Archive for Clogged Toilets
Are you up for this PRO sized challenge?
Since its introduction, The PRO™ Series has received a tremendous response from homeowners that were frustrated with their older, clog-prone and water inefficient toilets. The PRO Series is American Standard’s latest line of toilets that combines the powerful flushing systems of the popular Champion and Cadet toilets while using a WaterSense® Certified (pending) water saving flush. While the switch to the PRO line may be a no brainer, we want to test your PRO knowledge for the chance to win your very own! Read more for details…
Edit (8/8/12) : Congratulations to David Paige and Brian Necessary who will both be receiving a brand new PRO Toilet and retiring their plungers! Thank you to all of our participants in the PRO Talk and Test your PRO Knowledge challenge.
Professor Toilet has become aware of a toilet now on the market with a remarkable “new” invention—it has overflow holes in the bowl so that the bowl won’t overflow if the toilet clogs.
This is a great innovation, except it is years too late. Years ago when toilets used 3.5 gallons or more of water per flush, if there was a clog the bowl would overflow and make a mess. We old folks like the Professor remember many horror stories about this.
Now that toilets use only 1.6 gallons and even less of water per flush, there is not enough water in a single flush to overflow the bowl. One would have to flush twice or even three times in order to overflow the bowl. If your bowl is clogged you are not going to flush the toilet again if you see the bowl filled up with water and not going down. This is common sense.
Furthermore, with all the advances in toilet flushing technologies, new toilets featuring oversized trapways are engineered to eliminate clogging. In fact, toilets such as the American Standard Champion®4 toilet, with the industry’s largest siphonic trapway at 2-3/8”, is engineered not to clog and will remove a 67% larger mass than a toilet with a standard 2” trapway.
So with new toilets that feature trapways in excess of 2”, clogging is essentially a non-issue. And, even if the rare clog occurs, the bowl won’t overflow unless it is flushed repeatedly.
Now, a couple more thoughts about this “new” invention:
- The extra trap seal required for the overflow uses and wastes about 30 ml. of extra water on every flush. This is not going in the right direction for saving water.
- The extra seal for the overflow contains only about 30 ml. of water—it can evaporate quickly if the toilet is not used frequently enough. This will result in sewer gases leaking into the room and a rather nasty smell.
- Also, the invention only works on clogs in front of the trapway (the same kind you usually won’t get with a Champion4 or Cadet3). If the clog is in the drain pipe and not in the toilet, the bowl will still fill up with water. While the bowl won’t overflow because of today’s water usages, the new invention nonetheless isn’t failsafe for all kinds of clogs.
The Professor is continually on the lookout for new toilet innovations to determine their real merits and communicate the facts to his audience so that they can make educated decisions.
The low flow toilet debate is in the news once again thanks to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, whose recent outburst about his dissatisfaction with water-saving toilets during an Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing has generated a great deal of (largely bemused) news and blog coverage.
The Professor is sad to hear that Senator Paul has been enduring toilet troubles for the past 19 years, but believes his comments were a bit off base, to say the least. It’s true that in 1994, which was the first time that all new homes and bathroom remodeling work were required to included low flow 1.6 gallon per flush (gpf) toilets, the technology wasn’t quite there yet. Most manufacturers simply produced toilets with smaller tanks that were prone to clogs and staining because there wasn’t enough power to fully clear the bowl.
Nowadays, however, there are countless high-performance toilet models to choose from, some of which require as little as 1.28 gpf. As far as the Professor can tell, if Senator Paul and other low flow toilet doubters took advantage of the many resources available to help them make wise “consumer choices” it would be an easy task to find a water-saving toilet that would meet their needs. Toilet manufacturers can apply for independent, third party verification of their claims related to toilet flushing power, for example. Also, as Bill Scher pointed out on OurFuture.org, Consumer Reports is one of many great resources of objective, thoroughly researched product reviews available to help Paul find a low-flow toilet that works.
A writer for Grist agreed that Senator Paul should simply purchase a new toilet, although the Professor is skeptical about their specific recommendation, which features a small water spot and an old-fashioned washdown flush, making the toilet likely to have clogs and stains. Instead, the Professor would suggest American Standard‘s “Made in America” Cadet 3 or the Champion 4, which has recently garnered media attention for reducing maintenance calls by 80% at the Loews hotel locations that installed the new toilets last year.
In closing, the Professor absolutely concurs with the many critics whose response has been “Go buy a new toilet!” Better yet, find a rebate for upgrading to a low flow toilet in your area to save even more money while you conserve water.
The Professor was pleased to read about a new certification program from NSF International that will offer independent, third-party verification of claims regarding the power of toilet flushes. The new NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program will test to see whether that toilet can really flush 8 lbs of kitty litter or 36 hot dogs. (Note: it can’t, nor should it need to.)
The NSF tests will be performed on a “custom-built flushability rig” that will test the power of a toilet’s flush at varying drainline slopes and pipe diameters. Testing is thorough and includes a toilet bowl and drainline test, a dispersability test, a column settling test and aerobic and anaerobic disintegration tests. NSF will also inspect manufacturing facilities to ensure that products are made in accordance with official specifications and that health and safety measures are being observed.
This program is very new, but the Professor believes it is likely to be adopted by the industry very quickly. “Flushability” certification will help improve the popularity of low-flow toilets amongst – and beyond – the base of green consumers. Certification will also increase retailer confidence in a company’s products, which will potentially offer more marketing opportunities, so it isn’t hard to see how the benefits of certification easily outweigh the costs involved for a manufacturer.
And of course, this program is great news for consumers, who can feel more confident when purchasing a new toilet – which is not by any means an insignificant investment. Naturally, the Professor prefers to do his own hands-on toilet flush testing on a specially constructed rig, but this may not be practical for the average homeowner. Which, of course, is where the convenience of the NSF certification label comes in. Fortunately for all of the Professor’s fellow toilet fanatics out there, product testing videos like the one below abound on YouTube, allowing handymen and women to vicariously enjoy the thrills of a thorough toilet test without risking damage to their plumbing.
When choosing a toilet for your home, there are a number of important things to consider. In addition to pricing – something that nearly everyone needs to worry about these days – there is the issue of maintenance and reliability: how can you be certain that a toilet will work reliably and continue to do so into the future? Then there is also the issue of water use. Toilets are by far the biggest indoor sources of water use in American households, so by choosing a low-flow toilet you can save water and save money on your monthly utility bill.
The Professor’s solution is to learn as much as possible about the testing a manufacturer performs on its toilets. What kind of tests were done, how rigorous were they, and how well did the toilet stand up to them? A video that demonstrates the tests that American Standard performed on the Champion 4, one of its newest high performance, low-flow toilets is one of the Professor’s favorite new discoveries. It not only shows the many ways that the toilets are tested for effective flushing, but also looks at product improvements that American Standard has made based on what their (engineers? designers?) have learned from earlier product tests.
Children say the darndest things, especially when confronted with household objects they have never seen before.
Barry Canipe, the Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of American Standard sent us this story about the first time his son saw a particular household item that is a necessity in many homes, but not in homes that have American Standard toilets. Barry and the Professor both agreed it was too funny not to share:
We were vacationing at the Jersey shore and staying in a huge, lovely home just two houses from the beach. Shortly after arriving, my six year old son James had to go to the bathroom. I pointed him down the hall and in a few minutes he came back and had a confused look on his face.
He said, “Daddy, what is that thing in the corner of the bathroom?” Not having any idea what he was talking about, I went with him to investigate. That thing was a plunger sitting right next to a Kohler toilet.
I explained that it was a “plunger” and being six years old, he had questions lined up for me. He asked, “What does it do?” and I explained that it was used when the toilet gets stopped up. Now he was more confused.
His next question was, “Why don’t we have one of those?” My response was, “Since you were born, we’ve had American Standard toilets in our house and have never needed one.” He accepted my answer, but thought we should have one anyway so he can use it as a fake Star Wars light saber.
A resourceful child, if the Professor ever knew one.
Dunbar Plumbing, a leader plumber in northern Kentucky, cites “simple design and powerful flushing action,” as reasons why the Champion 4 Toilet is one of Dunbar’s best selling flushers. Below is their own video showing the amount of water in the bowl and exclusive Accelerator Flush Valve inside the tank:
In their own words, on their forum, Dunbar Plumbing explains the benefits of the Champion 4 toilet:
“With the American Standard Champion 4 toilet, our customers have been extremely pleased with the flushing action of the toilet with a “no worry” attitude about what possibly gets thrown down the toilet. This toilet uses a small fraction of water compared to the older 1.6 gallon toilets including the 3.5 gallon flush toilets. Now that these new style toilets use so little water compared to the wasteful 3.5 gallon toilet, it’s a no brainer that those older toilets were such a costly design. We’ve watched the advancements in the technology grow over the past 25 years and it has been a road hard paved with good intentions to finally get a good working, good flushing toilet.” Read more at the Dunbar Plumbing Forum.
On one hand, we applaud the Indianapolis plumber who advises training your house guests on how to use your toilets.
On the other hand, that’s not a discussion Professor Toilet really wishes to have with the in-laws.
If you have a houseful headed your way this month, get a top-rated Champion 4 toilet like the Oakmont.
The Professor is as excited as anyone else about the prospect of over-indulgence in food, football and festivities.
Also as nervous as anyone else about the prospects of uninvited guests, including clogged toilets and other plumbing nightmares.
It’s World Toilet Day. A perfect day to hug your plumber.
The premise of World Toilet Day is to remind us all of the serious sanitation problems facing much of the world. Problems that affluent countries rarely think about. Until you study World History and learn about the Plague for the first time.
The first rate sanitary systems we enjoy in North America are indeed due to our advanced product technology, but also to the plumbers who protect the health of our nation every day.
So in honor of World Toilet Day, the Professor urges you to do three things:
1. Make a donation to your favorite clean water charity.
2. Go ahead and do the Big Squat.
3. Hug your plumber. And tell him or her “thanks.”