Friday, April 24, 2009

Mile High Fixie: flushed with pride

The Happy Kitten Highrise, Guy's and my humble abode, was originally built in the early 1960s and then converted into condos in the early 1990s.  Our plumbing fixtures appear to date back to that time as well, especially our toilets.  We have two, and they each have tanks that hold about 3.5 gallons, which is way more than the typical water-saving 1.6 gallons that are readily available today.  When the 1.6gpf (gallons per flush) toilets first came out about ten years ago, folks in Da Biz (design and construction) used to call them two-flush toilets because it took that many to completely evacuate the bowl (as in, get rid of floaters, if you know what I mean and I think you do).  Their design has been improved, though, and more recently-built 1.6gpf toilets work pretty well.

About five years ago, Toto developed a true two-flush toilet, but they called it a dual-flush toilet.  Wanting to take yet another step towards environmental responsibility, the tank had two buttons on the top of the tank instead of one handle on the face of it (like most toilets) which controlled two different flush volumes.  One button supplied 0.8gpf for a "number 1" flush and 1.6gpf for a "number 2" flush.  Miss Kitty and I thought it was the coolest thing ever, but it was priced at $500.  Hell with that--I'll just flush every other time I go.  As you can imagine, though, that little save-the-earth tactic makes your bathroom reek, and added to that was the frustration of having old toilets that use 3.5gpf and still can't evacuate the bowl, which makes having company over a bit unnerving.  It was time for new toilets, but y'all, toilets are expensive.

As usual, Guy the Preeminent Shopper found us an Alexis dual-flush toilet at Sam's Club of all places for $106 including tax.  I know, $106!  It uses 1.1gpf for the number 1 flush and 1.6gpf for the number 2 flush.  Sweet!  But now, we have to install them.  So, Guy installed his first, then mine.

He took the tank lid off my toilet and rooted around in there.  I wanted to take pictures of him while he performed Operation New Throne, but I didn't want to bug him.  Even Maddy wanted to know what Papa was doing.

Guy took the tank off completely, and I opened the sliding door onto the balcony to let him put the old toilet detritus outside.  I took this shot and realized how grody the wall behind the tank was.  Eeeeuuuww.

He lifted the basin and base up off the floor and staggered outside onto the balcony with it.  I reiterate: eeeeuuuwww.  To Guy's credit, he did a great deal of clean-up before he installed the new toilet.  The entire process took maybe an hour tops.

And now, the final product...
Eeeeeee!  Look how cute it is!  Even the little chrome button on top is cute!  And oh, y'all, it flushes like a real toilet should.  I push the button and it goes WHOOSH! and then the bowl is empty and then the tank fills up in like ten or so seconds and then the bathroom is quiet.  Y'all, I can't even tell you how happy I am that my toilet works.
Maddy, however, was unimpressed.  She yawned and left.


xtine said...

1) I am SO jealous!
2) Love the pun in the title
3) Matt and I, being on septic tank, don't flush a lot. We flush after #2s, because of the stink issue, but we more than make up for it with not flushing after most #1s. But...I always have to remember to check when we have guests over.

I wonder if they have these toilets at our sam's...

Willderness Gina said...

Living in the Sticks where we have to pay import tax on sun shine, we have a well (uses electricity) and a septic tank. My solution (but not my husband's) is to stop up the tub drain when I shower, dip it out in to 5 gal buckets and pour that into the toilet. Twice a day I use the tank water cause it's got a clorene (sp) tablet in it. I found out the hard way that mildew grows under the rim (we've got one you can't reach easily) and makes a real annoying smell you can't find.

Miss Kitty said...

Thank GOD, you finally took out that piece-of-shit (no pun intended) old terlet and put in a faintzy new one. Now I can take a REALLY big dump in your 'mode, and maybe it'll actually all go down on the first flush.

ChloeB said...

Here in Australia, the dual-flush toilets have been the norm for years now and the same price as regular cisterns, thanks to our current never-ending drought and some fairly strict water use restrictions in some areas. My in-laws visiting from Canada a few years ago were quite confused by them, but thought they were great once we had explained the principles behind them.

And to Wilderness Gina, why don't you just flush the toilet in the usual way, and then pour the bucket of water into the cistern before it has a chance to fill? That way you would get the chlorine with each flush.