Posted 01-04-2005 at 15:18:04
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You don't say why the old toilet needs to be replaced. I would say that unless it is actually broken, just repair or replace the parts that are causing trouble. The old toilets worked much better than the reasonably priced low flow models I have had experience with.
About 8 years ago I had a house built, and of course they had the @#$%^ 1.6 gallon toilets, because that was what was available as new assemblies at the time. We learned pretty quick that it was NECESSARY to have a plunger very handy at all times, because you would be needing it every other time it was flushed with any amount of toilet paper in the bowl. We put up with this for several years and it worked OK unless we had company--they always plugged it up. I finally put printed instructions up in the guest bathroom about how to flush the toilet. But they were not always followed. Then a couple of years ago, my Mother In Law, who is elderly and a bit senile, came to live with us. She could never get the flushing routine right and plugged the toilet numerous times. What was even worse, was that about once a week, she ran the toilet over and didn't always tell us right away.
I had heard that old fashioned toilets were still available in Canada, but the stores I checked with only had 1.6 gallon models. I had to do something, so I went to St Vincent DePaul and bought the best used toilet I found there. It had the build date of 1968 inside the tank. I added all new parts inside the tank and a new floor seal and installed it in the guest bathroom. My MIL has only plugged it once since then and never ran it over. I have since replaced the other 2 toilets in the remaining bathrooms with old toilets. I have had absolutely no problems with toilets since then.
My replacement toilets have each cost about $30 to buy and about $15 to rebuild and install. One of them required a bunch of work with strong bowl cleaner to get the bowl looking good. Now the toilets look new and unless I told someone or they looked closely, it would be impossible to tell that they had been used somewhere else for many years.
In looking at the removed toilets, I can see why they were so easy to plug. The path that the solids and liquid that you are trying to flush has to follow is about half the diameter of the path in the old fashioned toilets. Plus at the flange where the toilet matches up with the wax seal, the passage has been necked down even more, with a flat area that seemed to catch anything that was very solid. I think that the toilet manufacturer was trying to get enough velocity with the smaller volume flush to get a proper flush by decreasing the passage volume. In the tank, the manufacturer installed a smaller volume container so that each flush would be about 1.6 gallons But this didn't work very well in acual practice.
Maybe you could find a new toilet that worked reliably if you spend more money. Some of them have air assist and other modifications to do a better job of flushing. I do not have experience with these new high priced toilets, but have read about them.
But I would not recommend buying a regular 1.6 gallon flush toilet that costs about $50 to $100. You will regret the purchase.....they are JUNK!
It is not hard to fix a toilet unless the porcelein is broken. Most decent sized hardware stores will have everything you need. And if it is the tank that is broken, tanks can be replaced easily.
You also might want to try to find a good used toilet. I think the best ones were the "siphon jet" models from the 70's and 80's--they seldom plugged and are new enough so they might not be scratched up too bad.
Good luck, toilet problems are a real hassle!