Plumbers and contractors put their reputations on the line every day with the products they install and recommend. Toilets require an extra element of trust between the plumber and the customer, due to the importance they serve in a home or business, and because frequent maintenance or downtime can cause large issues. In general, professionals should consider toilets that are designed to be lower maintenance. This will reduce or eliminate callbacks due to faulty parts or clogs, and that are backed by warranties on not just the china, but the tank trim as well, plus they provide great consumer benefits.
Toilets and their associated parts also need to be readily available at local wholesalers and other suppliers. This allows for quick truck restocks and the assurance that a knowledgeable staff member will be ready to recommend different models and provide tips and extra parts. No matter where you are buying or what job you’re buying for, follow these three helpful guidelines:
Tip #1: Make Sure the Toilet Fits
Take care to ensure you select the proper footprint and bowl shape to fit within the space you’re installing the fixture. If the space is smaller, you will want to look at a round bowl over an elongated bowl, and possibly a shorter toilet to help save on space. For the best of both worlds, you can go with the newest shape on the markets, a compact-elongated bowl, which is shaped more like a heart or a peach. Making sure that you choose the best toilet shape for your space is a crucial part of selecting the right toilet for the job.
If you’re retrofitting a toilet to fit a space, but you’re not replacing the flooring, you will want to be sure that the footprint of the toilet is large enough to cover the footprint of the old toilet. Otherwise, you will have a gap between the bottom of the toilet and the flooring – something that will definitely leave your client unhappy.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Flush
As we’ve talked about in past blogs, choosing the right flush technology for your job is crucial to cutting down on callbacks. Modern, more advanced technologies within the toilet’s tank, such as vacuum-assist, are becoming more sought after for the efficiency and ease of use, but here’s a quick breakdown of the three flush technologies available on the market:
- Gravity-Fed Technology: Traditional flush technology that’s been around for nearly 250 years, utilizes a flapper and is probably the most common type of toilet, making it the least expensive flush technology on the market.
- Pressure-Assist Technology: Great for commercial applications and for high-traffic areas, this technology utilizes air pressure to force water through the toilets trapway and can be characterized by its loud, fast flush.
- Vacuum-Assist Technology: the newest technology; a flapperless toilet known for its quiet, efficient flush is perfect for residential spaces. Because of their advanced designs, vacuum-assist toilets use ambient air to force water through the trapway with nearly half as much water as the other two technologies. This modern flush is the most water-efficient while offering excellent performance.
Tip #3: Make Sure the toilet has the Right Certifications.
Just because a toilet has the flush technology that you want and it fits the space, you’re installing it into, does not mean it’s the right choice. In order to have full confidence that the fixture you’re using won’t cause you headaches down the line, you need to be sure it has the right certifications in place. Industry certifications that are a must are the EPA’s WaterSense® Certification and MaP® or MaP Premium® Certifications.
For a toilet to be WaterSense certified, it must have a toilet flush capacity that is less than 1.28 GPF and clear the bowl in a single flush 4/5 attempts. If the toilet passes these vigorous tests, then you know that you have a water-saving toilet, that is also a high-performing fixture that will keep your clients happy.
The MaP and MaP Premium Certifications can be a little trickier to come by. MaP, or Maximum Performance, Certifications indicate performance standards in HETs. To start with, the toilets MUST BE WaterSense Certified, but they also have to flush at least 600g of waste in a single flush. This is important when dealing with HETs. You need to be sure you can count on the fixture you’ve purchased so that you won’t have to deal with any annoying callbacks about backflow after installing the toilet.
These certifications are great for reducing callbacks, but they’re also great for improving your reputation with your clients. If a toilet has the WaterSense and MAP Certifications, your county or municipality may offer a rebate for replacing older toilets with the newer model. Tell your clients to check the area where they live at the EPA’s Rebate Finder to see if any toilet rebates apply to their area. Most areas offer to provide residential homes with anywhere from $50-$100 per fixture that’s installed if they meet specific requirements and replace a less efficient toilet.
Remember “Fit, Flush, Certifications” for the next time you visit your supply house or wholesaler so that you can have confidence that the next toilet you purchase will be the perfect fit for your next job.