Friday, May 2, 2008

Flapper Flap

I’ve been saving my storehouse of knowledge about toilets to contribute enlightenment and dignity during the U.S. Senate race in Georgia. My least favorite candidate is DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones, who wants to do for the whole country what he has done for the county. He is the only Democrat who can achieve the impossible, which is to make me not vote against the despicable Republican, the incumbent as a result of questioning Max Cleland‘s patriotism, as if somehow Cleland may not have sacrificed quite enough arms and legs in the service of his country. Vernon Jones’ claim to fame, as opposed to infamy, is the DeKalb County requirement that to sell an existing home, old water guzzler toilets be retrofit with new low-flush toilets. My problem with this is that in my experience, the new low-flush toilets may use half the water but only clear out half the bowl. You save water per flush, but you end up flushing more.

My Pine Lake neighbor Sharon Day begs to differ with me. About the toilets. Ms. Day has remodeled several charming houses in Pine Lake. She also chairs the Pine Lake Architectural Review Board, which was recently created in response to runaway development in our little city with a polulation of 621. Anyone who has done remodeling of old houses has my acknowledged respect as an unwitting expert about toilets. Sharon Day, a writer, speaker, and coach for evolutionary living, has spoken out in our community on behalf of low-flow toilets.

She received the following inquiry:

I'm trying to talk my husband into a 1.28 gal toilet. He's not unwilling, but he's skeptical about its effectiveness. Would you speak to that? Any problems flushing everything that needs to be flushed in a single tip of the handle? Is there a particular toilet you would recommend?

Ms. Day responded, “What I've found is Glacier Bay 1.28 gal model, SKU 331-725, but it's tricky, because Home Depot has packaged two different toilets under this same name and SKU number. You have to be sure you get the one that has a normal flush valve, rather than the one with a flapperless flusher which got bad reviews.”

I suspect the “normal” flush valve referenced here is the traditional Crapper Flapper, named after its English inventor, Thomas Crapper, knighted by the Queen a century ago in appreciation for his contribution to Western Civilization and known ever after as Sir Crapper.

Ms. Day's Pine Lake home has three low-flush toilets, "the good ones," she notes, from Home Depot on Hwy. 78. She advises to “call them to ask what they have in stock before going there (be sure to ask them to look in the tank and tell you if it's a normal flush flapper. If not, they will install one for around $50.)"

Hell, I’ll install one for $50, plus offer a discount if you mention this blog.

“Happy flushing!” Sharon says.

Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter


sharon said...

Wow, I'm honored to be featured in your blog, thank you! One tiny edit, however, is that in this statement:

“call them to ask what they have in stock before going there (be sure to ask them to look in the tank and tell you if it's a normal flush flapper. If not, they will install one for around $50.)"

I obviously wasn't clear about the "look inside" and installation info. What I meant to say is:

1. Have them look inside the tank to be sure you get the "normal" flush valve, which will mean you got the "good" toilet (I should have clarified "normal". I meant it's what most modern toilets come equipped with these days--a vertical "tower" valve rather than the old style "ball cock" a la Mr. Crapper).

Then separately, 2. is that Home Depot will install a toilet for $50. bucks (not that they will replace the valve, which may or may not make it a good flusher, since usually the whole toilet design effects flushing, not just the valve).

Paw Paw Bill said...

Thank you for the clarification. A reader of my blog once said I should stick to something about which I am an expert. I responded that this would not make very interesting reading. Plumbing may be an exception. As an owner of rental real estate, I have installed and repaired more toilets than typical of a non-professional plumber. Anybody who has ever enjoyed a Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, or Charlie Chaplin impersonation of a plumber should appreciate what can happen and will happen, if you just give yourself enough opportunity. I welcome writing about this, and I always have fun telling people about Sir Thomas Crapper. I do not know where the ball cock got its name, and I am reluctant to speculate. If Home Depot will install a toilet for $50, that is a great price. I would actually not do it at any price, unless I own the property.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management
Toilet Retrofit Rebate Program
Application Guidelines
Beginning January 8, 2008, the Department of Watershed Management offers a Toilet Retrofit Rebate Program to DeKalb County water customers whose homes were built prior to 1993. This program will assist customers in replacing their old toilets with efficient water-conserving toilets to conserve water and money. The toilet retrofit rebate program will only honor purchases starting on January 1, 2008; no purchases prior will qualify for rebate. Toilets being replaced must have been installed prior to 1993.
Toilet Rebate: There are two rebate options. The first is a $50.00 rebate for the purchase of any approved 1.6 gallons per flush toilet on the list of eligible toilets (click here for list). The second option is $100.00 rebate for the purchase of any approved 1.28 gallons per flush toilet on the list of eligible toilets (click here for list).
Only the exact model names and number combinations on DeKalb County’s list of eligible toilets will qualify for the toilet rebate. These toilets have been tested in specific combinations for performance and water savings – tank and bowl number cannot be “mixed and matched” from different models. Other models may be available for purchase, but WILL NOT qualify for a rebate. Customers will only be allowed to apply for a maximum of three (3) toilets per household.
Program Requirements:
• Toilets must be installed in a property located in DeKalb County.
• Toilets must be installed in a property that is an individually metered residential dwelling as defined by Section 27-31 (click here for Section 27-31) of the DeKalb County Code (a DeKalb County Water and Sewer account verifies that a home is individually metered).
• There is a limit of replacing three (3) toilets per household. To receive the $50.00 or $100.00 rebate, each new toilet must be replacing an existing old, large capacity toilet installed prior to 1993. The $50.00 rebate option applies to 1.6 gallons per flush toilets, and the $100.00 rebate option applies to 1.28 gallons per flush toilets.
• Old toilets cannot be reused. Participants agree to dispose of their old toilets.
Program Participants:
• Please check the list of qualifying toilets before you make your purchase. Only the model names and numbers listed on the eligible toilet lists will qualify for a rebate.
• A completed application form (click here for application form) and original sales receipt(s) must be mailed to: Department of Watershed Management
ATTN: Toilet Retrofit Rebate Program
1580 Roadhaven Drive
Stone Mountain, GA 30083.
• Application form and original sales receipt(s) must be submitted within sixty (60) days of purchase.
• Rebate checks will be mailed within sixty (60) days, and will be mailed and made payable to the property owner.
• DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management reserves the right to modify this program at any time.
• For any questions or further clarification, please call 311 or 770-270-6243.


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