Low-Maintenance Appliances: Toilet Fixtures

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The float that controls the water intake in the toilet tank sometimes gets stuck or may (very rarely) get a hole in it and not float. In either case, water runs continuously through the tank rather than filling. Normally, the float rises with the water level until it closes off the incoming water. You can lessen the amount of water you use for every flush by bending the float rod so it closes the valve sooner.

There are water-saving toilets you should know about. Although these toilets will not result in direct household maintenance savings, they will save us larger-scale maintenance costs because in the long run they cut down our use of an important natural resource—clean water. We waste water terribly, and from scientists comes the sad word that water will be (not may be) our next big crisis. Among the new water-saving toilets, Rodale’s Product Testing Group found in tests that those listed below used the least amount of water while still doing a satisfactory job of flushing. (Using less water per flush doesn’t help if you have to flush twice.)

• The Ultra One G (Eljer Plumbingware, Three Gateway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15222)

• The Superrinse (Thetford Corporation, P.O. Box 1285, Ann Arbor, Ml 48106)

• The Cashsaver MX (as in missile?) (Water Control International, 2820 West Maple Road, Suite 224, Troy, MI 48084)

There is a maintenance problem with all toilet bowls that I daresay has never been discussed in print, because of its somewhat delicate nature. (Where are you, Ann Landers, now that I need you?) The toilet bowl is not a men’s urinal, yet thoughtless men try to pretend it is. To put it more frankly, a stream of liquid descending from a height into a toilet bowl splashes when it hits the water. The splashing has surprising distance to it. Splatterings hit the walls on either side of the bowl. In other words, men, sit down. Sitting does no harm to your masculine ego. I discussed this little maintenance detail with my wife and several sisters, all of whom said housewives would bless me for bringing this nefarious practice out of the (water) closet. If splattering the walls does not make you macho types flinch, be aware that it is also splattering your pants legs.

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