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The way of the pipe (water type) [Feb. 18th, 2009|09:38 am]
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The kitchen sink faucet had taken to dripping when shut off.  It's one of those wand-type things--you lift and push right for cold water, lift and push left for hot, down and center for off.   Only it dripped.  It didn't drip ten or fifteen or howeverrmany years ago it was we last had it worked on, but it dripped now.  If you were very lucky, you could find the one little sweet spot where it didn't drip, but sometimes it would sneak a drip anyway.

Hence the call to the plumber.   That, and the working bits of a toilet at the other house, where Michael's living, which had deteriorated past the easy fixes anyone can do.   Now the kitchen sink faucet moves easily and doesn't drip and the toilet flushes and doesn't do anything it shouldn't.

But this is only the beginning.   I'm determined to replace all four toilets (two in each  house) with ones that don't use so much water.  These toilets were put in back in the 1950s when the houses were built.  I was hoping that the county would do what Austin Water has done, and give us some help, but clearly they're not going to, so I'm going to pop for it.   In the present water crisis (the drought plus two of the town's four wells being out) it seems like the right thing to do--that's if we can afford it, which I think we can.  

We've been reading about low-water-use toilets on the internet, trying to figure out which is best and which are available here (not necessarily overlapping sets!)   Richard and I have moved toilets around before (to replace the wax seal, for instance, or in teh case of the small back bathroom here, when that floor was about to give way and he had to rebuild it.)    But in this case, with four of them, I'm inclined to hire the plumbers to come do it for us.  I'll bet they can do all in one day (and we almost certainly could not!)


[User Picture]From: galbinus_caeli
2009-02-18 04:05 pm (UTC)
We are pleased with our uncloggable Gerber brand (These, I am fairly sure) toilets. We have grandkids, so sometimes stuff ends up in toilets, but we have not had a single clog since installing these. Got them at a national plumbing supply chain. They have different variants on the basic model, round bowl for small bathrooms, tall for people with limited mobility. Only problem is that they are loud.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-02-18 05:15 pm (UTC)
Too embarrassed to log in to post this.

We just replaced an old toilet with a water-conserving one a couple of months ago. 1.6 gal/flush. It flushes really great. The problem is that it works great when you pee, but the water level is fairly low in the bowl, so when you poop, there are *always* brown streaks down the side. So one flush to flush the poop, and at least 2 flushes to get rid of the brown streaks. Not sure how water-conserving that is! (Yes, I've tried sitting further back, etc.)

Now I don't know if all new toilets have that problem, but I wouldn't be surprised. Something to think about.

Here in CA, Home Depot has the best display of toilets. There must be at least 20 toilets on display and it's very intimidating to choose amongst them. But at HD, they rate them for various things (can't remember what all) so we got the cheapest one with the best flushability rating. Tried using the net for toilet ratings, but the problem is that the brands that are recommended aren't necessarily the ones locally available at decent prices.

As for installing toilets (I can say this since we just did it): it's as easy as replacing the wax gasket. Just need a couple of shims and a level since your floor won't be perfectly level.
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[User Picture]From: retrobabble
2009-02-18 05:18 pm (UTC)
Being in the business (kitchen/bath designer), I tend to direct clients to Toto toilets; however, you have some regional challenges we don't face in Northern CA. Your mileage will definitely vary.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-02-18 07:39 pm (UTC)
I saw a review of the Toto toilets online, but you're right--they're not available here and the cost of getting them here, plus their cost, is over our budget.

After talking to the plumbing contractor, I'm going with a deal from them that I think will work for us...inasmuch as they stand behind what they provide and we've used this plumbing contractor for almost 30 years now.
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[User Picture]From: martianmooncrab
2009-02-18 05:22 pm (UTC)
I have seen modified inserts for the tank to reduce water use. They hold the water in a shallow resevoir at the top and it flips over to flush.

Most of the newer toilets are too low to suit me, so if you like the toilet you have, this might work.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-02-18 07:37 pm (UTC)
I don't really like the toilets we have.
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[User Picture]From: gauroth
2009-02-18 05:42 pm (UTC)
I was told some years ago by a plumber that you can put a brick into the cistern which cuts down the amount of water in there, so I did that and the loo flushes as well as it did before. That's probably not as efficient as getting new toilets, but it might be ok as a temporary measure.
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[User Picture]From: jerusha
2009-02-18 05:56 pm (UTC)
The other thing I've put in the cistern is a bottle full of water (so it won't float). You can change the size of bottle, going up until you aren't flushing efficiently and then backing off one size.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-02-18 07:36 pm (UTC)
The bricks available in our area (easily, anyway) released clay and sand bits that then got into the valve (I did try it for awhile, many years ago.)

The bottle of water can also help.

But these are very old toilets (about 50 years old) and frankly I'd just as soon have new ones.
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[User Picture]From: sourceoftrouble
2009-02-18 06:01 pm (UTC)
I understand the brick is not 'approved' now, that they suggest putting in a 2L bottle full of water to take up the space (it doesn't "shed"). On a new one, we've been told to strongly consider the 'dual flush' models. Those have two different volumes to prevent Anonymous' issues.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2009-02-18 07:23 pm (UTC)
Are those the ones where you push in one direction to flush when you pee, and the other direction to flush when you have a bowel movement? I've only ever saw those in mid-to-high-range restaurants and didn't know they were available for home installation. Now I'm all interested. :)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-02-18 07:34 pm (UTC)
Lots of things are available for home installation now that weren't in the "old days." But yeah, I've seen pictures of the two-button flush.

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[User Picture]From: freyaw
2009-02-19 01:25 am (UTC)
They're pretty much standard here in Australia. New cisterns don't come in anything but dual-flush (in whatever configuration that means).
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[User Picture]From: sourceoftrouble
2009-02-19 03:15 pm (UTC)
I'm not certain just how they work, but I think they have them on display at the big box stores.
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[User Picture]From: jenrose1
2009-02-18 09:22 pm (UTC)
We just buy the inexpensive toilets at the hardware store... $100-ish at a pop. They're fine. (we've had two houses and replaced 2 toilets because I Hate the long ones.)
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[User Picture]From: pyg_klb
2009-02-19 01:06 am (UTC)
Before you buy flush toilets, spend $16.50 on The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins and consider whether you want to go waterless instead. (http://www.amazon.com/Humanure-Handbook-Guide-Composting-Manure/dp/0964425831/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235004242&sr=8-1)
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