General Plumbing Questions

Toilet Questions and Answers

We are looking to replace a toilet in our home, and we are concerned about what we have heard about the new toilets on the market. Many people we know complain that the new toilets do not flush properly, and that they require multiple flushes. What is the recommendation for toilet replacement?
When the federal government mandated that new toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, manufacturers had to develop a toilet that would achieve this but that would also flush properly (clear the bowl) and carry the waste to the city sewer or septic system. Some of the early models did not do this properly. Since then, the complaints have forced the manufacturers to develop new ways of flushing toilets.

One new way is the use of a pressurized toilet tank. This model looks like a regular toilet, but it has a pressure tank inside. When flushed, it works like a commercial toilet. A large surge of water enters the bowl and clears the bowl of any waste. These toilets work well, but are not as quiet as a conventional model.

When considering a new fixture for your home such as a toilet, we recommend that you choose a fixture made by one of the major manufacturers, such as American Standard, Kohler or Eljer.


What are the benefits of switching to a low water use toilet?
The toilet is the biggest household water bandit; the average toilet uses 4 to 7 gallons per flush! Low volume toilets, which can easily replace your old inefficient toilet, will save over five gallons per use. If you cannot replace your toilet just yet, you should at least verify that it is working properly. More information on checking for leaks in the following question.


What’s the best way to check for toilet leaks?
Toilet leaks waste alot of water and can be very expensive. The easiest ckeck is to examine the water level to ensure that water is not overflowing the tank by way of the overflow pipe. This is the pipe in the middle of the tank. It has small tubing connected to it. If water is running into the overflow, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube or to the water level mark stamped on the side of the tank.

The next step is to put a few drops of food coloring into the tank to test the flush valve mechanism. If the water in the bowl changes color within 15 minutes, this is an indication that water is leaking into the toilet bowl and that the ball or flapper needs to be replaced.