Tag Archives: toilet

Finding Universal Rundle Toilet Parts

Universal Rundle toilets are some of the best out there in terms of balancing performance and water usage. Pioneers in their industry, Universal Rundle (UR) was making water efficient 1.6gpf toilets that actually worked well long before water conservation efforts made it mandatory. Add to that some of their truly unique styles and a variety of designer colors and many homeowners would much rather repair than replace their old UR toilet. However, finding toilet model numbers so you can find the right parts can be tricky business – especially with this particular brand.

Universal Rundle unique tank lid Adara toilet
Universal Rundle one-piece Bordeau toilet in green
Universal Rundle gray Atlas toilet

As always, the place to start is inside the tank. So grab a flashlight and go exploring. Exercise caution when removing the tank lid, as it is fragile and can be easily broken if stepped on or dropped. Inside your tank on the back wall of the tank or sometimes in the very bottom of the tank, you will see a model number stamped or painted on the porcelain.

Typically, for Universal Rundle toilets, you will see a four-digit number starting with a ‘4’. There may be more numbers indicating specific features, or – this is where it can get confusing – more than one model number. Elsewhere in your toilet tank, you should find a date stamp that will tell you when the toilet was manufactured. This can be important because once Universal Rundle was bought by Crane and became Universal Rundle Crane (URC), many of the internal components changed. For example, a Saturn 4012 made in 1987 may use very different components than a Saturn 4012 made in 1992.

Another problem unique to Universal Rundle toilets is that some newer series of toilets re-used a model number from an older series of toilets. The Astoria toilet made after 1995, for instance, has a model number 4470 – the same number that was used for the New Venus series toilets in the 1970s and ’80s. Additionally, be aware that not all tanks may have a model number or date stamp, and sometimes the model number can be difficult to find. In other instances, you may have multiple numbers in various locations.

Finding your UR model number isn't always easy

In these situations, try to compare as much information as you have available with the pictures, parts diagrams, and model numbers we’ve provided to help you find the right parts. If you can find your model number and pretty good idea of what you need, all that’s left is purchasing the parts, but as with most things in life, sometimes it just isn’t that easy.

Please keep in mind that sometimes you simply may not be able to determine your toilet model number and may need to purchase “will fit” replacement parts. If this is the case, we recommend snapping a picture or two of the internal toilet components and grabbing a tape measure. If you’re replacing a fill valve or flush valve, measure from the bottom of the tank to the top of the valve and note that height. There are a variety of “will fit” valves that could potentially work for you, but first you’ll need to be sure it will fit inside your tank at roughly the same water level. Flappers are much easier to replace, as there are so many generic varieties, but trip levers will also need to be measured to ensure the arm is long enough and angled properly so things will flush properly.

Even if you have your model number and aren’t looking for “will fit” parts, it is important to remember that Universal Rundle and Universal Rundle Crane have been out of business for quite a while now, so many of the original parts have been discontinued. Sometimes we are able to offer you OEM repair parts as a replacement, but there are other times where a “will fit” is the only option simply because nobody makes a part exactly like the original anymore.

Now you know pretty much everything we know about finding Universal Rundle replacement toilet parts, but if you’re still confused or need help, please feel free to contact us and one of our top-notch customer service representatives will be happy to help you find what you need. And if you’ve got your parts, but need a little help installing your new Universal Rundle toilet parts, check out our Guide to Toilet Repair for video tutorials, FAQs and answers, troubleshooting help, and more!

Which Drain Cleaner Should I Use?

When most people experience a clogged drain, they automatically reach for one of two things – the phone so they can call a plumber or a chemical drain cleaner. If this is their first time dealing with a clog, many people want a recommendation for which chemical drain cleaner is best and what is the best way to use it. While we always advocate calling a plumber for any plumbing issue you don’t feel you can handle yourself (and some that you think you can handle and shouldn’t), we NEVER recommend using any kind of chemical drain cleaner for a number of reasons.

1. They are harmful to your and your family’s health. If some of the drain cleaner were to splash on your skin or in your eyes, or if you inhaled too much of it, you could potentially experience serious injury – not to mention the potential for young children or pets to accidentally imbibe them with fatal consequences.

draincleaner

2. Everything you put down the drain eventually ends up in our environment somehow, whether that be in our groundwater, oceans and rivers, atmosphere or soil. Chemical drain cleaners aren’t any safer for our
environment than they are for our bodies.

3. Chemical drain cleaners work by eating away at
whatever is causing the clog. It just makes sense that anything that caustic is also eating away at your plumbing system. While certain pipe materials like PVC or galvanized steel might hold up a little longer than copper, all pipes exposed to caustic chemicals will eventually start to wear down and you’ll experience leaks from holes in your pipes that could require extensive, costly repairs or a complete re-plumbing of your home.

So what are the alternatives? Well, before you decide to call a plumber, we recommend grabbing a good sturdy plunger or a drain snake and trying to remove the clog yourself. If neither of those methods work, try a half and half mixture of baking soda and vinegar and let it sit overnight. If that STILL doesn’t work, we suggest calling a plumber. They are experienced in removing all kinds of clogs – and have the expertise and equipment to do it without damaging your fixtures or pipes.

Once your drain is clear (or before you get a clog!), there are several things you can do to help prevent future clogs. Regular drain cleaning should become part of your home maintenance routine, and the best part is that it’s easy and inexpensive. For a brief tutorial on how you can clean your drains and tips for preventing clogs, check out our Guide to Easy Drain Maintenance and do your part to protect your plumbing system, your family’s health, and the environment!

Read more:
How to Unclog Your Toilet
Public Service Announcement: Save Our Sewers!
10 Tips for Preventing Toilet Troubles

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

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?

Water On Your Bathroom Floor?

If you’re concerned about some water that you found on your bathroom floor (near your toilet), please rest assured that there are a number of common possible causes for the problem. After you eliminate the most obvious cause (bad aim), consider the following before presuming the problem is with the seal between your toilet and the sewer line. Usually, the issue is less costly than the potentially expensive possibility of wastewater coming up from beneath your toilet.

The Two Best Places To Start

plunger

Condensation: Probably the most common cause for excess water on the floor of a bathroom is water condensing on the outside of the toilet’s tank and dripping onto the floor. This is commonly referred to as the tank “sweating.” Tank condensation/sweat is caused by the difference in temperature of the water inside the tank, which is usually very cold, and the temperature of the air outside the tank in the bathroom, which is often warm and steamy. Tank condensation sometimes occurs more often in the summer months rather than the cold winter months, but can occur any time of year if the conditions are right. There are easy solutions to this type of problem, such as toilet tank liners (which insulate the cold water inside the tank from the humid outside) or anti-sweat toilet tank valves (which mix cold and warm water coming into the tank to reduce the temperature variance inside and outside the toilet tank). Unfortunately, it’s not convenient to confirm the water on your floor is completely an issue of tank condensation/sweat. Basically, you will need to wipe the outside of your tank thoroughly with a towel and then over time, try to visually detect whether or not water is gathering on the outside of the tank again.

Water leaking from inside the toilet tank: Once you’ve confirmed that the problem you’re experiencing is not due to tank condensation, then the next best place to begin would be to eliminate the possibility of you having water leaking from the tank itself. This is a fairly easy thing to check. Start by removing your toilet toilet tank lid (be very careful, because tank lids are extremely fragile, can be heavy and are usually slippery when wet) and add some organic-based coloring (such as food coloring) to your toilet tank water. We even offer color test tablets on our site for this specific purpose! They can be obtained free with any order placed through our web site. Do NOT flush the tank, but instead wait a little while for the tank water to change color and settle. If after a half-hour or so (without flushing the tank) you find the water on your floor to be the same color as the colored water inside your tank, or if you see any colored drips coming from anywhere on your tank, then you’ll know you have water escaping from the toilet’s tank since that IS the only place you have the colored water. The next thing to do would be to identify where the water is coming from. Any cracks in the porcelain tank should be discolored and highlighted by the tinted water. The tinted water will usually help in finding any leaks around the bolts and rubber seals between your tank and bowl or from the foam gasket where the flush valve allows water to enter the bowl.

Water can leak from inside the bowl for a few different reasons. Read more…

Uniquely American Standard

American Standard is a well-known brand name. It seems like all the stores carry them, everyone’s heard of them, and quite a few of you probably have a toilet with the American Standard logo printed on it proudly.

As with all toilet manufacturers, American Standard toilets have some parts that look familiar and some that are completely different. If you’ve ever looked inside the tank of your American Standard toilet, you may have seen something that looks like this:
Example of an American Standard actuator style flush valve

Kinda funny looking, isn’t it? This particular style of American Standard flush valve screws in like most flush valves, but has an “actuating unit” in place of a chain and flapper. An actuator is basically a flapper and a float all in one. The barrel-shaped portions are hollow to various degrees to fit the particular toilet’s flushing needs. Actuators are also typically operated by a push button instead of the more familiar trip lever.

One style of actuator button: Example of an American Standard actuator button

One style of trip lever: Example of an American Standard trip lever, shown in white

American Standard also uses the more familiar style of flush valve in some of their toilets, but that mostly came along a little later.

Whether you need an actuator or a standard style flush valve, or even just the flappers and gaskets, we’re here to assist you. We stock a stunningly huge variety of toilet repair parts for a wide selection of brands, including American Standard.

We have been supplying toilet repair parts since the 1970’s (since 1995 online) and have seen toilet manufacturers change, standardize, and reinvent the flush. We know what’s what with toilet parts, and can help you find not only your currently produced part, but quite often we have some of those discontinued parts on hand. If not, well, we can almost always find something that will fit your toilet when all its parts have been discontinued. We’re just cool that way.

So, whether you have an early Devero or a current Cadet, check us out. We have parts breakdowns online, photos of most parts in our warehouse, and a great customer service team who know how to help you find what you need to fix that Lexington or Luxor. We’re always adding to our site, so if you don’t see something, please ask. We’re glad to help.

Your turn: what’s the weirdest OEM toilet repair part you’ve ever seen?