Joys of the john: Selecting the right one

By Tom Gocze, BDN Staff
Posted March 20, 2009, at 9:12 p.m.

Much has been written about toilets over the years. Certainly indoor plumbing is what separates us from, well, those savages who do not use flushing devices to move excrement away.

In Maine and other rural areas of the United States, many regale their young ones with stories of privies and outhouses. (I think the outhouse is a Southern thing.)

We who were born in the 20th century have known very little time without the joys of the flush toilet. One could argue over who was first, the Romans or British or the Chinese, but the point is that moving excreta away from our person has separated us from the animals.

As we continue to evolve, we have engineered better toilets that use less water to do their job properly.

There were a lot of bad things that happened in 1994, when we were mandated to use a 1.6-gallon-per-flush toilet instead of the old, proven 3-gallon-per-flush toilet.

Back then, toilet engineers swapped out 3-gallon tanks for 1.6-gallon tanks, did nothing else to the toilet, and we all learned the joys of multiple flushing. We actually were using more water.

Those dark ages are behind us now, and we live in the golden age of high-performance toilets.

We have reports annually, telling us about the performance of toilets.

Here is one report that is put together with funding from the U.S. and Canadian governments and has some graphic data on toilet performance: www.cwwa.ca/pdf_files/freepub_6Ltoiletreport04.pdf.

I have used several high-performance toilets in my role as a TV renovator. As a contractor who has the duty of choosing the proper commode, there is hell to pay for making an improper choice.

So after enduring slings and barbs in years gone by, I resorted to the Internet and researched my choices carefully.

My first high-performance choice was an air-assisted flush. It worked well, but was really noisy. And it required more maintenance than I felt a toilet should require.

My next choice, several years later — again after much research — was using a toilet from a company called Toto. This is a giant toilet manufacturer from Japan that also makes many high-tech toilet gadgets. It makes a great toilet that got outstanding test results.

I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say, the Toto is a heavy-duty, BIG TIME performer.

And the name cracks me up!

And it has a seat that closes slowly without making a lot of noise. Cool engineering.

The most recent toilets I have used have been the American Standard Champion toilets. They work well. And you can’t make as many jokes about their name.

There is a problem with all toilets, though — it is toilet paper.

On one of our recent TV show projects, we had a sewer line that needed to be cleaned out. A technician from Nichols Plumbing and Heating in Brewer came in to clean it and shared a lot of his knowledge of toilet paper. He gets to do this all day long and knows what gums up the works and what doesn’t.

Without risking a lawsuit from the offending parties, let me say that any paper that is really soft and cushiony is much more likely to hang up in your drain pipes and cause a problem.

What is the best? Scott. It is straight-ahead TP.

And check out the Toto, if for no other reason than to say, “Can you show me the Toto?” It’s at the Frank Webb showroom.

Questions for Tom Gocze should be mailed to The Home Page, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329. A library of reference material and a home-project blog are at www.bangordailynews.com/thehomepage.html.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/03/20/business/joys-of-the-john-selecting-the-right-one/ printed on September 22, 2014