4/4/2014 2:11:00 PM Ask the contractor: Modern toilet selection flush with options
Sandy Griffis Yavapai County Contractors Association
Q: Our toilet is giving us fits. Not only do we have recurring clogs, but it looks like there are cracks in the porcelain, and it is a water hog. My wife said to go buy a new toilet, but having visiting several local stores, I am more confused than ever. What is the best type of toilet to purchase?-Erik, Prescott
A: Nearly 2,000 times per year, the average toilet receives a flushing. Even though one might think that one size fits all with toilets, that is not the case. There are countless styles with different heights, designs; there are one-piece toilets, two-piece toilets, and different shapes. Flushing types are an option, limiting gallons per flush. There are wall-hung toilets and toilets with concealed and skirted trapways.
Over the past few years, toilet manufacturers have progressed to designing toilets that are more water-efficient and easier to clean. Today's toilets can be considered "super toilets." There is a toilet on the market made by Toto Drake that reduces bacteria and debris buildup because of the ion-barrier glaze the bowl is made from. This toilet supposedly does an exceptional job of cleaning the bowl with every flush.
One-piece toilets integrate the tank and bowl which offers a more space-saving design. Two-piece toilets are the traditional toilet with a separate tank and bowl. There are different bowl shapes from elongated to round and then a more compact elongated bowl.
Comfort height toilets are taller than the traditional toilet and make it much easier for sitting and standing. The traditional toilet sits at or below 17 inches in height. Anything above that is considered comfort height and can go to 19 inches.
One of the most important considerations when purchasing a toilet would be the low-flush or low-flow option. If you do not have a low-flush toilet, now is the time to change. Look for the EPA WaterSense label on the toilet. Toilets are rated according to their ability to remove waste per Maximum Performance (MaP) testing, which rates on the number of grams of waste evacuated in a single flush. The minimum standard is 350 grams, and any toilet with a rating over 500 is considered to be very good.
With low-flush options, there are different standards. Most of today's toilets are gravity flushing toilets. The water flows into the bowl and then forces the waste through the trap with gravity. There are pressure flushing toilets and using compressed air at the tank top, the flushing speed is greatly increased and uses less water. There are also the dual-flush toilets. These fixtures have two buttons on the tank that allow you to choose a full tank flush of water or a half tank, depending if you are flushing solid or liquids.
Toilets use about 25 to 30 percent of a household's indoor water, and installing a high-efficiency toilet can certainly save money. Comparison-shop for a toilet, find the model you like and the features you want, and then you should be on the way for ease and comfort.
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