Toto Drake or Gerber Ultraflush Vs Charmin Toilet Paper

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by learning92, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. learning92

    learning92 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    PA
    I've been learning tons on this forum ever since last November when our sewer line clogged and backed up into the finished basement (another story), but in spite of at least 5 hours on this forum (yes, I'm motivated to figure it out this time :), I haven't been able to find threads with these questions, so here goes:

    I'm replacing a 4 year old low-flow Kohler toilet that is having issues with clogs and overflow from the tank. It's in a 50 year old house with original plumbing. It's also a rental, and against my request, the tenant continues to use Ultra Charmin toilet paper, even though it's one of the worst for disintegration, from what I've been reading.

    The debate is between the Toto Drake or Gerber Ultraflush. I read the previous threads comparing the 2 in other regards, as well as the MaP ratings, but I'm wondering with my 2 issues, which would work best?. The 2 issues are:
    1. non-disintegrating Ultra Charmin toilet paper
    2. Old plumbing that may not be vented correctly (no idea, but I've been reading that can be an issue in old houses)

    Thanks in advance
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
    New England
    I'd lean to the Drake. My mother often buys that toilet tissue and doesn't have issues. FWIW, a toilet will flush fine without a vent...it may affect other things when it does, or it may be affected by other things when they dump waste, but in and of itself, it should work fine. Now, if the old pipes are not sloped properly, has a belly in it somewhere, or has any sort of obstruction in it, all bets are off.
  3. learning92

    learning92 New Member

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    7
    Location:
    PA
    Thanks, Jim! I appreciate the input (great to know the venting isn't a big deal) and will wait to see if anyone else wants to weigh in with further info.
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    I too would opt for the Drake. I have a Drake and a Dartmouth which is similar to the Drake and never have had a hint of a problem. I do make it a point to avoid the quilted brands of TP, but I think as long as the use of quilted paper is in moderation, one should not have a problem.
  5. learning92

    learning92 New Member

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    Location:
    PA
    Thanks, Gary.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Bothell, Washington
    Many 1.6 gallon toilets will have a drain line carry of about 58 feet.
    Hiowever, I think they go farther than that with smooth pipe.
    The last place I lived, it was 250 feet to the main sewer.

    If you need to push it though. Something with a 3" flush valve, or even better would be to push it with a pressure assist from Flushmate. Kohler makes a nice bowl that you can get with a Flushmate.

    [video=youtube_share;Rrcuvd2vV6o]http://youtu.be/Rrcuvd2vV6o[/video]

    Video of a Koher pressure assist taken at the Flushmate factory in Detroit Michigan.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

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    Learning92, the reality is that if you really need to blast stuff out of the bowl, then the Flushmate pressure assist can help. You can get that on the Gerber Ultraflush. However, with minimal venting, the danger is that the thing siphons water from other bowls on that line, or siphons the traps on connected sinks or showers. It's also loud.

    We have installed two Toto Drakes and a Carlyle II (1.28 gpf) in our 100-ish-year-old house. I believe that the plumbing was somewhat redone in the 1950s, because we still have a number of 1950s-vintage American Standard toilets, so we are talking a similar home age to yours.

    One advantage of that old plumbing is that the pipe diameters for water supply and drainage would be considered top-of-the-line today (4" drain lines instead of 3", large water supply pipes so there is almost-imperceptible reduction in pressure elsewhere when a tap is opened somewhere, etc.). Our plumbing was done right in the 1950s and plumbing issues for us are extremely rare, just maintenance of stems and seats and valves and such. I had to have a guy snake the kitchen drain today -- it clogged where it intersects with a drain from the bar sink but before the main drain line -- and I realized that we have never had to do this before, and probably will not again. So hopefully you are in the same boat.

    Anyway, let's just say that I am well-familiar with the paper brand in question and its properties. I can tell you that normal usage of that brand in a Kohler low-flow produced daily clogs, which is why I replaced it with a Drake. Since then, normal usage produces no clogs. The only time we have ever had an issue with that brand in any of our Totos is when a person was grossly-unreasonably-overzealous with the amount of paper that they decided to flush. Upon declogging them, I decided that virtually no amount of shoving would get that volume of paper through a 2-1/8 inch trap, so I don't think a pressure-assist would have helped. This is especially true because the pressure-assist normally tends to disintegrate the paper a bit, and this stuff, as you know, has a high fiber content and doesn't disintegrate basically at all. You should see what it looks like when they open the septic tank to pump it -- it's all still there like the day it was flushed. (Or at least it seems that way.)

    So I think you would do well with the Toto. It has a powerful flush, but is less-likely to siphon other drains than a pressure-assist would be, and it is relatively-quiet. In more than a year's experience with the exact brand of toilet paper in question, unless the people are really piling it on before a flush, it will do just fine.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  8. learning92

    learning92 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    PA
    Thanks, Terry and WJCandee! Cool video. Because of what wjcandee mentioned about possible siphoning, I'll likely go with the Toto Drake (even though I'm not sure if the siphoning would just cause gurgling in the sink, say, or would cause more serious problems). Anyway, I've been searching on here to confirm that the flapper and fill valve adjustable to allow more water to pass through if needed, but haven't found that info. I'm wondering if they're adjustable on the Drake, and do you recommend the Korky or Fluidmaster? Finally, I read on ConsumerSearch that this uses a towerflush mechanism. Somehow I was thinking I should stay away from those, as the one I'm replacing has the towerflush mechanism. So....
    1. Are the flapper and fill valves adjustable on the Toto Drake?
    2. Is Korky or Fluidmaster best (saw both at Lowes), and
    3. Does the Drake use a towerflush mechanism?
    Thanks, and sorry if these are silly questions. Have really appreciated the good advice on here.
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    14,929
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Consumersearch is wrong.
    The Drake CST744SG comes with a 3" flapper flush valve.
    The Amerian Standard Champion came with a flush tower about eight years ago. That has been changed out for a flapper system.

    But again, the TOTO Drake CST744 series uses a 3" flapper.
    If you need more water, the handle can be held down. That would drain about 2.5 gallons in seconds.
    Or you can pick up a Flushmate equipped toilet that has a very good drainline carry. Kohler makes a good model, as does the Gerber.

    I perfer a Korky over a Fluidmaster for a fill valve. However, performance of the flush will be similar with both. It doesn't make much difference in that regard.
  10. learning92

    learning92 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    PA
    Thanks so much, Terry!

    2 questions:

    1. For the Toto Drake CST743 (going with round to save a few inches), can I get a flush valve that is adjustable?

    2. I've been looking into the siphoning issue (per wjcandee: "..with minimal venting, the danger is that the thing siphons water from other bowls on that line, or siphons the traps on connected sinks or showers"). Am I right that if the pressure-assist model were to siphon the trap on, say, the bathtub, the bathtub drain would just gurgle rather than not draining, or worse, forcing waste water up the bathtub drain? Are there other consequences of siphoning I should know? Thanks in advance.
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