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    Get all the facts before buying a low-flow toilet

    By JEAN HELLER

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001


    Thinking about putting new low-flow toilets in your home? One national plumbing consultant says you can be happy with your choice if you do your homework.

    "There are several things to look for in picking a new toilet," said Terry Love, a Redmond, Wash., contractor whose Web site is loaded with information on dozens of toilet models. "All toilets are not alike. You can get a toilet that works well if you know the right questions to ask and spend a little extra."

    Love's tips:

    Ask about water velocity. Pressure-assisted toilets really blast water through the bowl and out the trap, but they tend to be noisy. Look for toilets with the largest opening under the flapper and the tallest tanks. The faster the water enters the bowl and the higher it drops from, the more pressure you get.

    Trapway design. The S-shaped throat of the toilet should be glazed and as clear of ragged edges as possible. An unglazed trap is rough, and material does not slip as easily over the surface. Ragged edges can catch paper and clog the trap.

    The deeper the standing water in the bowl the better. It improves both the atmosphere and the flush.

    "People spend $30,000 or $40,000 or more for a car, but they won't go $100 for a toilet," Love said. "Most new homes are built on only a 5 percent margin for the builder. He's not going to upgrade the toilets and eat into his profits. The buyer has to do it. Remember, you get what you pay for."

    Online

    Here are two Web sites that might be helpful in choosing a new toilet and in understanding more about how toilets work -- or don't:

    www.terrylove.com/crtoilet.htm

    www.toiletology.com/index.shtml

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