Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Toilet Replacement Lids and Seats - Toilet technology revolutionizes the flush - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521


The best seat in the house, the toilet, often gets the least publicity compared with its bathroom siblings, the tub/shower and sink. Homeowners pine for the sybaritic pleasures they envision in multiperson showers and spa tubs and they usually can appreciate the cool aesthetics of vessel sinks and sleek wall-mounted faucets. The toilet, on the other hand, sits in neglect, faithfully doing its business as we do ours.
In fact, most of us know precious little of what makes toilets tick.
"Many people don't even know there are both one- and two-piece toilets," said Adriana Miller, product manager at toilet manufacturer Mansfield Plumbing.
"Others are clueless about pressure-assist versus gravity toilets."
We certainly should show more gratitude to this fixture, because we sure use it more than some fancy tub we soak in maybe once or twice a year. According to Toilet Paper Encyclopedia, the average person spends three years of their lifetime on the toilet.
Fortunately for porcelain thrones in America, the toilet is finally getting some respect in the home design department, and plumbing fixture manufacturers such as Mansfield and Kohler are finally giving the humble toilet its due.
Today's toilets are self-cleaning, deodorizing and touchless, all the while looking mighty fine in the process.
Last year, Kohler added a new touchless flush toilet to its lineup and aptly named it the San Souci, French for "without a worry." The toilet features a sensor mounted on the inside of the tank to set off the flush when a hand is waved over it, thus eliminating the handle, one of the least sanitary surfaces in most bathrooms.
Sleek and one-piece in design, the San Souci is easy to clean, a feature most homeowners love.
"The customers gravitate toward toilets that are easy to clean," said designer Traci Riddle of Kitchen Bath and Glass, a full-service remodeling company in Rockledge.
Riddle has found that the Sanagloss feature of toilets such as those manufactured by TOTO USA, the American version of the Japanese plumbing fixture company, make them very attractive, because the extraordinarily smooth glaze prevents particulates from adhering to the ceramic surface. Less cleaning means less chemicals and water used.
"Sanagloss makes it very easy to keep the toilet clean," Riddle said.
The Japanese, by the way, are flushed with success as far as residential toilets are concerned. While public facilities still retain the "squat toilets" once ubiquitous in the country, a majority of Japanese private homes now favor high-tech toilets with heated or air conditioned seats, automatic toilet openers and integrated bidets with customized water temperatures adjusted to the individual user's preference.
Back in the bathrooms of the U.S., Kohler has infused technology into the Karing Integrated Toilet, a one-piece toilet that utilizes a tankless design with built-in bidet.
The Karing's soft curves and simple lines are aesthetically pleasing, but this toilet is more than a pretty face. An intuitive touchscreen remote programs and controls personal settings for up to two users, so they can set the heated seat, dryer and water temperature for their maximum comfort. Beyond an integrated bidet, precision air dryer and deodorizing filter, the Karing also offers a motion-activated hands-free opening and closing cover and LED lights to illuminate the bowl when you stumble into the bathroom at night.
Not surprisingly, all these lights and action come with a price, about $2,850 in the case of the Karing.
For homeowners not ready to throw that much money down the toilet, Kohler offers the Purefresh toilet seat. For a $100 or so, you can own built-in technology that deodorizes bathroom air. The Purefresh contains a fan that is activated when the user sits on the seat; the fan directs filtered air over a scent pack that permeates the space.
"It can improve someone's overall experience in the bathroom, the most personal of spaces," said Jerry Bougher, Kohler marketing manager for toilet seats.
Three available scents— Garden Waterfall, Soft and Fresh Laundry and Avocado Spa — are included with the purchase of the seat. The seat runs on two D batteries for about six months before needing replacement. A dual LED nightlight runs for eight-hours.
At the Hospitality Expo in Las Vegas in May, American Standard introduced its ActiVate technology, developed to provide hygienic, no-touch toilet flushes, plus high performance and water savings, to boot.
To flush this toilet, all users need do is simply wave a hand within 2 inches of the sensor. The ActiVate models also include EverClean, an antimicrobial additive that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, stains and odor-causing bacteria.
The toilet is powered by four AA batteries that should last up to two years, if the toilet is flushed about a dozen times per day. A low-battery indicator will tell when it is time to replace them.
These ActiVate high-efficiency toilets achieve the highest bulk removal score on the Maximum Performance (MaP) test, an independent report of toilet performance. They can flush 2.2 pounds of waste with just a 1.28 gallons of water per flush, 20 percent less than standard toilets.
But wait, there is more. American Standard's PowerWash bowl cleaning technology provides a bowl that is so powerful that it scrubs the surface with pressurized water from the rim during every flush.
The company's Estate VorMax toilet omits the traditional rim overhang and those nasty tiny holes inside the bowl, where dirt and buildup thrive. With each flush, a powerful jet of water scrubs the entire bowl completely clean.
Mansfield Plumbing with its SmartClose toilet seat has even addressed that age-old battle of the sexes over the toilet: should the toilet seat be up or down.
"With a single touch, this smart seat lid closes gently and quietly, which is a great compromise for everyone in the house

by Maria Sonnenberg

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Toilet Replacement Lids and Seats - Lavatory Experiments: The Latest in Toilet Tech - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521

It is perhaps not polite, in certain circles, to talk about toilets. But nevertheless they represent an area of technology that we all encounter daily. While the basics of the commode haven't changed much in recent decades, innovators are constantly chipping away at porcelain tradition, bringing high technology to bear. And in developing countries, toilets are no laughing matter. Basic sanitation continues to be an urgent public health issue in much of the world. So squeamishness be damned! We take a look at some toilet tech from around the globe.

Designers Elliott Whiteley and Gareth Humphreys came up with the Iota folding toilet concept while studying Product Design at The University of Huddersfield in England. The toilets folds itself up to flush and stays folded when not in use, conserving water and space.

Plumbing manufacturer Kohler has similar ideas in mind with its Purefresh toilet seat, which debuted last year. The Purefresh seat also uses a fan system, but replaces the ventilation tube with a battery-powered carbon filter and scent pack system to deodorize air. Among your scent pack options: Garden Waterfall, Soft and Fresh Laundry, and something called Avacado Spa. You also get an LED light for nighttime excursions.

Anyone who has ever cleaned a bathroom knows that toilets really are designed for sitting. Males, quite frankly, mess up the whole system when they stand and aim. The Main Drain attempts to solve the problem by attaching an adjustable urinal to the side of your toilet. The receiving unit is designed to reduce splashing, and the articulated arm swings the entire unit out of the way when it's time to, you know, sit. GET MORE: How Much Waste Do We Make?

For much of the developing world, toilet technology is no joke. In 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored a design contest called The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, in an effort to improve sanitary conditions for those living without plumbing or electricity. Among the submitted designs, the Blue Diversion toilet can be fitted over existing pit latrines and uses solar-powered pumps and filters to isolate waste while recycling flush water.

The grand prize winner at the 2012 design event went to Caltech's solar-powered electrochemical waste treatment system, which actually breaks down waste into fertilizer and hydrogen gas that can be stored in fuel cells. The Caltech team -- headed up by engineer Michael Hoffman -- is currently developing the system with industry partners.

Clearly, toilet technology remains an important area of research for very practical public health reasons. On the other hand, this is the 21st century, so we have to worry about weirdness, too. For instance, so-called "enhanced toilets" -- with bidet, fragrance and even music functions -- are very popular in Japan and often wired into smart home networks. As such they're technically vulnerable to, yes, hacking. Security company Trustwave recently issued an advisory on the Bluetooth-enabled Satis brand toilet: "Attackers could cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to user." So, heads up on that.

by Glenn McDonald

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Toilet Replacement Lids and Seats - Potsdam, NY gets a new toilet garden - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521

Drivers in Potsdam, N.Y., have another yard-full of old toilets to rubberneck at today.
Hank Robar’s toilet gardens are a protest that date back more than a decade. It all started with a village zoning ruling that denied Robar a permit for a donut shop on a property he owns on Market St.
There is now an installation there, on Route 11 across from the entrance to Clarkson University, and as of Thursday afternoon a new one, on Pierrepont Avenue across from SUNY Potsdam.
Hank Robar working on his latest installation.
Hank Robar working on his latest installation.
We sent our intern Bobby Baird to check it out.
Bobby: Can you just describe what I’m looking at?
Pam: Ok, We have an empty lot, where a house was torn down, and there is an installation of toilets with poles behind them, with multicolored tape on the poles. And I’m assuming that he’ll also fill the toilets with flowers, as he has in his other lots.
Hank's Helpers, Travis and Joe, secure a toilet.
Hank's Helpers, Travis and Joe, secure a toilet.
The toilet gardens have their fans and their detractors. From the NCPR Facebook page:
“He needs to grow up and figure out another way to maturely settle his dispute with the village.”
“Lol, I like it. People need to "loosen" up a little. Flush the negative down the drain. Find some humor in this.....PLeasE!”
This doesn’t seem like it’s such a big deal to Hank.
Hank: Really, I have two other places in town, and I had to tear the house down, so I decided to do this. And I pay taxes on the stuff so I decided to do it.
Bobby: What’s unique about this installation?
Hank: I don’t know, nothing really. I know it’s in the paper, but I’ve got em’ all over town.
It’s true. Hank Robar’s latest toilet garden is much like the others, with additional security:  wooden posts and steel wiring to secure the toilets. Robar said he’s had trouble with vandals.

The "toilet garden."
The "toilet garden."
by Robert Baird & Martha Foley

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Toilet Replacement Lids and Seats - Drought flushes out old toilet rules - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521

New water-saving rules in California include a mandate that toilets not use more than 1.28 gallons per flush.

New water-saving rules in California include a mandate that toilets not use more than 1.28 gallons per flush. — Kohler Co. via AP

Let’s talk toilets, shall we? You know you want to.
Or maybe you don’t know. In the deluge of water-saving rules that followed Gov. Jerry Brown’s historic statewide mandatory water reduction measures in April, perhaps you missed this one. Beginning in January 2016, all toilets, faucets and urinals sold in California will have to meet new low-flow efficiency standards set by the California Energy Commission.
Under the new rules — which will be the toughest in the country — toilets cannot use more than 1.28 gallons per flush. Federal standards are 1.6 gallons per flush. Residential bathroom faucets cannot exceed a 1.2 gallons-per-minute flow rate. Urinals can use no more than 0.125 gallons per flush, and kitchen faucets must use just 1.8 gallons per minute. Beginning next year, all plumbing fixtures sold in California must meet these standards.
This does not mean the state will be ripping your current toilet out by its porcelain roots. The new rules do not apply until you go out and buy new fixtures. But given how much you can save, you might want to take the plunge sooner than you planned. Your toilet may not be the prettiest fixture in your house, but if could be one of the thriftiest.
“Toilets are the largest (indoor) user of water, and there are much more efficient devices available and have been available for a long time,” said Heather Cooley, director of water programs for the Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based think tank focused on water issues. “The user doesn’t experience any difference in service. They are still able to flush their toilet. It’s not something that represents a lifestyle change, but it is the most basic water-efficiency improvement you can make.”
How much water are we talking about? According to the Energy Commission, California has more than 45 million faucets, 30 million toilets and 1 million urinals. Together, they consume 443 billion gallons of water per year. The new standards would save 105.6 billion gallons per year. So while indoor water use is not the drain that our outdoor irrigation is, all those flushes add up to a flood of resources.
“We are not mandating that everybody change out their devices. We are mandating that the only devices that can be for sale in California are compliant devices. Nobody is going into anybody’s houses and taking their toilets,” said Andrew McAllister, commissioner with the California Energy Commission.
“We can only pass regulations that have a clear demonstration of cost effectiveness, and the consumer is actually better off installing one of these devices than a more wasteful device. The money they save more than offsets the cost of the thing.”
The savings can start with rebates. Currently, the SoCal WaterSmart program offers rebates on high-efficiency toilets starting at $100. Funding is limited, and you have to qualify. Go to
The California Energy Commission is also working on a rebate plan to go with the new standards. Details should be available within the next few months.
If you want to get a jump on the new rules, you will have your best luck on the toilet front. Thanks to standards enacted in 2006, toilets receiving the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense stamp of approval already meet California’s upcoming 1.28 gallons per flush requirements. WaterSense bathroom faucets use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute, so getting your hands on the new 1.2 gallons per minute models could be trickier.
“There are compliant faucets in the marketplace, and the industry is working hard to broaden the selection and get those on the shelves,” McAllister said. “Industry and retailers know what the deadline is, and they are working toward it.”
Speaking of compliance, what about the old trick of putting a brick in your toilet tank? There was a time when that was the height of water-saving technology. That time is not now.
“Back in the day, some cities had residential energy conservation ordinances that required people to put one in, but I wouldn’t recommend that,” McAllister said. “It would save a little bit of water, but it could give rise to problems.”
But once you get your new, brick-free low-flow toilet in place, will it work? Since the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992 mandated that toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush (from an average of 3.5 gallons), low-flush toilets have had a well-deserved reputation for wimpiness. With many low-flow toilets, one flush rarely does the job, which leads to multiple flushes which leads to questions about how much water are we really saving anyway?
“When the ultra low-flow standards were first implemented, there were problems with the initial models,” the Pacific Institute’s Cooley said of those early designs, which used less water but made no other technological tweaks to send waste on its merry way.
Recently, the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association took California’s increasingly tight water standards to task for causing some plumbing and sewage problems, including clogs in sewer mains and uric acid crystallization in urinals. The association wants residents to focus on more efficient outdoor watering and conservation measures like rainwater catchment and greywater technologies.
Low-flow supporters say that toilet technology has improved since the olden days. And in addition to requiring toilets consume no more than 1.28 gallons per flush, the new California standards require “a minimum waste extraction score of no fewer than 350 grams.” Let’s just assume that’s a good thing.
“Now (low-flow toilets) operate very well,” Cooley said. “Look for the WaterSense label. Not only do they look at flow rate, but their toilets have to perform well. That is an easy way to find a toilet that is efficient and effective.”
So the good news about the new energy efficient standards is that they should help you save water, thus saving you money and saving you energy. Which should help you save more money. The even better news? The new rules do not apply to showers. Not yet, anyway.
“The Energy Commission has a waiting list of device categories, and we are moving forward one by one to develop minimum standards for them,” Commissioner McAllister said. “Shower heads are in the queue.”

by Karla Peterson