CHOICE membership

Toilet Suites


#1

Yes, I’m looking for the low down on getting a good buy in a replacement toilet suite.

Why ask?

Well, it’s one of those items that taking for a test drive might not be possible. And what one person feels good on might not be the same for another?

It’s also an item that once it has been installed may be difficult to get warranty on. Every one flushes different? That’s the pedestal cistern performance I’m referring to.

Suites vary in cost between a few hundred up to over $1,000. Or more for a proper full service Toto with electric powered seat!

I suspect that the Wels rating is not reliable verses flushing performance. The water volume change might be accurate, but how do you measure the effectiveness? The ability to avoid a second flush. Some toilets flush right first time. Some often need a second flush, defeating the water saving?


#2

Apparently we have different worries in life than Americans :wink:

There are numerous US sites that have reviewed toilets, including Choice’s sister (big brother?) Consumer Reports, but little here I could find for our market except a glib overview suggesting (against common sense) they are mostly a much of a muchness

and anecdotal reviews on productreview.com.au that suggests some of them are pretty ordinary.


#3

While it may not be possible to open up to full throttle, it is still possible to test the comfort of the seat by sitting on it. Many new toilets are compact to make them look sexier and to take up less room, but this makes the seating position a little more crampt for those who may be carrying a wide load.

Always sit to ensure that there is sufficient room for both comfort and also enough gap at the posterior for hand movements.

Also check the load limits to ensure any heavy loads don’t end up cracking the clay,

Water saving is best for yellows as these don’t need high volumes to make them disappear, maybe look at higher full flush volumes to ensure second flush does not result in double flushing.


#4

Yes, a dry run is possible in store where they have a wide range to test. Yet to find a store with a range set up for a more thorough test. Any way who would have the time to try them all out? The old Caroma was built for comfort and a good read ahead of style. It might be the ‘gold’ standard? Some of the newer models appear to require a fashion statement rear to match. I’m long out of fashion!

it’s simple plain good advice to try before you buy, as far as is practicable.

Perhaps if there is sufficient interest the diverse range of Choice lab staff could do a few internal surveys to determine a range of suitable test loads and identify a range of relevant test conditions.

As noted previously

A good buying guide backed up with a calibrated flush test might be all that is required. Which models do the job with a single full flush at the nominated water volume setting for all samples 8/9 out of 10 flushes. It’s the ones that repeatedly refuse to single flush some or more of the test samples that need weeding out. Some cisterns seem to let go with a hugh gusto and no result, while a modern rimless bowl takes its time and who knows?

As to durability, reliability or quality of manufacture, these are difficult to assess objectively without great effort. Common sense says a good suite should last decades with only minor attention. I know of many that have made 30, and some newer ones that did not make 5 (cistern water leaks and fill/flush mechanisms)?

If you follow the guides in any expensive home fashion magazine, then may be their advice is correct. All bathrooms and kitchens date and we should be doing a full replacement every five years to ensure our properties do not date and retain their million dollar values. (Not likely for this home!) I get to read these while waiting to see my GP. It’s great to know the practice staff are up with all the latest trends professionally and at home. :rofl:

p.s. @TheBBG, thanks for the link to the big sister.


#5

We bought cheap slim fit low water usage Chinese toilet suites with soft close seats from Bunnings about three years ago to replace the existing ones. Still working perfectly.

They were so much cheaper than the others that we could replace the whole thing and still be a-head!

Even toilet suites are becoming disposable commodities.


#6

I think that there are a number of factors on which toilets can be rated, and it would be very useful to have a rating system.
One thing that that I’ve become aware of recently is the noise level of the flush. I have one toilet that flushes so loudly that it wakes anyone sleeping in the bedrooms nearby. The other one, where noise is less of a problem because situated off the laundry and further from the bedrooms, is much quieter. I’ve been wondering about what the main factors affecting the noise are? Tried turning down the refill tap (to reduce the inflow of water), but that just changed the noise but didn’t really reduce it.


#7

I’m no expert, but I believe it has to do with the design & state of repair of the toilet cistern water inlet valve.

Repairing or replacing the offender might mollify the nearby sleepers. Replacements are available including third party generics.


#8

Thank you! Some of those links look very helpful and I’ll do some testing when I have time. I do know that it’s unlikely to be the two bits I’ve replaced since I’ve lived here, but I’ll systematically try the other suggestions.


#9

Good point, having standard/readily available consumables such as valves, seals and washers is also important because if they aren’t readily available, it may be a costly exercise to repair.

Many common brands use the same flushing mechanism across models over many generations of the same model…making finding parts very easy as they are often widely available from most plumbing retailers.


#10

While it may be easy to do a lot of these jobs ourselves, some do require a licenced plumber to carry them out or to certify they are done correctly under a State/Territory’s laws. While I am sure they aren’t going to snoop on what you do in your home, if something does go wrong you could be in a bit more trouble than just getting it fixed.


#11

One gotcha may be household and home insurance. If you need to make a significant claim for water damage due to a leak or failure, the insurers inspector may find something that does not meet the codes or good workmanship. If it is by your own hand it may be an interesting dance that follows. Do you have the plumbers name and contact for who did that recent repair?

Some of us consumers may have the necessary skills and knowledge, without the backup licenses. For some work the risks of making a mistake may be inconsequential? For many tasks the cost of paying a trade may not be so great if we get it wrong DIY.

I try to save up all my little jobs where possible and have a tradie do all in one visit, which saves.

For those DIY Jobs considering the skill set and knowledge required and understanding all the risks might be the most important step?


#12

Good points @grahroll & @mark_m.

I’m old school and do all the minor repairs around the house. With plumbing, I’m not really sure where the demarcation line is with requiring professionals. Usually I call them in if it’s too specialised, too big, or too complex for me to do.

Changing whole toilet suites was definitely one I left to the professionals.


#13

Qld outlines a lot of what you can do yourself:

"Do it yourself

There is some plumbing work that you can do yourself or have done by an unlicensed person. For sanitary plumbing and sanitary drainage, this includes:

  • cleaning or maintaining ground-level grates to traps on sanitary drains
  • replacing caps to ground-level inspection openings on sanitary drains
  • maintaining an above or below ground irrigation system to dispose of effluent from an onsite sewerage facility.

For water plumbing, this includes:

  • installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from an isolating valve, tap or backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the irrigation or lawn watering system
  • replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
  • changing a shower head
  • replacing a drop valve washer, float valve washer or suction cup rubber in a toilet cistern."

From my untrained understanding installing a valve washer but not the valve is acceptable ie you should legally have a plumber replace a tap or actual valve.

The following is a brochure about what they term notifiable work and may be of interest to some:


#14

Interesting. I read the QBCC pdf doc, and it seems to focus on installations and extensions to plumbing and pipe work, and does not mention maintenance.

The other material you quote from Queensland Plumbing Laws all seems to indicate you can do work after the pipework finishes. For example in the shower, the pipe stops at the wall, so you can change the shower arm and head. In the toilet, I would interpret that to mean the piping stops at the stop ■■■■ and you can work from there on in.

This to me indicated that these are just samples of things that can be done. It is not intended as a comprehensive list, nor does it seem to exclude other work as I indicated above.

Perhaps I am reading too much into it?


#15

Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to whom all the responsibility devolves are a bit more pointed in regards to those lists:

"Work that can be done by an unlicensed person

Below is a list of the unregulated work that can be performed by an unlicensed person; all other plumbing and drainage work must be done by an appropriately licensed person. (My bolding)

Sanitary plumbing and sanitary drainage

  • cleaning or maintaining ground level grates to traps on sanitary drains
  • replacing caps to ground level inspection openings on sanitary drains
  • maintaining an above or below ground irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from an on-site sewerage facility.

Water plumbing

  • installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from an isolating valve, tap or backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the irrigation or lawn watering system
  • replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
  • changing a shower head
  • replacing, in a water closet (WC) cistern, a drop valve washer, float valve washer or suction cup rubber."

#16

Thank you. I missed that nuance.

QBCC obviously needs you to edit their material to make it more understandable :slight_smile:


#17

roflol (plus some characters to make up at least 20)


#18

I think movie photography is required, especially if trying to settle the vexed issue of whether the water swirls counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.


#19

You might also consider that the greater majority are made in China, and will swirl accordingly. :thinking:

Did you mean to suggest that being made in China there might be a need for spying on us? How low! :rofl:

More seriously, our recently purchased China made suite has been a marginal purchase.

  • the flush is boldly loud
  • the initial water level was too low to flush effectively and appears to need more than the 4.5l/3.0l WELS volume to be consistantly effective.
  • and the manual has the full and half flush buttons opposite to correct function.

On the positive

  • it refills quickly and quietly
  • as a back to wall design can accept water connections from any either side on floor, centre or rear wall,
  • and as new with a special slippery finish might challenge even a gecko to cling to?

It is also a raised height pedestal design for older knees and has a very sturdy base. It has a rimless design, which costs more to have less!

It is not as great a library accessory as the old Coroma. But with only one loo library time is for elsewhere! :wink:


#20

We run a plumbing company. So my advice is as follows:-
You need to find a suite that suits the centre of the waste of your existing toilet (i.e there will be a distance from the wall to centre of waste if S-Trap, as long as this has been installed directly over the sewer connection point. P-Traps go through the wall.) Off-centre waste, can cause problems with blockages. If you don’t currently have a porcelain cistern, you may not have the fixing in the wall to support the weight and may have to go with a plastic cistern). If you existing toilet is an old 9 ltr flush or a 4.5/9ltr flush you may have to use full flush more often on the new 6/3 ltr flush toilets if your underground drainage does not have enough fall. This can be overcome by reading the “Choice” Review on the time it takes for different toilet paper to break down, faster break down of toilet paper, less chance of problems with blockages.
Finally when picking a toilet, try and go with a well known brand that has universal parts to suit. Plumbing suppliers are the best to deal with. We have numerous times been asked to service fancy toilets that have been bought in upmarket dwellings only to find out, parts are not readily available and prices are in excess of a new toilets suite. Good Luck