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What's New in Toilets?

Is it time to replace a leaky toilet? Here are some of the latest and greatest in water efficiency and design

Compare the gallons per flush (gpf) on old toilets - as much as 5 - with the newer toilets that by law cannot exceed 1.6 and you'll be ready to make the switch to lower water bills.

You shouldn't run out and get the latest one-piece unit at the local home improvement store. There are too many options to consider before making such an impulse purchase. For one thing, two-piece units are less expensive and easier to lug around once they're out of the box. Some professionals claim they work better, too. However, one-piece toilets are easier to clean.

Consider who will be using the toilet. For females, the lower, rounded seats are recommended while elongated seats are better suited to male usage. The height, of course, is at your discretion.

Dual-flush models are terrific water savers as they have two settings: a light push on the handle for liquids and a firmer pressure for solid waste. You should inform guests about this feature and children should be trained to know the differences.

Two common types of toilets are pressure-assisted or gravity-assisted; the former is noisier but more efficient. The latter may be a bit sluggish and may benefit from a power-assist or vacuum-assist module.

You can now find toilets that use no water at all. While this may sound a little off-putting, they are getting some good reviews from the environmentally-conscious community. Composting toilets turn waste into soil; they are vented so there is absolutely no odor and are electric or manual. Another new idea is the incinerating toilet; waste is heated and turned to ash.

You can now add a bathroom anywhere on a concrete slab with the macerating toilet. A grinding pump moves water and waste materials along a pipe that can be installed vertically and horizontally (within a maximum range of 12 feet and 150 feet respectively) to reach the sewer line. This style is also ideal for a basement that lacks a drain.

If space is an issue or you simply desire a sleeker look, a concealed tank might be the answer. The tank is hidden, but the installation must be on an interior wall.

Design-wise you can find a style to fit any decor. Some are embellished with painted motifs. The skirted style is one great innovation as it looks more like a solid column and eliminates the intricate cleaning needed at the base of a toilet.

When considering a new toilet with regard to colors, think about the next owner. That "should" keep you from purchasing a lime green piece. When it is discontinued to make way for next year's colors, think about how hard it will be to replace that seat in a few years. Even whites vary among manufacturers so it's always a good idea to remain on the conservative side. If you must choose a decorative seat, select one that blends with the rest of your decor and save the matching one for replacement or moving time.




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