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DayCreek Journal

January 25 , 2003

And Toto Too!

Remember those warm weather days just a few weeks ago? I guess I never should have bragged about all that warm weather! Temperatures dropped below zero this week for the first time in ten months making it a rather long walk to the outhouse. Envisioning frost bite in strange places, I decided that now was a good time to purchase and install an indoor toilet.

I never realized how many different toilets there are. There are hundreds and hundreds of makes and models. Some from the US, Canada, Mexico, China, Australia and who knows where else. It's enough to make your "head" spin!

The US government back in 1995 mandated that toilets only use 1.6 gallons of water (or less), which is quite an improvement over toilets sold just a few years prior. Although this is a good thing from a water conservation standpoint, there's more of a risk that they may clog or not clean properly with a single flush. What good is a water conserving toilet if you have to flush it more than once? With that in mind, I focussed my search on functionality instead of cosmetics.

An article from Mother Earth News gave me a good place to start on my quest for the perfect toilet. My first choice was a toilet made in Australia. The dual-flush Caroma was highly rated, but a bit on the pricey side. The toilet has two buttons: one button for "a number one" and another for "a number two".

After listing the pro's and con's I decided against the Caroma because of the "drain" on my pocket book, but when I told my friends about this, they took up a collection to help pay for the toilet. They said that the toilet was "So You". How a toilet could be "So You" is beyond me, but considering they were willing to make a donation, what could I say? (They must have thought it was cute to have a button for a "number one" and another for "number two".) Actually, all kidding aside, it is a smart idea. This would help cut water consumption by requiring only 0.8 gallons for liquid waste and 1.6 gallons for solid waste.

Caroma's are not the easiest toilet to find here in the US, but it just so happens that there is a distributor of the Caroma toilet in the Chicago area, and although it is on the other side of town (50 miles), I thought it wise to see the toilet in action before making the "plunge". (The distributor has one on display—sort of — it's used in their office.)

After a bit of a drive, I arrived at the plumbing supply store. I asked to see the Caroma toilet that they had on display and the fella behind the counter took me through their stock room and finally to their back room where low and behold, a restroom appeared. He demonstrated how the two-flusher worked by pressing the "number one" and then the "number two" button. Sure enough, there was a small flush and then a big flush. Wow. Cool.

He explained how the toilet slides onto the toilet flange and is bolted directly to the floor. Hmmm...!!! Bolted to the floor? Typically, toilets are bolted to the pipe flange. Having a concrete floor with radiant floor tubing running through the slab, I wondered what my chances would be drilling a hole into the in-floor tubing. (I envisioned a 100% chance of that happening—Murphy's Law!)

Happiness is a warm seat.

I guess I probably could have come up with a platform or something to circumvent the problem, but I just didn't think it was worth the extra time and effort.

Maybe when it comes time to put in the upstairs toilet, I'll consider it again. It looks like a well made toilet, but I wonder how hard it might be to get parts for it if it breaks? So on to plan "B".

Another toilet manufacturer that was given high marks in the article is Toto. Some of the advantages of the Toto toilet are a large and fully enameled trap and large diameter flapper that creates a quick flush. (Most of the toilets that I saw in the home improvement stores were all narrow 1.5" traps which could potentially cause clogs.) So I ordered the Toto toilet from a local distributor here in N. Illinois and it finally arrived on Monday.

"Flushed" with excitement, I trucked it on up to the house and installed the Toto toilet. This is the beginning of a new era for Day Creek—We've got indoor plumbing! (Sort of.) The walls to the bathroom aren't up yet and the tank has to be filled with a garden hose, but it's a "relief" to not have to walk all the way to the outhouse located in back of the pole shed.

Happiness is a warm toilet seat and a Toto too!