Toilets have changed a lot in terms of efficiency over the years, which is a good thing, considering that bathrooms account for most of the water a home uses. A toilet is one of the most important fixtures in your home and if it isn’t working efficiently, you will notice higher water bills.
If you have an older toilet in your home, you’re definitely losing a lot of water that you don’t have to lose. Replacing your toilets with the newer, much more efficient models is a great way to save money and water. On average your toilet will be flushed more than 2000 times each year. Wouldn’t it be great to know that you’re not flushing your money down the toilet too?
Since toilets are a necessary part of the home, you want to get the most cost effective and water saving ones you can. There are tons of different styles and models on the market today. Choosing the right one doesn’t have to be confusing and filled with guesswork. This guide will help you learn all the information you need to make a great choice that will look good, be cost effective and will conserve water too.
There are so many choices to be made when it comes to toilets. Colors, shapes, heights, flushing styles and much more are all part of the properties you will be looking for and comparing against one another. It is much easier to narrow down the choices when you understand the different features that are available and what the different styles offer.
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Toilet Buying Guide
Sorting Through the Options
There are several different options that you will want to decide before you purchase a new toilet. We’ve outlined many of the choices you will have below so you are familiar with the different kinds of toilets and what they offer.
- 1 or 2 piece – Toilets come in one or two pieces. The two piece variety has a separate tank that is installed separately from the bowl. They are the less expensive choice even though there isn’t really a difference in the way they work or in the parts that each has.
The main distinguishable difference between a 1 and 2 piece toilet is that the 1 piece models are much easier to clean and keep clean. One feature to look for in a 2 piece toilet is a high quality sanitary bar.
The purpose of the sanitary bar is to prevent any liquid from collecting underneath the tank at the back of the toilet bowl itself. If liquid is allowed to collect there, it can negatively affect the fixtures due to the acidic nature of the liquid.
- Wall Toilet – Another choice that you have is the wall toilet. Most wall toilets are found in commercial businesses but due to the easy cleaning and maintenance they offer, they are starting to gain some popularity for home bathrooms as well. The drawback to wall toilets is that they require different plumbing and waste disposal which makes them better choices for brand new home builds and not necessarily remodels unless you don’t mind re-plumbing everything from scratch and handling a totally different waste disposal system.
When you are looking at the different types of toilets, be sure to look at the type of trap it has, regardless of whether it is a 1 or 2 piece unit. The majority of toilets on the market have a 2” trap that is glazed but a much better option and one that has less backups and clogs is a trap that is 2 3/8” size. In general, the bigger the trap, the fewer problems you will have with clogging and backups.
Toilet Bowl Options
There are two basic types of toilet bowls to choose from.
The elongated toilet bowl is more popular with home owners due to the extra 2” of space. They are a lot more comfortable to sit down on. They are more expensive than the standard round bowls and are not very good choices if space is at a premium. Most very small bathrooms have round toilets in them since they take up less space.
Another factor that you will need to consider and decide on is the height of your toilet. The regular, standard toilet is 14” to 15” high. This measurement is taken from the floor to the top of the bowl (keep the seat up to measure)
Toilets can go as high as 19” which many people prefer. The taller height is much more comfortable for tall people and it is also very beneficial for anyone with a physical disability that prevents them from sitting down and bending at the knee as far as a 14’15” toilet would require.
For a toilet to be compliant with the ADA it must be a height of at least 16.5”. This height may not be easy for young children just learning to use the toilet, but there are plenty of step stools that are designed for the bathroom that can help a child climb up safely.
Next on the list of options to look at and choose is the type of flushing mechanism you prefer for your toilet. There are several different types of flushing options available. This is one of th4e best kept secrets about toilets because most consumers don’t realize that there are different flushing options that they can choose from.
- Gravity-Fed – This type of flushing mechanism uses natural gravity to dump water from the tank into the bowl. This process creates a siphon that then rids the bowl of the waste by drawing it down into the sewer line. This type of flushing option generally works just fine in most all conditions.
- Power Assisted – Power assisted flushing mechanisms use an electric motor that brings air pressure into the sealed tank to rid the bowl of the waste. The tank of a power assisted flushing toilet holds water in the tank that is released under pressure. Power assisted flushing toilets are very common in commercial settings.
- Pressure-Assisted – A pressure assisted flushing mechanism has an internally sealed tank that fills with water as air pressure builds up. The force behind this pressure produces water that comes out in a blast and removes waste from the bowl.
Pressure assisted toilets are louder than other types which can be an annoyance but there is some work that is being done to correct this problem. To work correctly, a pressure assisted flushing toilet takes 25 pounds of water pressure per square inch.
- Dual – A dual flush toilet has the option of a low water flush for liquid only waste and a full flush, at 1.6 gallons of water, for solid waste removal. The problem with the dual flush toilets is that many people would not normally take the time to choose the proper flush for the situation which could result in incomplete waste removal from the toilet or a waste of water.
High Efficiency – A high efficiency toilet is a great way to save water. They typically use 1.28 gallons of water per flush rather than the 1.6 that is normally used. High efficiency options are available with many different flushing types. What makes a toilet high efficiency is the amount of water that is used per flush and not how the toilet flushes. If you want to save water, especially if you have a large family, opt for high efficiency toilets. Every little bit of savings adds up. Purchasing a high efficiency toilet can save quite a bit of money when it comes to your water bill over the course of a year. You’d be shocked to know just how much water is being wasted with every flush.
Toilet Seat Options
The majority of toilets that are sold are sold without toilet seats. This is an item that will need to be purchased separately. You will start by choosing either a round or elongated seat depending on which toilet bowl you chose. You cannot user a round seat on an elongated bowl and vice versa so be sure you know which type you purchased so you get the right seat.
The next factor in choosing a toilet seat is the material that the seat is made from. You can get toilet seats that are made from plastic, from solid wood and from pressed wood. They can be covered with vinyl and have a ring of cushioned foam or just be solid, hard wood.
Other types of toilet seat features include slow closing seats, bidet seats and warm, air drying seats too. Many of these fancier choices cost more but the consumers who purchase them really feel the cost is worth it for these special touches. Be sure to think about the features you will truly use before buying what sounds the “coolest”.
This is a strictly cosmetic aspect of choosing the right toilet, but it is one that is still important among consumers that are looking for a new toilet. The colors that toilets are available in can range from white only to something as striking and unusual as red, black or even other bright colors.
If you’re willing to put out the money, you can get a toilet in whatever color you really want. Most people go with the same color toilet that their bathtub and sink are. If you are working with a brand new build, you have the opportunity to choose different colors that will go with specific décor or tile colors. Whatever you choose, your bathroom will look much better and more elegant when the toilet matches the other pieces in your bathroom.
For additional facelift effects, repaint the walls, get a new shower curtain and new towels too which will give your whole bathroom a great new look without costing an arm and a leg. Bathrooms can look completely different without a lot of money being spent, so many take advantage of this chance to do some upgrades while they are replacing their toilets.
Measuring the Right Way BEFORE You Purchase
One of the most important aspects of getting the right toilet is making sure that you know exactly how much room you have for the new one. You will accomplish that by measuring the area that you will be putting the toilet. Many people think that they can just eyeball the space but this had led to plenty of frustrating return trips to the home improvement store to return the new toilet for another one that IS the right size.
You will be measuring the rough in size in your bathroom where the old toilet was. Measuring properly is fairly simple but must be followed to ensure that you get the right size toilet for the space and not end up with one too large.
To get the right sized toilet for your bathroom, measure from the center of the pipe that carries the waste out of the bowl, to the baseboard of the wall behind the toilet. Do not include the trim or baseboards in the measurement or it will not be accurate.
Another way to measure is to measure from the center of one of the closest bolts that holds the toilet in place. If there are 4 bolts that hold the toilet down, measure from the ones in the back.
You also want to measure side to side if the toilet space you are working with is exceptionally small. There is a standard rough in measurement that is common with bathrooms and that is 12”. You may find that the older toilets have rough-ins of anywhere from 10” to 14”.
When you are replacing the toilet, make sure you get a new wax ring as well as those can’t be reused in any way and they are important for preventing any leaks from the bottom of the tank where it meets the pipe to go out of the house.
Now that you have all of the information you need to choose the right toilet, flushing action, height, color, and water usage, you are ready to start shopping. It is much better to be prepared and have everything figured out ahead of time, rather than sorting through a bunch of toilets without knowing if they are the right kind for your needs and bathroom size as well as your budget.
Toilets can cost anywhere from around a hundred or so dollars for a very basic one, to hundreds of dollars for the more advanced, feature filled models. Decide o n your budget ahead of time as well so you don’t waste time looking at toilets you can’t afford.
Not only will getting a new toilet help you save water, it can be a way to give your bathroom a facelift as well, especially if you choose to get a new sink and repaint the walls as well. With all of the choices available, there is no question as to whether you will find something you like.
Not only are you going to make your bathroom look nicer with an upgraded toilet, you will save money and water with the new efficient designs that are available and the whole bathroom experience will be much more enjoyable for you.