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How do I Choose the Best Toilet Plumbing?

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  • Written By: Morgan H.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2016
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Toilet plumbing comes in many different shapes and sizes. For any installation, whether it is new or replacement, there are are three main areas of concern: the water inlet, the floor drain, and the plumbing inside the toilet itself. The part designs typically are standard, but choosing the best plumbing supplies involves choosing higher-quality materials and products to ensure longevity and avoid leakage. Choosing parts that are easier to repair may be best as well.

When installing a new toilet, the first thing many people look at is their hookup carrying water to the toilet. It is generally best to have a shutoff valve to the water supply. No matter what kind of water pipe a house is plumbed with, or whether it comes through the wall or the floor, there is typically a shutoff valve made to fit the application. This can save time and costly repairs should something spring a leak and a homeowner need to turn off the water in the bathroom quickly. The supply line running from the valve to the back of the toilet is also important. Two major kinds of supply lines are manufactured: flexible plastic and braided stainless steel. In older toilet plumbing, the plastic is commonplace, but for peace of mind, the braided stainless steel lines are typically best, as they can handle changes in water pressure quite easily, and are much more burst-resistant under strain than the plastic.

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The drain underneath the toilet is also important. A standard toilet has a 12" rough in, which is the distance from the wall to the center of the drain. This normally is the measurement from the wall to the floor bolts on the base of an existing toilet as well. Drain pipe should be made of PVC specifically manufactured for drain and waste vent applications. There will typically be a floor flange with a gasket that nestles into the main drain underneath the toilet. It is best to choose a metal flange to prevent breakage should the toilet installation become unstable in the future. The other item that is needed for the toilet drain is the wax ring that sits on top of the flange to seal the connection from the outlet on the bottom of the toilet to the drain pipe in the floor. It is best to go with an extra-thick wax ring that has a rubber gasket built in. This helps ensure that the seal stays tight for years to come.

The plumbing within the toilet itself is also important to many consumers. There are many types of flushing systems available in toilet plumbing today, and choosing the right one for can be very subjective. Flush systems can range from the traditional flapper and fill valve, to a flapperless trough that releases water when the tank lever is depressed, to a pressure-assisted system that moves the waste out of the toilet bowl with the aid of a vacuum. The standard water usage in toilet plumbing is 1.6 gallons (6 liters) of water per flush, though water-saving systems are available to that use as little as 1.1 or 1.28 gallons (4.2 or 4.8 liters) on each flush. Generally, most people prefer a traditional system, using a flapper and fill valve, as they are easiest to repair, and inexpensive parts are commonly available.

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