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O.K. fast forward to about 1998, Sloan had the pressure assisted toilet figured out but it was at about this time when most manufacturers had their 1.6 GPF toilets perfected and by perfected I mean usable, they were by no means replacements for the revered 3.5 GPF toilets but they didn’t give you that paralyzing fear of “oh I’ve got 20 people over is this going to flush?”

Let’s jump to 2002. This the time when manufacturers really started to get 1.6 flushing technology to perform like the toilets of old. In 2002 Briggs introduced the Vacuity toilet. Although this toilet was a Consumer Reports best buy in 2002 it was not without its issues.

Most of its complaints came from manufacturing defects not flushing inadequacies. Its flushing principles were a sort of blending of gravity and pressure assist. The flushing cycle started by sending water to the rim holes as the water scoured the bowl the remaining water was literally dumped down the trap pulling the contents from of the bowl. So although the flushing action was gravity you still had that bulk flush of water similar to the pressure assisted toilet.

The simple difference between the two flushing actions is this, the pressure assisted toilet pushes bulk waste out of the bowl and the Vacuity pulls bulk waste from the bowl.

Buyers Guide for Toilets2002 to present: We are compressing these years together not because there wasn’t important flushing innovations coming down the pipe line but because everyone was making 1.6 GPF toilets that worked pretty well. American Standard introduced the Champion, Kohler responded with their Class 5 and Class 6 flushing technology, Gerber followed with its Viper then Avalanche. It is important to note the Toto Drake has been out for quite some time and has performed well from the beginning and continues to be a work horse with very few complaints with flushing performance or build quality.

We want to let potential buyers know there is no testing standard that classifies flushing classes; this is a Kohler marketing tool on par with Chrysler’s Corinthian leather. Every manufacturer will claim superior flushing capacities but most have similar bulk flushing at each price point.

The idea of HET and dual flush toilets have been thrown around in the company think tanks for quite some time. The engineering behind the new HET toilets is pretty impressive boasting bulk flush numbers similar to that of it’s 1.6 GPF counterparts. Some companies are making their HET toilets a single flush 1.33 GPF some are making duel flush.

Just as an example to add to the HET confusion American Standard makes toilets in duel flush 1.6 GPF/.8 GPF, 1.28 GPF/1.0 GPF, 1.6 GPF/1.0 GPF, single flush toilets in 1.1 GPF and 1.28 GPF. By comparison Kohler has duel flush 1.6 GPF/.8 GPF and single flush 1.28 GPF so the selection isn’t as confusing. Here’s a quick translation; there aren’t any real standards yet in HET toilets so companies are making HET toilets in a variety of flavors on the hopes that one or two will become the standard.

The EPA has recognized HET toilets and labels them “Watersense” if they use 20% less water than the current federal standard which as stated above is 1.6 GPF. It’s important to define the term “carry distance” because here is where the HET debate gets tricky. Carry distance or Drainline Carry is the distance water carries it’s suspended solids.

The average carry distance for drainline carry should be a minimum of 40ft. Although the EPA has tested the HET toilets extensively and has found that they believe they adequately remove waste in residential applications they caution their use in large commercial applications i.e. hospitals, high rise commercial and residential building etc. Most of the drainage in this country was designed to use 3.5 GPF, we decreased the GPF to 1.6 and it’s worked fairly well. Can our sewage system function properly using 20% less? That verdict is still open to debate.

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