How to choose a toilet

 

ImageIf you thought that choosing a toilet was a simple business Bill and Melinda Gates would disagree with you. They are prepared to invest millions of dollars to choose the right technology. What about you?

Not sure about the millions, but here are some tips to make an informed choice 🙂

Shape & Style

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Eccentric

There are three main configurations of toilet suites: one-piece, two-piece and wall-mounted toilets. Two-piece sets tend to be more affordable. However one-piece suites are easier to clean and fit better into contemporary or modern spaces. Wall-mounted toilets offer the most dramatic effect design wise, but might come at price and need specialist care for the future maintenance.

Styles also offer generous choice and mainly distinguished by cleaner, concealed look or more exposed features. Here are some of them:

Wall faced

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one-piece

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wall faced

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concealed

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close coupled

One-piece

Close coupled

Concealed          

Connector/Link

High tank

Eccentric’s choice

 

Make

Some of the most common materials include porcelain, ceramic, plastic or even steel (if you have a special spot for plane aesthetics). You can have the body of your suit gold-platted or hand painted too. When choosing, consider the manufacturer’s reputation and guarantees as well as the properties of the material itself. 

Connection

Types of toilet pans:

S-trap. Most commonly used in Australia. Connects directly into a floor mounted pan collar.

P-trap. Pans have either a horizontal or angled outlet spigot which connects directly into a pan collar

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link/connector

mounted on the wall.

Skew trap. Skew trap version pans are available in left and right hand models with a horizontal or angled outlet spigot which is offset at 90° which connects directly into a pan collar mounted on a side wall.

Set-out. The “set-out” is the distance from the wall to the centre of the waste outlet. The set-out can vary greatly depending on the age of the house. Most new homes will have a standard set-out of about 140-165mm, which will enable most toilet suites on the market to be installed. However, if the set-out is more than 200mm or less than 100mm, it will limit your choice in the type of toilet you buy.

Bottom or top (back) inlet. Cisterns also have what’s called a bottom or top (back) inlet. This means the water enters the cistern at its base, usually from an outlet on the wall, or it enters the cistern at the top, via a specially designed hole at the back, so that it is concealed from view. Make sure your plumber knows whether you are installing a top or bottom inlet cistern, or you could find your water line is in the wrong place!

Performance

When choosing your dream toilet suite, compare options on the following metrics:

  • Comfortable size: Is the toilet too small for a large person? Try it out. All of you.
  • Elevated height: For anyone who struggles while lowering and raising themselves, or for those basketball players.
  • Cleanability: If you consider the ease of cleaning a toilet the most important feature, a smooth-sided bowl is the best choice.
  • Quiet flush: if you are a ‘night owl’.
  • Power flushing: Many toilet manufacturers have their own patented flushing systems designed to exceed performance standards. Most of these designs use water pressure to compress air in a chamber. When the toilet is flushed, the air pushes the water out of the chamber at high velocity, flushing the toilet with less water.
  • Automatic seat closing: Some toilets are designed with a slow-moving hinge that gradually lowers both the seat and lid. Doesn’t      this sound like the perfect solution for the lone woman in an all-male household?
  • Insulated water tank: To prevent a build-up of moisture on the outside of the tank (a breeding ground for mold and mildew), many      toilets have an insulated water tank.
  • Two-lever flush: To conserve water, many toilets offer a double-action flushing lever. You push the small lever to release less water for liquids or use the large lever to flush away solid waste.
  • Add-ons. Of course, if there’s no room in a remodel for a bidet, toilet seats that provide a bidet function are available. Heated toilet seats are another option that can be added without busting a bathroom budget.

Sustainable solutions are flooding the industry by the moment, but this is a story for a separate post 😉

Tips

Installation. Make sure that your plumber has worked with the type of toilet suit you are going to install. You don’t want them to be creative when installing a particularly expensive model.

Try it before you buy it. It has to fit you and your family. So, have fun and find the right size and cut for you.

Rising inflation? Great!

ImageSo it’s gloom and doom according to Australian media based on indication of inflation spike.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said Australia’s consumer prices index jumped 0.8 per cent in the three months to the end of December 2013 – more than twice as fast as expected apparently underpinned by increases in fruit and vegetable prices and the cost of domestic and international travel. Of course they forgot to mention that the real reason for the increase is that anything needing lots of petroleum, which has increased in AUD terms as the Aussie battler has declined by 15% against the USD, is now more expensive.

Great, let’s grow and eat own veggies and explore the local neighbourhood to spare servants of the people some grey hairs whilst keeping interest rates down. Unfortunately, there are other economy indicators like the unemployment rate and real salary trends that point towards leaner times. That’s when unexpected house expenditure can put extra strain on household budget.

Remember that any problem is an opportunity to learn to do things better. So let’s learn to choose our tradies better.

How to choose a tradie?

Here are some important tips on how to choose a good tradie.

  • ABN. Check that your trade contractor is registered at: http://abr.business.gov.au/ . Make sure that company name matches that on your quote.
  • Licenses. Many different tradesmen acquire their skills through apprenticeship and professional education programs. Tradesmen who have not completed apprenticeship in Australia are required to confirm their skills through obtaining Australian Recognised Trade Certificate.  There are also licensing associated with particular trades and high risk work. You can find more details on the Western Australian Department of Commerce site . Do check the license number against business name with appropriate licensing authority to escape disappointments.
  • Insurance. Ask for a copy of public liability insurance. This is in case you property gets damaged and tradie is low on cash.
  • Experience. Ask how many years of experience the tradie has. Is this job typical for them?
  • Awards, memberships and references. Memberships in trade’s top associations, professional accreditations, business awards and testimonials that can be verified speak volumes in favour of sound job performance.
  • Professional quote. Detailed written quote that lists both included and excluded items is a prerequisite for transparent, clear and professional engagement.
  • Rate. Obtain several quotes to understand the market average and so you don’t pay too much! Remember that accreditations and memberships cost money. So, if you are going for top of the pack reward them for their excellence – you might save on call-backs and inconveniencies. Don’t forget to ask about the terms of payment.
  • You. Providing a well defined job, time and budget will significantly increase your chances of getting the best tradie for the job. Develop relationship with good tradies you’ve found. Needless to say, pay your tradie on time.
  • Emergencies. Keep a record of tradies you have used in the past. You never know when you will have a plumbing or electrical emergency!

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