April 1, 2012 in Features

Do It Yourself: Flushing out old toilet issues

Gene Austin McClatchy
Quick tip

 Lifting straps won’t turn you into Superman or Wonder Woman, but they can make it a lot easier to lift and move heavy, bulky objects such as furniture, appliances, window air conditioners and tools.

 Many of the straps are designed for two-person lifting – one person on each side or end – but some straps can be used by one lifter. There are several types of straps, but the leading types either loop over the forearms or across the back of the shoulders.

 Lifting straps use different muscles than are normally used in lifting, causing less strain and fatigue. I first saw them used a few years ago when a couple of appliance installers picked up a heavy upright freezer and walked off with it, apparently with little effort.

 Lifting straps are sold at some home centers or can be bought on the Internet. To check Internet sources, use a search engine and the words Buy Lifting Straps.

Q. When we had our house built about eight years ago, the builder installed toilets that flush with 1.6 gallons of water. We are constantly having trouble flushing everything down and have to use a plunger about half the time. What can be done to improve this?

A. As you might know, all new toilets sold in this country since 1992, when a water-conservation law went into effect, use only 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush.

Unfortunately, many of the older, less expensive models of water-saving toilets, have difficulty flushing solid waste. This has improved with newer toilet designs, especially so-called high-performance toilets, but even these sometimes need plunging.

As for older water-savers that flush poorly, there just isn’t much that can be done to improve performance unless there is some mechanical or blocked-drain problem.

Some new water-saving toilets are equipped with a pressure-producing device that improves flushing (it is called the Sloan Flushmate), but this device can’t be retrofitted on existing gravity-flush toilets.

If frequent plunging annoys you enough to make the investment, I suggest having your most-used toilet removed and replaced either with a high-performance model or a pressure-assisted flush model.

Questions and comments should be emailed to Gene Austin at gaus17@aol.com. Send regular mail for Gene Austin to 1730 Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422.

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