Tag Archives: bathroom

Can I Use a Brick In My Toilet to Reduce Water Waste?

A lot of people are finally starting to realize the impact humans have on our clean water supply and have become more conscientious about how they use water and how much water they use. One question we see frequently asked online is – can I put a brick in my toilet tank to help conserve water?

This is a valid question for anyone wanting to save water, as the toilet uses nearly 1/3 of our indoor water consumption, and technically, yes you could…but we really don’t like to recommend that. While we here at PlumbingSupply.com truly care about water conservation and try to do our part to save water and help others to save water, putting a brick in your toilet isn’t the way to do it.

All toilets manufactured after the early 90’s use only 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or less, with many of the newest models using 1.28gpf. Older toilets do use significantly more water, with most being 3.5gpf, but some using up to 6gpf – that’s a lot of clean water being flushed – but it’s important to understand that these toilets were specifically designed to use that much water and they typically won’t flush properly with less. And yes, we completely understand that your toilet LOOKS just like the low flow toilets…from the outside…and that this can be confusing for many people. Trust us, the inner workings can be significantly different. An extra bend or an extra inch of height in the toilet trap can mean a lot when you’re moving waste with only water and gravity.

Same model, made in different years. Can you tell the difference?

Old Toilet

Old Toilet

New Toilet

New Toilet

For sanitary reasons, you really want all that waste to be disposed of properly and not stuck in your toilet trap or your home’s sewage line. So, it’s important that the correct amount of water is used to help that waste move along the sewage lines and help prevent clogging – which means you really shouldn’t use a brick, or anything else for that matter, to reduce the amount of water in your tank.

We’re aware that there are plenty of articles out there telling you otherwise – that it’s perfectly fine to displace the water in your toilet tank to help conserve and that your toilet will flush either way. Which is true, in most cases. Your toilet WILL flush, but it won’t be doing so effectively. And that opens up the potential for serious problems in your home or community sewage system down the road.

If you’re concerned about water conservation and have an older toilet with a higher flush rate, we strongly recommend you replace the toilet with a newer, water-saving model. That is the most effective method of saving water when it comes to toilets. Also, regardless of whether your toilet is new or old, making sure you check periodically for leaks and repair them quickly can also save significant amounts of water.

However, IF you choose not to replace your older toilet and you choose to use the “brick method”, it is a better idea to take a plastic water bottle and fill it up with sand or small pebbles and place that in the tank instead of a brick. Even a brick wrapped in plastic can break down in the tank, especially if you get a hole or loose seal in the plastic wrap.

Want more water-saving ideas? Check out our Guide to Water-Saving Plumbing Products for tips to help you conserve!

 

10 Tips for Preventing Toilet Troubles

This article can now be found at thePlumber.com

Creating A Kid-Friendly Bathroom

Cute ducky sink with faucet Rubber ducky, you’re the one…you make bathtime so much fun! Rubber ducky, I’m awfully fond of you…boo-doo boop dee dooo…
Washing up should be a relaxing time for kids (and for parents) but too often it becomes a battle royale, exhausting you and them – and in the end nobody is any cleaner. Let us help you and your kiddos relax by turning clean-up time into fun time with a kid-friendly bathroom.
HandprintRound2

Let’s start with the sink – after all, that’s where kids go to get the sugar bugs off their teeth, scrub away the sleep to find their shining morning faces, and wash away the travel grime from their latest adventures in kid-land. Yet the sink is the most overlooked fixture in bathroom remodels. Not anymore! Add the perfect finishing touch to a kid-themed bathroom with our exclusive collection of Barclay porcelain bathroom sinks. Designed specifically with children in mind – with super adorable rubber duckies, toy aeroplanes, and “muddy” kid handprints – they bring an element of fun and playfulness to the bathroom. The sturdy porcelain is a kid-tough, naturally moisture-, bacteria-, and dirt-resistant material, making it ideal for children’s bathrooms, while the hand-applied decals are safely baked under a layer of glaze so they won’t wear away.

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We’re sure your kids will love washing their hands and brushing their teeth in these sinks (and we don’t mind saying we secretly would too!). Hey, they might actually go brush their teeth without you telling them to!

Now let’s move on to the tub and/or shower. As parents, we know you take care to make sure your kids eat healthy food and get plenty of sleep and active playtime to keep their little bodies healthy inside, but what can you do about their outsides? Well, we always recommend generous and frequent application of sunscreen, but we’re also pleased to offer you a variety of filters for a truly clean bath or shower that pampers kids’ and babies’ sensitive skin.

bathBall baby babyshower

An excellent addition to any kid-friendly bathroom is our unique children’s hand shower with a filter connection that attaches to almost any faucet – including most kitchen sinks for bathing baby! The rain spray is gentle enough for babies, and the easy-to-grip handle lets older kids use it themselves. And since we know filling the bathtub with a hand shower would require more time than most busy parents have, we’ve got a filtered bath ball you can hang over your tub spout. Bubble baths are better with cleaner water!

Also, while we’re talking about making bath time easier, don’t forget a handy-dandy soap dispenser. Kids will love seeing their colorful shampoos and soaps all in a row, easily accessed with the push of a button (and what kid doesn’t like pushing buttons?). We also offer a range of shower heads and some truly unique shower drain covers with fun, whimsical designs like jigsaw puzzles, sea turtles, an octopus, and more that your kids will love.

At PlumbingSupply.com® we love to help our customers make their lives just a little bit easier. We hope we’ve inspired you with kid-friendly bathroom solutions, and invite you to check out even more cool stuff for children’s bathrooms, from potty training toilet seats to durable, comfortable Teak bath mats to help prevent slips and falls. You want it, chances are we’ve got it!

Finding Kohler Replacement Toilet Parts

Want to keep it working just like the day it was installed? No problem.

Just like anything else with moving parts, toilets will wear out. Fortunately, unless the bowl or tank are cracked, you can usually just replace the guts and go on like normal.Example of a Kohler Gabrielle series toilet

Potential toilet problems vary, but for the sake of this article, we’re going to assume you already figured out what you need to fix and why, and just need to find the parts. If you’re super-organized and thought ahead, you already have your original paperwork and parts breakdown handy. If that’s the case, find the part number and give us a call and you’ll probably see your new toilet guts sooner than you think.

However, if you’re like most people, the installation instructions and parts breakdown were recycled as soon as the warranty was up, if not sooner. Now a few years have gone by and you really need to replace that flush or fill valve. You tried the generic ones at the hardware store, but they’re just not cutting it. What do you do?

If you’re tired of your toilet and don’t want to bother replacing parts, or are simply in the market for something more efficient, you’ll go shopping for a new toilet and a plumber to install it. But if you were already planning on doing that, you probably aren’t reading this, right?

Example of a painted Kohler Portrait toiletFor those of you that love your old Kohler toilet, don’t have the budget for a new toilet right now, or simply don’t want to mess up your beautiful tile floor, you’ll need to figure out what’s supposed to work for your toilet for the best replacement results. Maybe you know the name of your toilet and the year it was installed, or maybe you only know it’s a Kohler. Either way, we can help you find the parts you need.

The best way to find the parts you need is actually hidden in your toilet tank. No, not the parts themselves, though that can help too, but we really mean the tank and lid. Carefully remove your toilet tank lid and gently set it aside. Then look around the inside of your tank. You should see some letters and numbers impressed into the porcelain. Kohler toilet and tank numbers currently follow a four-digit pattern, often starting with a “K-“. Sometimes a toilet will have a five digit number preceded by a “K-“. These numbers are the toilet model number for one-piece toilets, or the tank model number for two-piece toilets. Sometimes a toilet or tank number will have two letters following the number (something like “-AA” or “-PB”). These are revision codes. These letters and numbers are the key to finding what parts you need. Use these numbers to search our site, find the appropriate model number and voilà! Your toilet’s back in business!

If you don’t see anything in your tank, you can also check the underside of the lid (the unfinished part). You will nearly always see a five digit number, often beginning with an 8, impressed into the porcelain. This is your lid number. You also might find a repeat of the number you found inside the tank. Both of these numbers can help pinpoint the original parts for your Kohler toilet.Example of a Kohler Pillowtalk series toilet

Keep in mind, Kohler, like many toilet manufacturers, continues to evolve their toilet designs. They add new toilets, start using new technology or parts, and discontinue what doesn’t sell well or is out of style. Unfortunately, this may mean that your original toilet parts may not always be available. Usually when Kohler has decided to stop making a particular part, they choose another part to take its place. Occasionally they choose to stop supporting some toilet models altogether and you’re forced to buy universal-style replacement parts to keep your terrific Kohler toilet up and running (or not running, as the case may be). Don’t worry, we offer those too!

Now that you know the secrets of finding the perfect replacement parts, you’ll have “fix the toilet” crossed off your to-do list in no time!

Your turn: what’s your best (or worst) toilet part replacement story?

What Kind of Tub Drain Do You Have?

Most of us can easily identify a trip lever style tub drain; the name itself tells it like it is. But what about all those other ones that don’t have a trip lever? If you’ve ever wondered what your tub drain is, read on!

There are five basic types of bath tub drain stoppers:

  • Toe Touch (Foot Actuated, Foot Lock or Toe Tap)
  • Push-Pull or Lift and Turn
  • Flip-It
  • Pop-Up: Activated by Trip Lever, Cable, Turn Style, or other
  • Trip Lever or Turn Style (internal plunger/stopper)
toe touch style drain
Toe Touch
push pull style drain
Push Pull
Flip it style drain
Flip It
pop up drain
Pop Up
strainer cover plate
Trip Lever

Identify which stopper you have:

If your tub does not have a trip lever, it is either a Toe Touch, Push Pull, Flip-It, or a Lift-and-Turn style stopper. The Flip, Toe Touch, Lift and Turn and Push-Pull stoppers work without a trip lever mechanism. These are generally the easiest kind to remove or replace since they do not need the removal of the trip lever.

Toe Touch: The stopper opens and closes with the push of your toe.

Push-Pull: The stopper has a knob in the center and you must push it down to close and pull it up to open.

Lift and Turn: This looks very similar to the Push-Pull style, but you will need to lift and turn the stopper (in opposite directions) to open and close.

Flip-It: This stopper uses a toggle that when flipped from side to side, will open or close.

Pop-Up: This style can have a Trip Lever or Turn Style mechanism on the overflow that moves an internal push rod against a rocker arm attached to the stopper to raise or lower the stopper. Pop-Ups have a visible stopper in the tub drain, and cannot be covered by a strainer.

Trip Lever or Turn Style: These two styles use an internal plunger to stop water flow. When the overflow plate is activated by tripping a lever or turning the plate it causes the plunger to raise or lower. Trip Lever and Turn Style assemblies normally do not have a visible stopper in the tub drain. The drains simply have a strainer of some sort covering the drain.

Your turn: What’s your favorite style of tub drain?

Read more about this subject here.

The New Grab Bar

When you hear “grab bar”, what comes to mind? For most people, it’s those long bars you see in public bathrooms or hospitals. You know, those stainless steel, industrial looking chunks of metal bolted to the wall.

What if we were to tell you that you may have encountered grab bars and thought they were something else? What if we were to tell you that grab bars are great for more than just public restrooms and hospitals? What if we were to tell you that the addition of elegant grab bars, placed discreetly, could increase the value of your home? What do you think of grab bars now?

Here's a grab bar with finials in a polished brass finishLovely example of a satin nickel grab barHow about a great antique brass grab bar?

First of all, grab bars these days come in all shapes and sizes and in a lovely selection of finishes. Long gone are the days of only one option, though of course the stainless steel tube is still widely available. But if you’re in the market for something more elegant, we suggest taking a second look at grab bars.

Example of a child pulling on a sturdy grab barSecond, by definition a grab bar is incredibly sturdy – it is designed to hold hundreds of pounds of weight without breaking or pulling from the wall. Hmm… when was the last time your toddler swung from the towels when you were trying to get him in the tub? Or knocked the towel bar down when trying to stuff the towel over the bar? How many times have you reinstalled or replaced that cheap chrome towel bar only to have to do it again? A solid and durable grab bar begins to look like a great investment after a while, doesn’t it? A sturdy, all brass designer towel bar, while not designed for the weight of a person, may stay on the wall longer, but for the same price or sometimes less, you can get a grab bar that is ADA compliant so you know it’s been tested and rated to hold the weight of a person; Tarzan Jr. won’t be able to budge it!

Grab bars on the side of a whirlpool tub are safe and stylishAnd thirdly, and possibly the most important, the sense of safety a grab bar can offer is amazing. If you fall and try to grab for something, towel bars will buckle, plain walls offer no grip, and shower doors should never be used as handholds or safety grips. If you or your loved ones ever reach for a towel bar or the shower door to steady yourself, you know how reassuring it can be to have a good handhold when you need it, so why don’t you install a grab bar right where you automatically reach to steady yourself? You’ll be glad you did!

Believe it or not, there are three grab bars in this pictureSo, for your next home improvement project, consider investing in your safety, style, and beauty and add a grab bar or three!

Your turn – what convinced you to finally install grab bars in your home, and were they plain or pretty?