When purchasing a toilet for your home or business, there are a great many variables to consider along with cost and color. Height, shape, size, style, water efficiency, and flushing power are all factors that can mean the difference between you being comfortably seated on the porcelain throne or breaking out the plunger. Here is a checklist of things that may make a significant difference when you purchase your next toilet.
For homeowners that are connected to city and town utilities, you know that water bills can make you do a double take. Bathrooms use nearly half of the average home’s water and toilets alone account for about 25 to 30 percent of your water. Older seven-gallon tanks can run you nearly 13,000 gallons per year on average. But if you were to reduce down to a newer 1.28-gallon tank, the annual average consumption could drop to about 2,300 gallons. Basically, your water bill would drop by about 10,000 gallons. One would be correct to say, large tanks are flushing your money down the drain.
The standard height of a toilet is about 14.5 inches, measuring from floor to rim. Some models are designed to accommodate slightly taller people with a height of about 16 inches. Handicap-rated units and height-friendly models can range from 17 to 19 inches. Obviously, there is a good amount of distance and difference between these models when you bend your knees. The days of selecting the standard unit are a thing of the past. It’s important to pick a height that is comfortable for you and your family. You may want to pick up a step stool for the little ones as well.
Toilet bowls come in two basic shapes: round and oval-shaped. Oval-shaped models are generally a couple of inches longer from front to back than their round counterparts and people find them more comfortable in general. You will need to account for those extra inches in your bathroom layout.
Building codes generally require 15 inches from center to wall and at least two feet in front. These distances are fine if you have limited space in your bathroom. However, having a good 30 inches in front will make you feel less cramped. And plan for enough elbow room for your body. You are not limited to building code measurements. They are the minimums, not requirements.
Performance and Efficiency
There are two basic types of toilet flushing systems, gravity and pressure:
- Gravity Fed: Like many standard home toilets, a tank holds the water. You push the lever and it moves everything down the drain. They can generate as little as 10 PSI and work effectively. They are generally less expensive than pressure toilets but may not push waste as effectively. Basically, they can clog more often.
- Pressure Units: These models use compressed water and air to force waste down the drain. They tend to make a bit more noise than gravity-fed toilets and your home will need a minimum of about 25 PSI of water pressure for it to function well. These models use less water and the tanks tend to be smaller. The downside for pressurized toilets is that they are usually more expensive.
Like most modern conveniences, toilets have evolved and your purchase now comes with several options that can personalize your experience. Here are some features to consider:
- Dual Flush: One water conservation option is the two-button flush control. Basically, you can press partial flush for liquids or full flush for solids. It saves a considerable amount of water over time.
- Concealed and Skirted Trapways: The backs and sides of toilets can look soiled very quickly. Concealed or skirted trapways give the toilet a sleek look and exterior that is easy to clean and doesn’t “trap” as much grime. These make your toilet easy to clean..
- One Piece or Two: The vast majority of toilets in use are the two-piece type. The tank rests on the bowl portion and is tightened in place. These are usually easy to find replacement parts for at local hardware stores. But one-piece units, although more expensive, are quite sleek and much easier to keep clean. Wall mounted units are also excellent space savers and good for people using wheelchairs. They do require strong support walls.
- Touchless Units: Automatic flushing sensors are wonderful for those who don’t like touching toilets or who have forgetful friends and family members. There are also retro-fitting kits available for some models that you can just wave your hand over. They have a fun sci-fi feel about them.
- Color: About 85 percent of homeowners choose white. But, you can purchase yours in a wide array of colors. Just be careful with “trendy” colors. When the color goes out of style, your bathroom might go with it.
- Rebates and Warranties: Remember to check for manufacturer rebates and consider what warranty options are available. You never know if your unit has a defect.
Selecting a toilet that is just right for you and your family means weighing the many options, variables and features of today’s makes and models. It’s also important to discuss your learning with an experienced plumber.
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