilets. The water line in a modern dual flush toilet will prove to be considerably lower than in a traditional single flush toilet. Again, this is due to the removal of the siphoning function. Less water used means less water wasted. As noted above, the dual flush toilet has two levers which release the water. These levers output water in two separate capacities: 0.8 gallons and 1.6 gallons. The smaller, 0.8 gallon, lever has been specifically designed to flush away liquids, while the larger, 1.6 gallon, is utilized to remove solids. The dual flush toilet makes use of a large, double shuttered, trap mechanism, which is designed to allow water to emerge more quickly and thus clean the bowl in more efficient fashion.

The advantages accruing from the purchase and installation of a modern, fully equipped, dual flush toilet ought to be obvious to even the most casual or jaded reader. To begin with, the estimated 67% savings in one’s family water utility bill ought to be enough to warrant the initial outlay of funds. And since dual flush toilets have been proven to possess a lifetime of thirty to forty years’ service, that’s an awful lot of service and savings to consider!

Of course, there are even more factors that ought to be considered. For one thing, with water in increasingly short supply all over the world, one’s consumption of this precious liquid ought not to be taken lightly. There are millions of gallons being wasted even as you read this sentence. Dual flush toilets, because they make much less use of water to begin with, are thus inherently more environmentally friendly than the standard, old fashioned, single flush model. When you’re consciously attempting to reduce not only your home’s carbon foot print, but also the drain you place on the nation’s supply of clean, fresh, water, a dual flush toilet seems to be the logical choice.

Conservation of energy, including water, ought to uppermost on everyone’s mind, and dual flush toilets are an excellent addition in the fight against energy waste. This issue is especially pertinent in the United States, where it is estimated that, by the year 2013, an estimated 36 states will be in the grip of a chronic water shortage. Get your dual flush toilet now, and be better prepared to deal with this swiftly oncoming crisis. Just as a passing example, a family of seven can save up to 49 gallons of water a day, simply by switching to a modern dual flush toilet. $9 gallons of water per day, over the course of an entire year, eventually equals 18,000 gallons. That’s nearly the size of an official Olympic swimming pool. If for no other reason, isn’t it better to be at least a tiny part of the solution, rather than just another part of the problem?

It’s also a fact that the average American family household spends roughly 1.5% of its budget on water and sewage utility bills. If that family were equipped with a dual flush toilet that could save that 18,000 gallons of water from being wasted every year, it would make for a considerable amount of money saved. Imagine being able to finally go on that long wished for Hawaiian or Australian vacation, thanks in large part to the savings you accrued by simply not wasting it all on your household water bill!

In short, dual flush toilets are the wave of the future, so to speak. Why not do some further research online and see for yourself the benefits that switching to a dual flush toilet could bring to you and yours?

Posted by plumber | in Toilets, Water Savers | No Comments »

Install a new toilet yourself

Apr. 25th 2012

Save your back by installing your new toilet the same way you removed the old one; in pieces.

If the closet bolts are the type that slide into the flange, put them in place parallel to the wall behind the toilet.  If they screw into the floor, you will have to replace the old bolts with new ones.

  • Put a towel or rug on the floor then put the new bowl upside down on the rug.  Find the waste horn (this is the protrusion at the base of the toilet that extends into the flange).  Install a wax ring in the waste horn.  The wax ring will have a tapered end which should face the toilet.  Tip: a warm wax ring that is softer is easier to work with so if you had it in the cold let it warm a bit before installing.
  • Remove the plug from the waste drain hole.  Carefully put the toilet in position on the flange.  Install the retainer washers and nut, loosely.  Remember to install the tapered washer’s right side up.  The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you exactly how to install them.
  • Once you position the toilet over the flange press down gently with a slight rocking motion making a seal with the wax ring between the waste horn and flange.  When the bowl is in place tighten the closet bolts alternating one side then the other to equally distribute the pressure.
  • Put the bolt caps on the closet bolts.  Check for leaks.  If there are no leaks seal the base of the toilet with tub and bath silicon sealant.  Smooth the bead with your wet finger.

Installing the Tank

  • Position the large rubber gasket over the outlet at the bottom of the tank according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Push the tank mounting bolts and rubber washers through the mounting area from inside the tank.
  • Position the tank on the bowl and tighten the nuts alternating from side to side. Be sure not to over-tighten the bolts.
  • Install the toilet seat following the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Connect the water supply line.  If you are using rigid line bend the line gently to make it fit. Be careful that the bends do not crimp the line causing the flow of water to be obstructed, or worse a break in the line.  Flexible line is easy to install, simply slide the line in place and tighten the fittings; no bends to worry about.


Adjusting the Flushing Mechanism

Now that your toilet is installed flush it to see how it works.  You may need to make some small adjustments to the flushing mechanism.  Changes are simple when you follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Posted by plumber | in DIY, Toilets | No Comments »

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