Archive for Toilet Replacement
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.
The Professor was proud to see that fellow toilet fan John-Michael Gigliotti was recently recognized for his community spirit and extensive toilet knowledge by Sid Michaels Kavulich, his representative in the Pennsylvania State Assembly. Representative Kavulich begins to tell John-Michael’s story at minute 1:22 in the video below.
The Professor previously shared a detailed account of John-Michael’s toilet interest. It’s a great story – featuring a great photo of the toilet guru posing with the Cadet 3 FloWise toilet that American Standard donated to his family – that is always worth another look.
The Professor always has toilet performance on the brain, but acknowledges that this concern might not always be at the forefront of the average person’s mind when making a simple decision like, for instance, which hotel to stay at on a trip. Most travelers – and most hotels, for that matter – would prefer to be focused on aspects like location, continental breakfast quality, or Egyptian cotton sheets. However, the Loews and Hyatt hotel chains have both been in the news recently for investing in high performance Champion 4 toilets from American Standard as a service to their guests. The Professor was pleased to be able to speak with Richard Senechal from Loews Hotels and Ron McGill from Hyatt Hotels about their sudden interest in flushability.
When it comes to hotel perks, one usually thinks of something like high quality bedding or premium cable channels. How did your hotels come to be so interested in toilet performance?
Richard Senechal: “For us, clogged toilets became a huge problem about 15 years ago, when building codes began requiring toilets to use 1.6 gallons of water per flush – about half of what they’d been using. These new toilets technically should’ve saved us money on reduced water bills, but we quickly began to see a significant uptick in the number of service calls we received regarding clogged toilets. Until we upgraded our toilets we were receiving as many as 12 calls per day in our three Orlando-area hotels alone, which took up a great deal of staff time.”
Aside from the amount of time your staff had to spend fixing these clogs, did your hotels experience any other problems related to toilet clogs?
Ron McGill: “Oftentimes, we would have a guest cause a toilet overflow, which was quite embarrassing and inconvenient for them. It was even worse when they would flush the toilet and then leave the room without knowing that there was a problem - the overflow could go on for an hour or two sometimes. By that then a lot of damage would have occurred, including leaks down into the rooms below.
How did you come to choose American Standard’s Champion 4 toilet for your plumbing upgrade?
Richard Senechal: “Our Orlando engineering director, Tony Rodrigues, had tested the Champion 4 toilet and told us it was ‘a quantum leap’ over our existing toilets. He eventually convinced the company that it made good business sense to replace the toilets throughout all 18 Loews hotels. Today, about a third of our hotels have the Champion 4.”
And how are the new toilets working out for your guests?
Richard Senechal: “We have seen an 80% drop in service calls at the hotels where we have installed the Champion 4. That translates into a lot of saved man-hours and we couldn’t be happier with the change.”
Ron McGill: “We no longer need to keep toilet plungers on every floor – the new toilets have virtually eliminated clog-related service calls at our hotel. We’re also really pleased with the savings we’re experiencing on our water bills thanks to the Champion 4. The cost of utilities on Long Island is outrageous, so any chance to cut expenses in that area is extremely important.”
Thank you so much for your time, gentlemen. The Professor enjoys nothing more than a good toilet chat with fellow professionals.
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.
Did you know that there is a special socket wrench which provided with every Champion 4 toilet? It is a whole lot easier to install the toilet that Loews Hotels engineering director described as “a quantum leap” over their existing toilets to the USA Today travel editor.
With this wrench you don’t need to put your hands into the tight area between the toilet and the wall, and you can get enough torque to tighten down the tank to the bowl properly.
The socket wrench is included in the bag with the nuts and the gasket. It looks like a long metal tube and one end of the “tube” has a hexagonal shape to fit the nuts. The other end has a hole through it. The washers are attached to the nuts, so there is only one part instead of two.
Professor Toilet fun fact: That’s how they change tires so quickly in the pits at NASCAR—the bolt ends on the wheels are “blinded” so that the nuts get started on them more easily. The Professor appreciates good toilet learnings from NASCAR.
Simply put the nut into the hexagonal end of the socket wrench, stick it into the blind end of the bolt, and start turning. Twist the socket wrench (it’s very easy to hold) until the nut is finger tight. Do the same on the other side of the tank.
Once the nuts are finger-tight on both sides, use a standard Phillips head screwdriver through the hole at the other end of the socket wrench and use the screwdriver to get torque to tighten the nut down all the way. For best results, don’t rush through the process. Tighten partly on one side, then the other, and so forth, so as to tighten the tank down equally on both sides. This tightens down the tank without difficulty. Then all that’s left to do is enjoy your new Champion 4 toilet.
Working with manufacturers and suppliers on large scale projects can be stressful and frustrating, so the Professor was particularly impressed to read the following account from Paul Sly of Interstate Investment about his experiences working with American Standard and HD Supply to upgrade the toilets, faucets, and showerheads in a 1,000 unit apartment complex. Many thanks to Paul for taking the time to write such a thoughtful letter.
February 2, 2011
Mr. Carl Whipple, Field Account Representative
HD Supply Facilities & Maintenance
In conjunction with our planned project execution, in mid-2010 we solicited proposals in regards to the fixture replacement campaign we were planning to implement at our 1,000 unit apartment complex. We received proposals from several vendors for this project, but one “team” consistently stood out from the rest: HD Supply & American Standard.
The exemplary service & sales presentations that we received from the HD Supply team along with American Standard’s representative, Mike Gilmore, throughout the bid process was very informative, especially the spreadsheet defining the cost savings over our current fixtures in use. One of the most impressive segments of the sales process was the portable product demonstration showcasing the patented flush system which allowed our technicians to see the benefits over the competitors’ products. FYI, as of this writing we have had NO clogs or service requests with any of the American Standard toilets that we have installed.
Additionally I would like to let you & Mike know that I sincerely appreciated the above average sales approach for being solely based on addressing our needs and concerns, showcasing the quality and cost savings of American Standard products without negatively trashing the other competitors.
As you are aware HD Supply along with American Standard was chosen as our supplier for all bathroom and kitchen fixture upgrades & replacements. I would like to additionally recognize and thank both you and Mike Gilmore for “above and beyond” customer service which has been consistent since our initial meeting.
In summary it has been a real pleasure to work with both the HD Supply & American Standard teams. The entire process from initial proposal to weekly deliveries has progressed sealessly without a glitch and it is my pleasure to recommend HD & American Standard to anyone wanting quality products backed up with excellent customer service.
The high performing and water saving plumbing fixtures that Interstate Investment purchased for this project included:
- Cadet3 Flowise toilet, a high-efficiency toilet that uses only 1.28 gallons of water per flush, which is 60% less water than a traditional 3.5 gallon per flush model.
- Reliant3 Lavatory faucet, a WaterSense-certified faucet with a 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) flow rate. Installing a faucet like the Reliant 3 will save up to 600 gallons of water a year.
- Colony Soft Bath/ Shower trim kit,which can save a family up to 8,000 gallons of water a year while still delivering an invigorating shower
- Colony Soft Kitchen Faucet, a durable line of faucets made with ceramic disc valving to ensure a lifetime of drip-free performance
Sounds like a job well done all around!
American spending on home remodeling projects has been rising in recent months, and the Professor notes that many savvy homeowners are taking advantage of these opportunities to incorporate energy and water-saving changes into their plans. Greening your home in this way is not only great for the environment, but will save you money in the long run, too.
The December issue Kiplinger’s Personal Finance featured a selection of product reviews to help consumers get the most bang for their buck from these upgrades, and on the top of their list was installing American Standard’s Cadet 3 toilet in your bathroom. Kiplinger’s notes that for each member of your household, the toilet will save 4,000 gallons of water and $25 annually.
In addition to these projected water savings, the Professor especially appreciates the consideration that Kiplinger’s gave to product quality in their recommendation. Many low-flow toilets lack the flushing power to thoroughly clean the bowl after every flush, making frequent plunging and double-flushing necessary. And if you are constantly having to double-flush your toilet, you are also flushing away most of your water savings at the same time. American Standard’s impressive flushing demonstration video for the Cadet 3 proves that concern isn’t an issue with this toilet.
To find out how much water and money you can save by installing the Cadet 3 and lots of other water-saving plumbing fixtures, the Professor also recommends that you check out the Responsible Bathroom‘s water-saving calculator.
The Professor’s enthusiasm for the dual flush H2Option toilet from American Standard and the power of its siphonic action flushes has never been a secret. Finding other experts who share this opinion is always icing on the cake.
The most recent example is HousingZone.com, which recently honored the H2Option as a “Product of the Week.” As the editors note, the H2Option was the first truly siphonic dual flush toilet to be introduced – and of course it remains the best, in the Professor’s opinion.
It’s often necessary to call in a pro when dealing with plumbing woes around the house, but the Professor also appreciates occasional the money-saving, highly satisfying D.I.Y. repair. Even those who don’t believe they are particularly handy can find great resources online to help guide them through the process of making simple repairs.
A lot of things can go wrong with toilets, from “ghost flushing” to leaks to running. Unsure of what’s causing these various problems? The Professor recommends you read through this page on toilet repair up at doityourself.com that can help identify the cause of many common toilet troubles. Very often the problems can be solved by replacing the toilet handle, a piece that tends to wear out over time.
To spare yourself these troubles in the first place, the Professor recommends that when shopping for a new toilet, you research the durability of this important piece in the models you are looking at. One particularly impressive example of toilet handle testing is this video of the durability testing that American Standard’s Champion 4 toilets are subjected to – watch and learn!
When selecting a toilet, homeowners have the choice between round and elongated bowl designs.
Round-front toilets have been around the longest and typically extend 25 to 28 inches from the wall. Newer to the scene and designed to be more comfortable, elongated bowls typically extend 29 to 31 inches from the wall.
Because the toilet sits opposite the door in many smaller bathrooms, a regular elongated toilet can restrict the size of the door or its swing – or just make navigating small powder rooms difficult.
A third option is called compact elongated, which combine the best of both worlds: comfort and space savings. Compact elongated toilets, such as the Compact Cadet 3, offer the comfort of an elongated bowl in same 27½-inch footprint as a conventional round-front bowl.
This space-saving feat is accomplished by reengineering the trapway so that it is closer to the wall but still fits standard 12-inch rough in designs.
It is important not to confuse bowl size (distance from the wall to the front of the bowl) with a toilet’s rough-in dimensions, which denotes the distance from the wall to the center of the toilet flange in the floor).