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How to Choose Toilets

Well, if you've lived in a home for any length of time, you've probably already encountered a problem with one of your toilets. Replacing them can be confusing as there are many options nowadays. So here are a few things you might want to consider.

  • How Well Does the Toilet Flush? - There are federal mandates that control the amount of water you can use to flush a toilet. The amount was reduced a number of years ago. And some toilets do a much better job of flushing than others. You used to be able to flush from 3-7 gallons of water and now you can only flush 1.6 gallons. Since the early versions didn't do an adequate job, one often needed to flush twice, thus defeating the purpose of the reduction.
  • Ask for Information - A dual-flush toilet offers a one gallon or less flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 gallon flush for solid waste. Newer models have replaced the rubber flapper (which degrades) with a silicon gasket and calibrated plunger. Even the bowls have been designed to work better. The verdict is still out on whether the "wash-down" version (which applies gravity and a wide trap-way) or the "siphonic" version is better. The siphonic version uses suction and a narrow passage. I don't mind telling you that I've had some huge problems with improper flushing, especially from my 6'2" son.
  • Get Good Advice - The larger trap-ways work better. They look like tubes and are located on each side of the toilet.
  • Should You Get One Piece or Two Piece? - The bowl and the tank are separate units in a two piece toilet. You'll find a one piece toilet is easier to clean because there is no crevice between the tank and the bowl to collect dirt, grime and rust.
  • Check Out the Size and Shape - Select a toilet also based on the size and shape that you need. Check out the amount of clearance to the wall behind the toilet that is needed to connect the water line. The most common distance is 12 inches. A round toilet will use less space. An elongated or oval toilet will provide a larger seating area. Since they are 2" longer, be sure you have enough space. If you're a senior citizen, you may find the 14-17 inch toilets (distance from floor to seat) will be more comfortable.
  • The Cost Factor - Here's one place where you do get what you pay for. The average duration of a toilet is 10 to 15 years, though some are known to last 30 years. The average price of a descent toilet is $150 to $400.
  • Will a Cat Be Able to Sleep Inside the Bowl? - Shouldn't be a factor in your decision.

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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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