Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

When it's time for a new throne

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Most of us have lived with a wonky toilet at one time or another. A toilet that doesn't fully flush, one that uses too much water, a handle that has to be jiggled to stop the toilet from running. We put up with it daily and mean to replace it one day. Families can live with these small annoyances but when it's time for a family gathering or party, you don't want to leave things to chance.

There's nothing more embarrassing than a toilet that malfunctions during a gathering -- both for the guests and the host. An unusable toilet can quickly bring your party to a halt. Why not update your toilet now, save some cost on water bills and have a stylish commode that is worry-free?

There are many brands of water-efficient and stylish toilets on the market today that are affordable and reliable.

New kid on the block

Delta Faucet, known for their superior bathroom and kitchen faucets, is expanding its product line to include a collection of high-performance, water-efficient toilets.

Starting this month, two toilet models -- Prelude and Corrente -- will be available. These toilets offer worry-free installation at an affordable price. The toilets will come equipped with external tank-to-bowl connections on all models and integrated supply lines on certain models that together significantly reduce potential leak points. The toilets are offered in classic white vitreous china.

According to Delta, both the Corrente model (pictured here) and the Prelude model are 1.28 gallons-per-flush WaterSense labeled, and offer potential savings of more than $90 a year in reduced water bills. They also have a rating of 10 out of 10 when it comes to flushing power and are virtually clog-free, which is a good thing for hosts/hostesses and their guests.

To drive home their point Delta asked 1,000 homeowners: What do you worry about when planning a party? Only 21 per cent said plumbing issues. However, Delta advises that up to 80 per cent of plumbing-related problems when entertaining are toilet-related and 67 per cent of those asked said they were not aware of the toilet-related issue prior to the party.

Today's toilets almost have as many features as a new car. Height, bowl size, style, colour, dual or single flush, one or two-piece, self-rinsing, toilet/bidet duo and the list goes on.

The king of thrones

At the high-end in the toilet realm are items such as the Numi toilet from Kohler. It has a remote-controlled toilet with bidet that you can choose the flush type (full or eco), bidet setting, drying mode, heated seat or not. You can also control the toilet seat to retract or close, set lighting in the toilet and play music to muffle the sounds in the bathroom. The Numi toilet is stylish and ultra modern.

Tips for replacing an old toilet

If you are considering replacing the toilet yourself you might want to remember the following helpful tips:

You'll need to determine the rough-in measurement of your old toilet to be able to purchase the right one for your needs. For most toilets the waste pipe is centered about 12 inches from the wall, but it could also be 10 or 14 inches. To determine your measurement, measure from the wall to the toilet's hold-down bolts. If that measurement (including the width of the thickness of the baseboard) isn't approximately 12 inches, toilet shopping may be a bit more difficult. You may have to purchase a special-order a toilet, which will be more expensive.

If there's a door near the toilet, also measure how far the bowl protrudes from the wall. If you replace a standard bowl with an "elongated" model, the door may not close.

The experts advise that brass bolts are best to ward off corrosion. Many bolts look like brass so be sure to check the label.

The bolts on your old toilet may be seized, in which case you can cut them off with a close-quarters hacksaw.

If you are contending with a slightly wobbly toilet, use plastic shims to level the toilet. Tighten the bolts and cut off the shim ends. Caulk around the toilet to seal it to the floor.

After the toilet is in place, you'll have to squish the wax ring until the toilet settles to the floor. Don't try to achieve this by tightening the bolts as you may crack the porcelain base. The best way to set the toilet on the wax ring is to sit backward on the toilet and gently wiggle around until the toilet settles.

There are several step-by-step videos on the Internet that can help you at every stage. Before you know it you'll have a lovely new, functioning toilet and you'll be flush with pride for a job well done!

connieoliver@shaw.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2013 F6

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