Buying Guide – Toilets Features And Design Decisions

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    There are many different design options when selecting the best model toilet for your bathroom.

    Considerations include the size of your family and use but also cost and ease of repair.

    Here we will cover some of the basic options and some special ones to make your next purchase the right one.

    Bowl Shape

    The shape of your toilets bowl will have a lot to do with comfort and use. There are 2 basic options either a standard round bowl which is good for installs where space is a concern and elongated bowls which provide a longer egg shaped bowl and seat shape.

    Most models other then the least expensive ones will come in both elongated and round bowl sizes.

    Bowl Height

    This is another comfort consideration and different models within each manufacture will provide either a standard or a taller bowl / seat height. ADA compliant bowls are taller to aid in the transfer from a wheel chair to the bowl and will provide added comfort for taller users.

    Tank Design

    In low profile toilets the tank and bowl is a single unit. Single unit bowl and tank designs are easier to clean but often cost more. The parts to repair a single unit toilet are also higher.

    Two piece toilets with a separate tank and bowl may or may not be interchangeable. This means you may be able to adjust the flush volume of your toilet by matching it with a different tank.

    Flush Volume

    Under Federal guidelines the flush volume of toilets has been reduced to 1.6 gallons max per flush. The actual amount of water in your bowl will be more then this to provide extra power during the flush process. (don’t tell anyone but this means by holding down the flush lever you can feed more water to the bowl during flushing.).

    Many manufacturers have surpassed the Federal maximum limit and now provide toilets that use as little as a single gallon during a flush.

    If you have children in the home it is not recommended that you install super low flush rate toilets because they will tend to clog. We actually recommend that no one install a toilet with less then 1.3 gallons unless you are in special circumstances such as a remote location with water restrictions.

    Special Flushing Methods

    Some manufacturers provide an in tank power flushing device. They are usually an air bladder type of device that force water into the tank at a faster speed flow rate. This type of flushing aid is prone to problems over the long term and will require expensive repairs later in the toilets life.

    Similarly to extremely low flush volume designs we suggest that you stay away from this feature unless it is a requirement.

    Toilet Trap Size and Glazing

    It is very important that you purchase a toilet bowl with a fully glazed trap. Glazing is the glass like coating on ceramic material. Unglazed traps will increase friction and increase the likelihood that your toilet will clog.

    Trap diameter is also very important. You should look for the widest trap that you can find 2″ inches or more is best. This will reduce the possibility of clogging.

    Flush Valves

    Some manufacturers have now started shipping duel flush toilets allowing a lower flush volume for liquids and standard for solids.

    The flush valve is important because its diameter controls the rate that water can flow into your toilet. Higher flow rates mean less clogging so look for a wider flush valve of up to 4 inches for better performance.

    Toilet Seat

    Toilet seats are not normally included in the bowl / tank kits. There are a variety of different toilet seats that you can choose from and comfort and cleaning will be a primary concern.

    Solid plastic or wood seats that have an epoxy type finish are great for cleaning. They will allow the use of bleach to remove bacteria.

    Padded seats will breakdown faster but can provide more comfort.

    Wood seats are decoratively appealing in some bathrooms but not a good choice.

    You may also want to look for automatic seats that will close after use.

    If you have children you can purchase a seat lid lock that will open quickly but limit access to toddlers that are known to throw toys and perfume and car keys down the toilet.

    Final Note

    There are a handful of other design options that you should include in your choice. Some models do not come in a variety of colors with only base white or bone as standard.

    You should also consider replacement parts. Can your toilet be repaired with off the shelf generic parts or will you need to special order parts. The difference can mean your toilet will be out of commission for a longer period of time and the expense will also be more if you need to special order parts.

    The YouRepair Store sells a full line of toilets that can be delivered to your home often for free. Please check our selection and our repair parts.

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