The Truth About Toilets
(ARA) - Dysfunctional toilets -- we can’t live with ‘em; we can’t live without ‘em. Even without typical troubles such as clogs, overflows, plunging, handle jiggling, broken flappers, wasted water and expensive repairs, we spend at least three years of our lives using toilets. Think of it: three years of time, right down the drain.
According to research conducted by American Standard, the world’s largest manufacturer of kitchen and bath products, approximately one in three people experience regular problems with their toilets, while one in 10 claims that their toilet’s flapper and chain needs to be tinkered with frequently in order to work properly. And ever since 1.6 gallons per flush became law, nearly one in 10 people say they often have to flush more than once to do the job.
Through its effort to get to the bottom of America’s frustration with toilets, American Standard gained revealing insights into what goes on behind the bathroom door. In the end, so to speak, after examining everything from the flushing of weird objects to the potty preferences of Hollywood stars, the findings further demonstrated the need for American Standard to completely redesign flushing technology.
Goldfish, false teeth and socks
What do goldfish, false teeth and socks have in common? They are just a sampling of items that Americans have witnessed being flushed (or attempted to flush) down their toilets. And that’s just the beginning, according to the research.
More than 50 per cent of those surveyed said they have at some point witnessed at least one flushing attempt using hamsters, mice, toy cars, rubber ducks, action figures or Barbie dolls. Frivolous flushers also have tried to dispose of underwear, bras, tee shirts, and even shoes in their toilets. Worse yet, toothbrushes, jewellery, diapers and entire rolls of toilet paper have been dropped into toilets, too.
The Champion of flushing
Armed with these flushing factoids and a complete understanding of consumers’ toilet troubles, American Standard invested significantly to design, re-engineer and test an entirely new system for flushing toilets. The result is America’s Best Flushing System, featured for the first time in the new, aptly named Champion toilet.
“We’ve completely redesigned the inside of the toilet to make flushing virtually maintenance-free,” says Gary Uhl, director of design for American Standard. “This is the best thing to happen to toilets since indoor plumbing.”
Instead of using the typical toilet tank’s floating ball-and-chain system, the Champion has a proprietary Flush Tower that unleashes the power of water while using no more than 1.6 gallons in under a second. A tight silicone rubber seal functions in place of a corrodible rubber flapper, while an extra-large flush valve allows more water to enter the bowl quietly yet faster and more powerfully. An extra-large trap way ensures there are no chokepoints to worry about, so there’s more volume per flush and virtually no clogging, overflow or fix-it hassle.
The Champion lived up to its name when subjected to rigorous testing. For example, in independent tests conducted by SBS U.S. Testing, 41 rubber tubes were sent down the drain in one fast and furious flush. Another flush eliminated 31 synthetic sponges, and a third made 16 cloth napkins disappear. American Standard’s own tests removed up to 29 golf balls in one flush.
Toilet “test drives”
American Standard ultimately took the Champion to the nation’s seat(s) of power, providing celebrities with the opportunity to “test drive” the toilet’s performance. Famous flushers include Ty Pennington of TLC’s “Trading Spaces;” fitness expert Kathy Kaehler of NBC-TV’s “Today” show; and Emmy Award-winning actress and comedienne Vicki Lawrence of “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Mama’s Family.” While all test drivers expressed awe at the toilet’s superior performance, Lawrence’s reaction best characterized the test drive: “Forget the White House; this is the real seat of power -- it’s one small step for man, one giant flush for mankind. Going potty was never so much fun.”