Flushmate: Repair or go with gravity?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by DIYhomey, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Because they are the only low-flow toilets sold for many years that actually WORKED, i.e., you NEVER have to plunge or flush them twice.
    In 1992 the U.S. government mandated that all toilets sold after 1994 cannot consume more than 6 liters (1.6 gallons) per flush. What they didn't consider was that a traditionally designed gravity-fed 6L toilet isn't good for *you-know-what* when it comes to effectively flushing away solid waste.

    When we remodeled our bathroom about 15 years ago, I purchased an American Standard gravity low-flow toilet from Home Depot (because that's all they had), and it clogged the FIRST time I used it. I wanted my old toilet back! I called the manufacturer who basically admitted that low-flow toilets deliver a weak flush and that most people end up having to flush at least twice to get the job done. Unacceptable!

    I returned that toilet, did some research with consumer reports and found -- at the time -- that the Gerber pressure-assist toilets were the ONLY low-flow toilets top rated to get the job done, first time, every time, with one flush. Our Flushmate toilet has worked flawlessly for 15 years. I NEVER have to use a plunger. Pure physics dictates that an unmodified gravity-fed flush of only 1.6 gallons doesn't provide enough pressure and volume to reliably remove solid waste. Having to use a plunger to unclog excrement on a regular basis is not my idea of fun. No way--I love my Gerber Flushmate toilet.

    Got the recall kit and installed just the U-band because the stupid pressure regulator won't fit. The water supply valve is in the way. Will have to do, it's been fine for 15 years and whatever happens we've already gotten our money's worth out of this toilet... I can't recommend it enough.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Homey, you're about 10 years out of date. Toto's gravity toilets (of which I have 3), do an amazing job of QUIETLY flushing away everything. Turns out that if the trapway through which the waste goes is well designed, you don't need a rocket motor to shoot the stuff through it.

    You are correct that the old 1.6s stunk. I had one by Kohler. My Totos are night and day, including one that operates on 1.28.

    So while your answer was totally right years ago, now there's no need for the rocket motor.

    And Consumer Reports's toilet results aren't too well-regarded on here, although I will say that at least they were smart enough to recommend the Toto Drake this year.

    PS For all your gung-ho spirit about living without the pressure reducer, i wonder what your wife would think if she saw the photos and videos above, or if she had to pick shards of china out of your grandkid's skin. Or even if the thing went off moments after a child had used the bathroom, like the pissed Dad in the video above. Just sayin.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  3. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Candee, my response was to Gary Swart, who asked "And you all have these pressure assist toilets because...."

    Because...

    1. I purchased my toilet 15 years ago. AT THE TIME, it was the ONLY low flow toilet that actually worked.
    2. Over 2 million of these units have been purchased and installed under a number of brands.
    3. I am aware of the Toto brand, and they are expensive. My toilet was reasonably priced and remains a good alternative.
    4. My unit works as well as it did when I bought it. I'm not going to run out and replace it with a Toto or any other brand unless it breaks.
    4. The rush of water doesn't bother me in the least. I kind of like the satisfying "woosh", especially after having owned toilets you have to plunge.
    5. The pressure reducer physically WILL NOT FIT in my installation, as I said in my post.
    6. I told my wife about the exploding toilets. We don't have children or grandchildren and anyway I installed the U-band which will prevent a violent "explosion" if the unit ruptures.
    7. My only other option would be to replace the entire toilet. It's been fine for 15 years.
    8. I would still highly recommend this type as an alternative to the overpriced Toto brand.
    9. The only consumer reports recommended model this site has a problem with is the "green" 2-stage version. I wouldn't get that one.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
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    Anyone that pays suggested retail is getting taken...the real 'street' price on most Toto toilets is significantly less than manufacturer's suggested list...IOW, the more popular models (like the Drake - similar to yours in style) could easily be the same or even less than you paid. You just have to look around. Yes, they do have some very expensive models, sort of like GM, there's the Chevy, then there's the Cadillac.
  5. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

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    8
    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    But I don't NEED or want a new toilet. I have a perfectly good working one that I like. Toto didn't exist 15 years ago so your point is moot.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, Toto opened its plant in Georgia in 1991...21 years ago. So, yes, Toto was around in the USA. The company started nearly 100-years ago, so they're not new to making toilets, either. You don't get to be the biggest in the world by making a lousy product.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    14,790
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I think the better pressure assist toilet that uses the Flusmate would be the Kohler. They have a larger trapway and have a quieter bowl then the Gerber.
    More money then a TOTO for the Gerber and the Kohler pressure assist, but they do the job. I have sold a lot of Gerber bowls.

    [video=youtube_share;Rrcuvd2vV6o]http://youtu.be/Rrcuvd2vV6o[/video]
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  8. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    They may have opened a plant in Georgia in 1991, but they certainly weren't selling redesigned low flow toilets in my area when I bought my Gerber 15 years ago. I visited all the major plumbing suppliers in the Chicago area back then and there wasn't a single Toto toilet in sight on any of the showroom floors. Most of the toilets being sold then were just the same old design with a smaller tank capacity.

    I don't see the point of trying to second guess a purchase I made 15 years ago, especially when I'm extremely happy with the product and it has worked without a flaw all this time. Back then Kohler wasn't offering pressure assist either, at least not in my area. Gerber Flushmate was the ONLY good choice available at that time.

    The question was, "And you all have these pressure assist toilets because....?"

    Because over 2 million of them sold over a time period when little else was available that actually flushed well. They work. AND they last. AND we like them. THAT's why we all still have these pressure assist toilets.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  9. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Oh, gosh, just got home and read all this. I didn't mean to suggest that it wasn't a great purchase 15 years ago. I think I was confused about whether you were saying that there weren't presently any better alternatives, and my point was that there are. What I was concerned about was the fact that I don't think the band alone is going to do it if the thing blows. It may keep the separated half of the flushmate unit still in the tank, but if you look at the photos and videos of some of the exploded units, the pressure alone was enough to rupture the china vessel and cause an explosion of china shrapnel. Accordingly, if the thing they sent you didn't fit the tank properly, I would want them to send you one that did, because pressure reduction is I think a big part of the safety correction.
  10. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    No problem. But I've read from others who have installed the pressure regulator that the toilet no longer flushes with as much power and that it takes longer to fill, and a lot of people have ended up removing it. As far as I'm concerned, 15 years of continuous use has tested this unit to be fine, and based on the number of units sold (over 2 million) vs. the number that have failed (just a few) the odds of failure are extremely small.

    Besides, I enjoy living dangerously :)
  11. brucet99

    brucet99 New Member

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    Location:
    SoCal
    "Besides, I enjoy living dangerously "

    Still, I wouldn't flush before getting up if I were you. :)
  12. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Flushing actually releases the pressure. Then it takes a while for the pressure to build back up. All of the incidences I've heard about, no one was in the bathroom when the rupture occurred. It's a random event.

    There was probably a "run" of defective units. Instead of narrowing it down, the company is just "covering their ass" by recalling all of them.

    I guess there's no shortage of bad puns when you're talking toilets. :rolleyes:
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    14,790
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The unit "is" under pressure when you sit down to use the product. The pressure is released for just a short moment of time. If you happen to be "using" the toilet, it will be under pressure. You may want to look at the link below. I plan of either getting the kit or replacing the tank on the unit in my mother's home. I use it when I visit too.

    http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/ov...hing-Systems-Exploding-Toilet-Recall-Lawsuits
  14. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    I already know that. That's not what the previous commenter stated and what I was responding to. What the previous commenter said was:

    "I wouldn't flush before getting up if I were you."

    As if it is act of flushing that causes them to fail, which is clearly NOT the case.

    If the consumer class action lawsuit finds that the whole thing needs to replaced at their cost, fine, then I'll get in on that. In the meantime, I installed the band from the kit and I'm not going to start getting all paranoid about it. As the article states:

    "pressure can lift the toilet tank lid and shatter the tank"
    The band they provide in the kit to prevent that from happening is installed. My unit is time tested and I'm done dealing with this. If it fails,, then we'll replace it; we've already gotten more than our money's worth out of it at this point any way.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    Many things tend to fail when in transition rather than in a static situation...the transition causes stresses, and that's when things break. How often does a light bulb fail while running rather than at turn-on? The sharp release of pressure on a tank that has been expanded and contracted numerous time can fail at its weakest point. The sharp turn-off of the water from the valve can create a pressure wave. that's one reason why they put in a restrictor...it will change the pressure during refill slower, putting less stress on things. Odds are yours won't fail, but it is somewhat irresponsible IMHO, to ignore the manufacturer's engineering and recommendation.
  16. DIYhomey

    DIYhomey New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Jim, I don't know what you want me to do, because if you had read through my posts, I have repeated three times already that my installation cannot physically accommodate the restrictor. I'm not going to tear apart my bathroom to change something that's worked for 15 years. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. As CarlH said near the beginning of this topic "as long as it does not launch the porcelain lid in the air the safety problem is resolved."

    This was not the manufacturer's engineering, this is a jerry-rigged afterthought from a manufacturer who SHOULD by all rights be replacing the entire unit with the current model. Since they have not done that, I have done everything physically possible with the parts they sent me, so enough already. As I said, I'm done dealing with this. As far as whether I'm "irresponsible" or not, it's my house and it's my business, not anybody else's and everyone needs to respect that. Jesus Christ, I have much better things to do.

    So go bother "Teddy" who REMOVED his regulator after finding out it took over three minutes to be able to reflush. Sheesh.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
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