Archive for toilet testing


Will it Flush? Find Out with the Toilet Challenge App

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The Professor is a conscientious toilet expert, and likes to be able to evaluate a toilet’s flushing power as thoroughly as possible. With the Toilet Challenge, a free app now available from American Standard for iPhones, iPods, and iPads, it’s even possible to have some fun with the process.

This app allows users to select a toilet and match it up against any number of adversaries – from bananas to golf balls to chicken nuggets – and flush away. Clearly this “flushability” testing feature of the Toilet Challenge can offer hours of fun on its own (well, the Professor thinks so, anyhow) but the app offers a lot more than just fun and games.

Each of the “challenges” is based on the results of actual product tests, so the app offers a unique way to “try before you buy.” Users can also view product specs and locate local retailers through the app, making toilet shopping an unexpectedly easy and enjoyable experience.

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.


Toilet Testing: What Goes into a Reliable Product?

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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.

Toilets aren’t just for people: officials in central Sweden’s Karlstad municipality recently constructed a special pontoon to serve as a seagull lavatory to help protect boaters at the local marina from the “unwanted deposits” the birds were dropping all over the area.

The pontoon was painted and anchored in an area specifically designed to attract the birds. It is hoped that the gulls will choose to sit on the ledge and leave their droppings on the pontoon rather than all over the boats (and boat owners) in the marina.

The Professor wishes Karlstad residents all the best in their bird toilet-training efforts and looks forward to hearing how successful the project was.

No one actually invited Professor Toilet to give a commencement address this year. Which is no reason not to give it.  No one asked for a toilet blog either, but here you are.

Graduate, as you head out into the world, here are 10 things you always need to remember:

1.    Finding a good flush will be easier than finding a good spouse.  Unlike spouses, toilets are independently tested to verify performance.

2.    Water isn’t endless.

3.    When you do settle down, spend less time and money on your china pattern and more on the most important chinaware in your home:  your toilet.

4.    Two words: siphonic action.

5.     For Pete’s sake, if your toilet ever does clog, don’t pretend you don’t know and let it keep going so that it ruins the bathroom, the floor, the ceiling of the floor below and 10 or more people’s days.  Take your plunger and responsibility in hand when duty, literally, calls you.

6.    You can find a lifetime commitment.  There are toilets out there with lifetime warranties.

7.    Control yourself.  You can have multiple shower heads. But you can’t have multiple showerheads, a lush green lawn in the desert and expect to wash your car every day.

8.    Regarding eating, drinking, and most anything else that is fun doing, see #7

9.    Science is good. The scientific and mechanically gifted minds who innovate and install plumbing systems in our homes and building systems  really do protect the health of our nation.

10.    Finally, before touring Europe this summer, learn the difference between a bidet and a water fountain.