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Hot Water Heaters
Hot Water and How to Heat It
There are several water-heating options available to you. While you are taking steps to save on home heating, don’t forget to see what you can do to lower your water heating costs. Check with your fuel supplier for more information, and consider alternatives to your current method.
Storage-type water heaters
Most homes have storage-type water heaters in which water in a tank is heated by a gas or oil burner or by electric elements. Traditional storage heaters have been improved with such features as through-the-wall venting for combustion units and better insulation, making them less expensive to operate. Units designed to give even greater efficiency are now available.
Instantaneous water heaters
Instantaneous water heaters which heat water as needed and have no storage tank are available, but not widely. They require little space, but they usually cost more than storage-type water heaters and more than one unit might be required to meet your needs. For electric instantaneous water heaters, upgraded wiring is often necessary.
Integrated (combination) hot water systems
Systems that combine space heating and water heating are becoming more popular. Water can be heated with a boiler or a storage-tank water heater. The hot water can be used for space heating as well as domestic hot water needs. Space heating methods include baseboard radiators, in-floor radiant heating and forced air heating when piped to an air handler. Some of these systems can also be used for pool and spa heating and snow-melting applications. Combo systems vary widely in efficiency and must be carefully designed to give satisfactory service
Solar water heaters
In solar water heaters, energy from the sun is collected by solar panels and transferred by circulating fluids to a storage tank. These heaters are typically used with an electric water heater, or one fueled by oil, natural gas or propane, which acts as a back-up for overcast days. Solar collector panels can be mounted on any unobstructed roof, wall or ground frame that faces between
Renovating a water heater
Time to upgrade your water heater? Upgrade to an electric heat pump water heater. These water heaters heat the water by capturing warmth from your home’s ambient air certified heat pump water heater uses an average of 50% less energy than a standard electrical water heater. Saving energy saves money and reduces your carbon footprint.
Eligible electric heat pump water heaters are listed in Tier 2 or higher on NEEA’s Advanced Water Heater Specification Qualified Products List for Heat Pump Water Heaters.
Replacement of an existing electric heat pump water heater is not eligible for a rebate.
Emergency replacement of broken electrical water heaters is not eligible.
The existing water heater being replaced must be the primary water heater (if the home uses more than one water heater).
The electric heat pump water heater installed must be new, in good working order, not previously installed in another home or building.
The upgrades need to be completed by a licensed contractor with a valid B.C. business license for the relevant work and a GST number.
Application deadline and required documents
You must submit your rebate application and all supporting documentation within six months of the invoice date.
Home Energy Improvement Bonus
To receive this bonus, you’ll need to complete a pre and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation by a program certified energy advisor.
Install any three eligible upgrades within 18 months and receive $20 per % gigajoule improvement in your home’s EnerGuide report.
Maximum rebate is $2,000.
EnerGuide Home Evaluation Rebate
Get a pre-upgrade EnerGuide Home Evaluation and receive a $200 rebate.
Get a post-upgrade EnerGuide Home Evaluation and receive a $100 rebate.
Signs Your Water Heater is About to Call it Quits
We bet you dedicate at least 30 minutes a day thinking about your water heater, right? Wrong—at least we hope that you have more important things to think about. Most of us never give a second thought to our water heater until we turn on the shower or sink and, behold, no hot water. The truth is, hot water heater problems typically occur long before the unit actually fails.
Poor Water Quality
You can tell a lot about your water heater’s performance just by inspecting your hot water as it comes out of the faucet. Minerals, sediment and other debris can collect in the bottom of your water heater’s tank over time. This will often produce rusty, muddy-looking water. You may also notice an unpleasant odor, or that your water has a metallic taste.
Leakage is one of the more common water heater problems. If you notice a puddle of standing water around your water heater, you should probably look into replacing the tank as soon as possible. Depending on the source of the leak, a leaking water heater could indicate an internal failure of the unit that requires immediate attention. Otherwise, you face the risk of flooding that could cause extensive damage to your home.
Do you seem to have trouble controlling the temperature of your hot water? Does the temperature suddenly go from hot to cold, even though you haven’t touched the faucet handle? Inconsistent hot water temperature is another potential sign of a hot water heater going out.
Water Takes Forever to Heat Up
If it seems to take ages for your water to get hot, it could indicate an issue with the thermostat or heating element. This may also indicate an accumulation of sediment in the tank. If replacing the thermostat or heating element, or flushing the tank doesn’t solve the problem, it may be time to replace the unit.
WATER HEATER FIRE SAFETY TIPS
Evidently, the water heater was located in an outside structure and was surrounded by flammable liquids, which helped cause the fire to really get moving and growing. Read our top water heater fire safety tips and use the best practices to limit possible fire damage caused by your water heater
Though it may seem unusual that the fire was caused by a faulty water heater, the fact is that hundreds of homes fires have been caused by water heaters in one way or another. According to the National Fire Protection Association, during the 4-year span between 2007 and 2011, water heaters were responsible for 11 percent of fires started by home heating devices. Now, let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean that water heaters are inherently dangerous or some sort of ticking time bomb waiting to catch fire. These facts just remind us that improper use and neglect of your water heater could lead to problems down the road.
GET YOUR WATER HEATER CHECKED ANNUALLY Most people don’t think about their water heater until they have to, meaning until it stops working or they discover a leak. But it pays to have a professional come over to your home once a year and make sure there are no problems with your water heater and check for any potential problems that might occur in the near future. During this check, something like a small gas leak may be discovered and corrected before it becomes a major fire hazard.
KEEP FLAMMABLE MATERIALS AWAY FROM YOUR WATER HEATER – This cannot be stressed enough, especially in light of the fact that it was reported that the Rocky Fire was caused, in part, by flammable liquids that were kept near the water heater. These were ignited, thus helping to create this huge fire. So, make sure that flammable materials such as oily rags and even paint and gas cans are kept far away from your water heater.
KNOW HOW TO SHUT YOUR WATER HEATER OFF – This is helpful for so many reasons, but it is especially helpful in regards to fire danger and prevention. That’s because if you happen to smell gas or discover a gas leak in your water heater, you will want to get the gas shut off as soon as possible
Efficient water heater.
Water Heater is an internet-connected tankless electric water heater which provides instant, endless hot water for houses, apartments, points-of-use, and certain commercial applications. Unlike all other water heaters on the market, the MODEL does not use metal heating elements to heat water. These will rust and scale over time. Instead, graphite electrodes and electronic controls are used to pass controlled electric currents through the water. This transfer of electrical energy into the water increases the thermal energy, creating heat. No rust or scale ever forms; the water that comes out is purer, energy efficiency stays at 99% for the life of the unit, and there is never maintenance required or heating elements to change.
Take a peek inside our electric tankless water heater. No metal heating elements here.
The MODEL Water Heater is the only water heater in the world that uses Ohmic Array Technology to heat water. All others use metal heating elements, which will rust, become covered with limescale, and eventually form hotspots. This 100-year-old technology causes sediment to form in the water, poor temperature control, and because the metal heating elements have to work harder to heat water over time, wastes energy.
It all started with a simple problem.
They simply didn’t work. He figured if it was happening to him, then other people were probably having the same dilemma. After doing a ton of research and developing his own prototypes, he not only solved his initial problem, the technology he invented is changing the way the world heats water. Hot water is purer. Heats to the precise temperature you want. All at a 99% energy efficiency rate that never decreases. How’s that for performance?
We’ve reinvented the way the world heats and uses water.
For the last 100 years, electric water heaters have been designed with one fundamental flaw: they all use metal heating elements to heat the water. To heat a tank full of water, the relatively small heating element must get very hot. In some cases, up to 800° F. This causes rust and limescale to form on the surface of the element. Over time, “hot spots” develop, and the elements fail.
Things You Need To Know Before You Purchase A Composting Toilet
If you’re in the market for a composting toilet there’s going to be a lot of questions floating around in your head, like where do I buy one, how can I install it, do they smell? Well, we’re going to try and cover all the things you need to know before you jump in and purchase a composting toilet.
#1 They don’t smell
If a composting toilet is maintained correctly there should be no smell at all. Fans and vents will move any unwanted smells away from your bathroom, shed, boat or RV (depending on where you have it installed and the type you have) but the only smell that should be coming out of your toilet is an earthy smell similar to the gardening section in a Bunnings or supermarket or a nursery.
#2 They are more maintenance than a
It’s true. A composting toilet is going to be more maintenance for you but if you’re looking for a composting toilet our guess is that a little extra work isn’t going to put you off. A composting toilet, whilst a little more work, is about taking personal responsibility for reducing your footprint on the planet. Composting toilets help you do this by reducing the water you use in the bathroom considerably (about a swimming pool’s worth of drinking water is flushed down the toilet every year by the average family) and eliminating your reliance on treatment plants that use natural resources to treat your waste.
#3 Some people will be weird about it
There’s a pretty good chance that if you have friends that have only ever used a traditional western flush toilet, they’re going to be like “I do what in where?” Keep this in mind for your next dinner party or get together, people will ask you questions and be part fascinated and part weirded out or worst case disgusted. A simple remedy to this is to ask them if they’ve ever been to the loo in a national park, if they have there’s a good chance they’ve used a composting toilet. If they don’t have a problem going there, what’s the problem going here?
#4 You don’t need to buy special toilet
Normal every day toilet paper is fine to put in your composting toilet. You can even throw in the roll when you’re done with it if you like! If you really want a breakdown of the types of toilet paper you can use in a composting toilet, take a look at our article called What toilet paper can you use in a composting toilet?
#5 It’s worth getting some extra
chambers/drums or a composting bin
Depending on your level of usage, purchasing some extra chambers for a batch system is always a great idea as they will enable you to swap over the compost chambers easily without having to transfer the compost to a pile in the backyard or another container. If you have a system like the Clivus Multrum CM2 extra chambers you simply remove the full chamber and replace it with an empty one while the full chamber cures in a sunny spot in the garden. If you’re using a draw type system like the Sun-mar or Ecolet range you can empty the drawers directly into your composting bin.
Note: it’s advisable not to use compost from your composting toilet on plants that you’re going to consume. Around the base of fruit trees is fine.
Urine is the safest of bodily fluids — typically it’s sterile. In most parts of the world it’s probably safer to have contact with urine than with the local water supply. Leptospirosis and schistosomiasis can be carried by urine, but if those diseases are in your area, it’s still usually better to apply urine to the soil or a compost pile than to flush it into a body of water.
The urine-diverting throne has a funnel in the front of the “drop zone” which carries the urine away to a jug for immediate use as an excellent fertilizer. This greatly reduces the volume of material that goes into the composter. The weatherstripping on the underside of the seat and lid is there to block insects. For a one-way valve, drop a ping-pong ball into the funnel; pee goes in, smells don’t come out. A water trap pipe from a sink with mineral oil in the upper part can do the same.
Why is the Carousel a Batch Composting Toilet?
A batch composting toilet system utilizes two or more interchangeable or movable bins. One is filled at a time and then turned aside allowed to cure while another bin fills — just as with twin-bin and triple-bin yard composters. By not continually adding fresh excrement and urine to older, more advanced material, the material decomposes more thoroughly, uninterrupted by the added nutrients, pathogens, salts, and ammonia in fresh excrement. Also by dividing the material, it can have more surface area, and thus better aeration. Batch systems require monitoring the level of the bins to determine when a bin has filled and a new one must be moved into place. However, because there is more surface area and the material is divided, there is often less or no mixing and raking of the material.
Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet
1. Ease of installation
The composting toilets can be installed almost everywhere. They are easy to install and are particularly popular in remote areas or areas that do not require permanent residence.
2. Save up on the usage of water
Composting toilets operate just like standard toilets, although they do not require a water source. Since they do not need water for flushing, they save up on water. They are, therefore, the best to use in rural areas or in places where a source of reliable water is unavailable. They are also perfect in places where there is low water pressure or high septic demands
3. Cheap to install
As already mentioned, composting toilets do not require the use of water or a connection to a septic or sewer system. As a result, they have fewer installation requirements, are easy to install, and are cheap to purchase. In fact, most composting toilets go for less than $1,000 and cost less to install.
4. End-products enriching the soil
the compost end products are profitable to the soil as they add nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. It operates as organic fertilizer or manure that can be used to enrich the soil. Additionally, it eliminates the need for an individual to purchase inorganic fertilizers. In residential areas, the products can be used for domestic gardening like in trees, flowers, or other plants.
5. They save up on space
Composting toilets do not require a water connection and, therefore, can be installed literally anywhere. They are, therefore, perfect for places where size is limited and can even be installed outside.
Reasons You Need a Compost Toilet
Compost toilets offer a solution to those who wish to maintain a small carbon footprint. Learn about the benefits to choosing this type of sewage system.
1. Compost toilets are truly off-the-grid and will lower your power consumption.
Ventilation and lighting aside, compost toilets use very little power. As much as 13 percent of energy used in the US is related to water. Compost toilets cut back on energy throughout the entire treatment process—from the septic system to the treatment plant—in turn helping waterways.
Take the Chesapeake Bay, for example. Here, nearly 1.5 billion gallons of wastewater from 500 sewage treatment plants flow into the bay every day. Human waste contains dangerous pathogens, viruses and bacteria which can harm wildlife and ecosystems.
2. They are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
A compost toilet is great in rural areas without access to septic or existing plumbing systems. Because they don’t need much in the way of infrastructure, these potties have a small impact on the environment. Treating waste onsite cuts back on environmental disturbances and financial costs of connecting to and maintaining vast sewage systems. Everything that goes into the toilet, including paper, is capable of being recycled, further reducing the need for commercial fertilizers.
3. Compost toilets are ideal in places that are prone to drought or where water is scarce.
More than a quarter of the average American’s household water use comes from flushing toilets. At five flushes a day, one person may use as much as 2,336 gallons each year. While federal law requires that toilets purchased after 1994 use 1.6 gallons or fewer per flush, outdated systems can use as much as seven gallons each time. Not only will you save money each month on your water bill, with a composting toilet you could also save as much as 6,752 gallons annually.
4. Humanure acts as a natural fertilizer to enhance growth of non-edible plants.
Waste created from a composting toilet can be used as an organic alternative to traditional fertilizer to help promote soil health. One person using a compost toilet can produce more than 80 pounds of organic humanure each year, and with nearly seven billion people on the planet it has the potential to serve as a renewable resource. Humanure is best used by burying the compost around tree roots, shrubs and garden beds of non-edible plants.
5. The entire system is self-contained.
There are two types of composting toilets:
- A self-contained system is connected in a single unit. These options are great when working with confined space or a multi-story house.
- A centralized system utilizes a large, centralized tank installed under or outside of the home where all waste is flushed into. This is a great option for an experience similar to the more traditional toilet.
Both systems eliminate the need to transport wastes for treatment and disposal (bye bye, septic system). Sewage and wastewater contain bacteria, funguses, parasites and viruses that can be dangerous to human health. By reducing the need to transport raw sewage (either via infrastructure or by cleaning septic systems) the risk of exposure becomes less of risk to people living in these areas.
How to Choose the Best Trenchless Sewer Repair Professional
Facing a sewer repair or plumbing project can be intimidating. Many homeowners are not seasoned professionals with years of plumbing experience, and rightfully choose to hire a professional to help tackle their sewer repair.
Find a Leader in Trenchless Sewer Repair Technology
When selecting a trenchless sewer repair professional, it’s important to find a professional who is well-versed in the latest trenchless sewer repair technologies.
There are many trenchless sewer repair methods, including pipe bursting, slip lining and cured in place pipe (CIPP). Pipe bursting, however, is seen as the superior option among these methods as it’s environmentally-friendly, long-lasting and offers a quick turnaround and less disturbance to the surrounding area.
Check for Proper Licenses & Certifications
When looking for a sewer repair professional, it’s important to check for the proper licenses and certification. Every sewer repair company should have the required certifications to install, repair and operate on sewer systems, sewer laterals, and other related plumbing issues.
C-36 License. This license is a General Plumbing license all contractors are required to have to contract plumbing work within the footprint of a home’s interior.
C-42 License. This license allows contractors to work on sewer systems and other similar pipes such as storm drains or septic tanks on private property and public right of way.
A- License. This license is required for contractors who need to have specialized engineering knowledge and skill to work on fixed works and any public sidewalk or street.
B-License. This license is a General Building license required for any structures being built or rebuilt
The Benefits of Choosing Trenchless Sewer Line Repair
Traditional methods of repairing damaged sewer lines can mean disrupting walk and driveways, digging up lawns, and creating a mess. New technologies provide a way to repair the offending length of pipe at your home, business, or commercial property
Faster, Less Messy than Former Methods
When sewer lines fail, you need a fast solution to the problem and traditional methods of sewer line replacement can be as messy as the initial sewage backup. Equipment is often required to dig up the sewer line, replace it, and cover it up. In many instances, this may require tearing up sections of driveway, walkway, landscaping, and lawn.
Benefits of Choosing Trenchless Sewer Line Repair
Time is a factor for all, and the older methods of lateral sewer line repair require two to five days to carry out. This means that you may have to deal with the problem for several days. Some trenchless sewer line, repair jobs may be finished in one day. Getting the job done in a timely manner will help you get back into your routine in Sacramento and you will not need to call the landscaper or make a trip to purchase new plants.
Lower Cost Overall
The plumber you have called may replace the lawn they removed to access the sewer line but they will probably not replant your prized rose bed. The money saved on restoring damage due to the sewer line failure may outweigh the higher cost of trenchless sewer line repair. When you factor in the costs of replacing plants and lawns, trenchless sewer line repair can be the best fix and least costly method to get your water flowing freely.
Replacing a sewer line with the conventional method requires that the leak is located, the yard trenched, the bad section of pipe replaced, the trench refilled, and sod replaced. When choosing trenchless sewer line repair the process is a little different.
How Affordable is Trenchless Pipe Repair Vs Traditional Repair?
If there’s one problem that every homeowner dreads, it’s the prospect of discovering faulty or damaged pipes somewhere on their property. Whether it’s a water or sewer line, broken pipes can cause a number of problems if they’re left unattended for too long. Traditionally, the digging required to repair or replace these pipes was a major undertaking that could last for several days and inflict significant property damage. Today, however, trenchless technology allows experienced plumbing contractors to do the same work in a fraction of the time with minimal digging.
Traditional Pipe Repair
On paper, traditional sewer pipe repair solutions are slightly less expensive than trenchless repair solutions. As this method of pipe replacement is more common, homeowners typically have many contractors to choose from.
The cost of trenchless technologies varies based on the method utilized. Two commonly-used trenchless technologies used for pipe repair/replacement are:
Lateral Pipe Lining: Sometimes called cured-in-place piping (CIPP), this technology uses existing pipe, adding a layer of epoxy resin to re-line the pipe, repairing cracks and closing gaps to prevent leakage and soil intrusion—basically creating a new pipe within the existing pipe. Costs for lateral pipe lining can range from $80 to $250 per foot.
Pipe Bursting. This technique uses a pneumatic or hydraulic head that destroys the old, broken pipe and drags in a new pipe to replace it. Pipe bursting tends to be a bit less expensive than lateral pipe lining, with costs ranging between $60 and $200 per foot of pipe replaced.
Hidden Costs of Traditional Pipe Repair Vs Trenchless Repair
There are a number of additional costs to consider when making repairs to a pipe that the sticker prices listed above simply don’t cover
For example, traditional trenching repairs don’t always include the cost of excavating the old pipe. Trenching can cost anywhere between $4 and $12 per foot; if the job is especially complicated, it may even require another contractor to perform the work. Also, if any large, heavy objects are located over the sewer pipes, there may be separate charges for relocating them before and after work is completed.
Steps to Choosing a Pipe Repair Method
As home owners we expect to replace our roofs, paint our homes, and maintain our landscaping. While these things are clearly seen to the eye, we tend to overlook the things we don’t see everyday, namely, our pipes! When a sewer pipe problem rears its ugly head what should you do? Here are three steps to solving your sewer pipe problems.
Low Quality V.S. High Quality | Why the cost difference?
A video inspection for a home can run anywhere from $99-$650 and for condominiums or commercial buildings the cost can be substantially higher due to the size of the job and difficulty to reach the pipes in question. The reason for the price difference has to do with the equipment that the company is using and what they provide you with after the inspection. Some sewer cameras cost upwards of $15,000 and produce HD footage in full color and are self-leveling (the footage stays upright), hence the greater cost. Other sewer cameras can be rented from a local home repair depot for an hourly rate and produce low quality footage, hence the lower cost. Some low quality cameras don’t even have recording capabilities, believe it or not. Sometimes, a low cost or free sewer inspection may require the customer to purchase pipe cleaning, or the company may not even give you a copy of the video (this may be because the camera used does not have recording capabilities).
Do I really need to pay for a high quality sewer video inspection?
In one word, yes. A high quality video inspection will be useful for both conventional plumbers and pipe lining contractors to give you a quote from. The reason that a pipe lining contractor especially requires high quality sewer video inspection is due to the nature of the work. Pipe lining is a very technical procedure, much more so than conventional replacement. The comparison of a low quality to a high quality video inspection can be likened to an X-ray as opposed to an MRI. An X-ray is limited to examining a few body conditions only, takes a few seconds to complete, and is very cheap. An MRI on the other hand is more versatile than the X-Ray, is used to examine a large variety of medical conditions, is much more time consuming, and justifiably more costly. Similar to an X-ray, a low quality video inspection often is done simply to identify obvious damage with the intent to replace the problematic pipe or clean it. A high quality sewer video inspection on the other hand will provide both conventional and pipe lining contractors with the details needed to prepare an accurate quote and make the necessary repairs.
What Information should a sewer video inspection include?
Pipelining Technologies, Inc. utilizes the best sewer cameras in the industry that produce clear footage and record key information regarding the problematic pipes. When performing a sewer inspection we take note of
Require a Plumbing Deficiency Report and Line Drawing
After you have had a video inspection done, the professional who did the work should give you a deficiency report and a not-to-scale line drawing of your drainage system. The deficiency report should call out areas in the sewer line that have cracks, tree root intrusion, channelling, blockages and so on. You may find that the main line has the problems and the vertical stacks have some time left before they need to be repaired or vice-versa.
TYPES OF TRENCHLESS SEWER REPAIR METHODS: WHICH ONE IS IDEAL?
The repair of sewer lines is time-consuming, costly, and disruptive to day-to-day activities. Traditional sewer repairs involve trenching. As such, you have to dig deep trenches in the street next to your home, driveway, pavements, car parks, or your back or front yard. Instead of rerouting traffic and paying lots of money to dig up such areas, you can opt to use trenchless sewer repair methods to avoid disruptions.
THE PIPE BURSTING METHOD
The pipe bursting trenchless sewer repair method involves inserting and pulling high-density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) through an old damaged pipe. The inserted pipe bursts open or fractures the damaged pipe without removing it. You have to dig holes on both ends of the lateral pipe before inserting the HDPE pipe. You have to connect a ‘bullet’ or ‘bursting’ head to the HDPE pipe and pull it through the old pipe.
SLIP LINING, PIPELINING, OR CURED IN PLACE PIPE (CIPP) METHOD
The slip lining sewer repair technique allows the installation of an epoxy liner into a damaged lateral sewer line. The repair creates a pipe within another pipe. The sewer lining or ‘cured-in-place pipe’ is tube coated with flexible resin. This lining gets pulled through the broken sewer line and inflated to harden and create a new pipe lining within the old damaged pipe.
IS THE CHOSEN METHOD FRIENDLY TO THE ENVIRONMENT?
Pipe bursting is a sewer repair method that is more friendly to the environment than CIPP. If not used well, the slip sewer lining method can release pollutants into the ground and utility lines. Research shows that some CIPP repair works have led to the release of styrene into storm-water. Styrene is a hazardous pollutant. Pipe bursting is thus safer than CIPP because it doesn’t involve the use of any chemicals with contaminants.
WHICH TRENCHLESS SEWER REPAIR METHOD IS MORE DURABLE?
Pro plumbers hold that both the sewer pipe lining and pipe bursting methods are long-lasting. CIPP sections last for at least five decades, and this can give you peace of mind. But the slip lining method may not last as long as the pipe bursting method because of the reduction of the diameter of the original sewer piping. But the pipe bursting method establishes a whole new pipe that can last longer than the ‘pipe within a pipe’ under the CIPP method.
How to Choose a Toilet
Choosing a new toilet for the bathroom can be an overwhelming experience. With so many options, configurations, and styles to choose from, you want to make sure you’re selecting the right toilet to suit all your needs.
When selecting a new toilet for your bathroom, consider your desires, budget, and lifestyle. The right toilet can drastically improve your bathroom experience, and we’re here to help you navigate through all the different things you need to take into consideration before making your final choice.
Self-cleaning toilets, for example, allow you to save time, and cuts out the need to do one of the most undesired chores in the house! Our new ActiClean Self-Cleaning Toilet is the perfect solution, using a cleaning solution combined with our powerful VorMax flushing system, with both a Quick Clean and Deep Clean cycle for a bowl that’s sparkling clean at the touch of a button.
Consider a Toilet that can Help Save Water
Not only is water conservation important to the environment, but it can also help save you money on your water bill each month. Standard toilets now flush at a rate of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) – which is less than 50% of the water used by older 3.5 gpf toilets. Due to advances in hydraulic designs, these 1.6 gpf toilets work as well, and in some cases even better than older toilets in terms of bulk removal and reducing clogs.
Choose the Right Configuration for your Bathroom
There are several different configurations of toilets to suit different needs. Selecting the right configuration will ensure that the toilet has the right look and design for your bathroom.
How to Buy a Toilet
In your lifetime, you’re going to flush your toilet an average of 140,000 times. Your toilet will also account for about 30% of your home’s water use, so replacing an old, faulty toilet or purchasing an eco friendly toilet can benefit both the environment and your bottom line. While most people are familiar with the standard gravity toilet with a tank on the back, details like flushing power, water conservation, and a model’s design should all be considered before you purchase a toilet.
Understand the mechanics behind a toilet. When you flush a standard toilet, the handle pulls up a chain, which raises a flush valve. This flush valve then releases at least two gallons (about 7.5 litres) of water from the tank into the bowl in about three seconds, which triggers the siphon to suck the contents of the bowl down the drain and into a sewer system or septic tank. However, contrary to popular belief, the tank is not the most important part of a toilet’s technology. In fact, you could detach the tank from the toilet and pour two gallons of water into the bucket by hand, and the toilet would still flush.
Consider a gravity-assisted toilet. This type is the most common type in North America. These toilets use the weight and height of the water in the tank to facilitate a flush. The tank then refills via a small gushing pipe (usually plastic) until a float shuts off the flow. If any water does happen to flow a little higher from gushing, hand-motion inside, or even an earthquake, a narrow overflow tube handles any overflow problems. So, as long as the toilet is functioning properly, no water should spill outside of the porcelain tank. This type is the staple toilet, simple, effective, and durable. The flushing sound for gravity assisted toilets also isn’t particularly loud and they are easy to repair. However, if you have a lot of people using your toilet (say, a large family) or are going to be putting a lot of wear on the toilet’s flush system, gravity-assisted toilets may not have enough power to flush consistently, after every use.
Consider a pressure-assisted toilet. Unlike gravity assisted, pressure-assisted toilets have an ‘active’ rather than a passive mechanism. This type adds pressure to the force of gravity by supplying more force than the traditional unit. Water displaces air inside a sealed cylindrical tank, usually made of metal or plastic, inside the larger ceramic tank, helping to generate a larger force. However, because the water in the tank is held under pressure, it flushes with greater force, resulting in a loud flushing sound. As well, a greater amount of pressure via your toilet can put stress on older pipes and plumbing in your home, which can lead to a leak or a busted pipe.
Consider a vacuum-assisted toilet. This type innovates on the standard gravity-assisted toilet by using a vacuum that draws the water with more force into the bowl using the rim holes in the upper toilet bowl. Vacuum-assisted toilets have a cleaner, quieter flush than other models, making them ideal for a bathroom near your bedroom, or by a quiet area of your home. However, unclogging this type of toilet requires some time and skill. To unplug the bowl, you have to take the lid off and put your hand over an opening in the tank for the plunging action to work. The vacuum-assisted toilet also costs about $100 more than a gravity toilet.
Toilet Buying Guide
When you’re in shopping mode for a new commode, remember that a big price tag doesn’t guarantee better performance. In our tests of single- and dual-flush toilets, the ones with the top Overall Scores were midpriced models. The best toilets also save water while delivering worry-free performance.
How We Test Toilets
To develop our toilet ratings, Consumer Reports’ test engineers put the fixtures through a battery of tests involving waste removal, bowl cleaning, and drain-line clogs. We also measure how loud a toilet’s flushes are
Toilets by Type
While there are many features to consider when buying a toilet, including height, bowl shape, color, style, and flushing technology, most toilets fall into one of two basic types: gravity-feed and pressure-assisted. Gravity-feed toilets dominate the market, but pressure-assisted models are worth a look.
As their name implies, these toilets have a flush valve that relies on gravity. Water drops from the tank into the bowl to move waste down the drain. They can work with as little as 10 pounds per square inch of household water pressure. Models with a beefy 3-, 3½-, or even 4-inch-wide flush valve deliver more thrust in our tests than those with a 2- to 2½-inch valve. Ask to see the manufacturer’s specifications for the flush valve.
As water compresses air within the sealed tank, it creates pressure that thrusts waste forcefully down the waste line. A pressure-assisted toilet is an especially good choice for large families, but it does have a noisier flush.
Choose the Right Toilet for Your Bathroom
is there really much to think about other than looks when selecting a toilet for a bathroom remodel? Surprisingly, yes. When it comes to choosing a commode, size, height and how well it functions should play into your decision.
THE PERFECT FIT
There are thousands of toilets on the market, but a rough-in distance, which measures the distance from the finished wall to the center of the sewer drain for the toilet, will narrow the field. The standard rough-in is 12 inches, and the widest selection of toilets is available in this size. If a bathroom remodel makes use of an existing rough-in that is another size, 10 or 14 inches for example, choices can be more limited.
There are several toilet types available. A two-piece toilet, in which the tank bolts on top of the bowl, is typically a bit more affordable. A one-piece toilet, with an integral tank and bowl, can cost more, but these units are easier to clean because they have no seam. Wall-mounted toilets add drama to a bathroom, and cleaning under them is a breeze. However, this higher-end fixture can be more expensive to install because it requires a thicker wall to mount the toilet and house the tank, and future maintenance could require reopening the wall.
Once you’ve settled on the size, shape and style, find a toilet that flushes efficiently. “You can have the most beautiful toilet in the whole wide world, but if it doesn’t flush, it’s ugly,” Williford says
Bidets, fixtures that look similar to toilets but are actually used for personal hygiene, are typical in European bathrooms, but aren’t as common in the United States. Max Isley, owner of Hampton Kitchens in Raleigh, N.C., estimates that less than 20 percent of his clients choose to include a bidet in a bathroom remodel, and most do simply because the fixture is fashionable and helps with resale. Bidets can also be useful for anyone who has mobility problems and finds it difficult to get into a bathtub or stand in the shower.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Toilet
Loo, commode, privy—no matter what you call it, this plumbing fixture is part of your everyday life. Given that the average person visits the toilet 2,500 times a year, it’s important to pick one that you’ll be happy seeing—and sitting on—every day.
Measure the Rough-in
In plumbing terms, a “rough-in” is the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the bolt cap of your toilet. Toilets typically have a 10”, 12” or 14” rough-in. This distance determines the type of toilet your plumber can install
Choose a Toilet Style and Type
Toilets come in a wide range of styles, including traditional, transitional, modern, eclectic and contemporary. Once you know what you’re looking for in a style, you can then consider the type of toilet of that best suits your needs.
Two-piece Toilets consist of two units: a bowl and a tank that is bolted on top. Depending on the model, you may be able to mix and match your bowl and tank. If you are interchanging your tank and bowl, make sure the tank securely lines up with your bowl’s bolt holes. Two-piece toilets work well with a variety of styles.
One-piece Toilets seamlessly integrate the toilet and the bowl as one unit. This creates a sleek, clean look that’s perfect for a modern or contemporary bathroom. One-piece toilets are easier to clean and install than two-piece toilets. One-piece toilets are typically found in modern, contemporary and eclectic bathrooms due to their sleek appearance.