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Question about home appliances?
Old 09-09-2008, 08:01 PM   #1
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Question about home appliances?

Toilets: My folk's house has had the same toilets since 1990. They flush, but are pretty weak. They've thought about buying new ones and having them installed, and asked me if I had heard of anyone using low-flow toilets. Have any of you? What were your experiences? They plan on going to the local Home Depot and checking out what they have in stock and the list of plumbers they have to install it.

Washer: My cousin is convinced she needs a new washer and dryer set. She has the older ones that have the ENERGY STAR sticker on them, but has read so much about how the front loading washers are so much better. Who has them, and are they worth it? I told her that a new washer might be worth it, but the new dryer may not be. I assume since the front-loading washers are supposed to wring out all of the water then the current dryer can do it's job that much better. Well she also threw in the "well it doesn't match" arguement. I can't help her on that one, but what do any of you think?
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:11 PM   #2
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Toilets: My folk's house has had the same toilets since 1990. They flush, but are pretty weak. They've thought about buying new ones and having them installed, and asked me if I had heard of anyone using low-flow toilets. Have any of you? What were your experiences? They plan on going to the local Home Depot and checking out what they have in stock and the list of plumbers they have to install it.
I replace 20+ y o toilet back in '93. Have not noticed any problems.

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Washer
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: My cousin is convinced she needs a new washer and dryer set. She has the older ones that have the ENERGY STAR sticker on them, but has read so much about how the front loading washers are so much better. Who has them, and are they worth it?
Might be depending on age and usage.

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I told her that a new washer might be worth it, but the new dryer may not be. I assume since the front-loading washers are supposed to wring out all of the water then the current dryer can do it's job that much better. Well she also threw in the "well it doesn't match" arguement. I can't help her on that one, but what do any of you think?
You might as well stop talking at this point. Anyone willing to spend large amounts of money to have appliances 'match' is beyond redemption.

(Disclaimer: I have never had a dryer.)
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:18 PM   #3
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Well she also threw in the "well it doesn't match" arguement.
The worst argument for making a purchase. If it looks ugly, paint it.
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:53 PM   #4
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this might help....

Front-Loading washing machines?

and this....

Toilets
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:54 PM   #5
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Washer: My cousin is convinced she needs a new washer and dryer set. She has the older ones that have the ENERGY STAR sticker on them, but has read so much about how the front loading washers are so much better. Who has them, and are they worth it?
It might make economic sense to throw away a good top-loading washer and get a more efficient one, but it would be a very unusual situation (e.g. she 15 loads each week, uses hot water much of the time, heats that water with expensive electricity, etc). My favorite washer (don't get me started!) is the Staber. She won't like it because it's not much to look at. But, a geeky engineer can open the front and see a lot to love. We've talked about it before here, maybe do a search.

Later edit: Thanks for providing the link, bbbam--you're not as lazy as I was.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:00 PM   #6
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Later edit: Thanks for providing the link, bbbam--you're not as lazy as I was.
Heh...the reason I provided the link is because I am lazy.........
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:08 PM   #7
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Hmm, if they think their old 1990's era toilets are flushing weakly, wait until they try a low-flow. The weak flush could be a bad fill valve, but it could also be a semi clogged drain. Fill valves are about $20-25.

Its only worth it financially to buy a front loader if your current washer already needs replacing or its very old and you do a lot of laundry and you can get a sweet deal on one.

BTW, my water company paid me $75 a toilet to replace my 1990 versions with a low flow that I bought at Costco for the same price. I couldnt turn down free toilets.

The water company also paid me a rebate, as did my utility company, for buying a front loader. So check the water company, local and state government offers, utility companies, manufacturers and sellers. My $~1k washer cost me about $450 after all was said and done.

That having been said, my utility company (who will remain nameless because its PG&E) is trying to stiff me on a rebate as we speak. I dont think they're enjoying the experience so far.

The only good reason to replace the dryer with the washer is if the old dryer doesnt have a moisture sensor and its old.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:43 PM   #8
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Hmm, if they think their old 1990's era toilets are flushing weakly, wait until they try a low-flow. The weak flush could be a bad fill valve, but it could also be a semi clogged drain. Fill valves are about $20-25.
When I was home I replaced the guts of the toilet and that didn't help much. Is there something that can clear up a semi-clogged drain?
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:52 PM   #9
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If all the toilets are having the same problem, you might have to fish the cleanout for the main drain with a snake. Any trees growing near the sewer line? If its just one or all the ones on one floor, you might just want to call a plumber.

If its all of them, does the tub drain slow as well? Sinks and showers just dont run very much water that you'd notice a slow drain, but an old fashioned toilet tries to discharge about 4 or 5 gallons of water all at once.

Is it a sewer or septic? If its septic, have they pumped it in the last 5 years...?
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Old 09-10-2008, 02:58 AM   #10
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Had a late '80s/early '90s low-flow in my old house and it was really bad news. The several flushes necessary when dealing with 'solid waste' nullified any theoretical water savings. I think many current models must have a better design. All I can say is do some research.. I found that the GardenWeb site has a lot of pretty nerdy posters on appliances and other home repair topics. The site itself is kind of slow and clunky (kind of like an old low-flow toilet!). Plus v. annoying that their archives disappear after x pages or x days..

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/

In Italy I've seen a lot of toilets with a dual-flush feature, which is a nice water-saving aspect.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:15 AM   #11
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I have a low flow toilet from the early '90s and SO has the new duel flush style. Landlords get some deal for putting them in. They both work fine as long as you don't put "stuff" in them. I use wire hangers when needed to break up the "stuff," enough detail.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:19 AM   #12
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You can also buy older non low-flow toilets from salvage places and Habitat for Humanity resale stores. I pulled mine out of a house that was due to be demolished for a new beachfront McMansion. They work great, for free.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:19 AM   #13
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No more wire hangers!!!!! Heard somebody say that once.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:27 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
Toilets: My folk's house has had the same toilets since 1990. They flush, but are pretty weak. They've thought about buying new ones and having them installed, and asked me if I had heard of anyone using low-flow toilets. Have any of you? What were your experiences? They plan on going to the local Home Depot and checking out what they have in stock and the list of plumbers they have to install it.
I installed 3 low flush toilets in my 20year old house in the last couple years, They use about half to 2/3rds less water than your current ones. You can get a good one for less than $200...........

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Washer
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: My cousin is convinced she needs a new washer and dryer set. She has the older ones that have the ENERGY STAR sticker on them, but has read so much about how the front loading washers are so much better. Who has them, and are they worth it? I told her that a new washer might be worth it, but the new dryer may not be. I assume since the front-loading washers are supposed to wring out all of the water then the current dryer can do it's job that much better. Well she also threw in the "well it doesn't match" arguement. I can't help her on that one, but what do any of you think?
get your hands on the February 2008 Consumer Reports, they have a nice review of the pros and cons of both.........
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:29 AM   #15
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No more wire hangers!!!!! Heard somebody say that once.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:33 AM   #16
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Ahhh....that's great! Your pic is better than mine....
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:47 PM   #17
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I double-dog dare you....
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:30 PM   #18
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When we built our home we used Toto Drake low flush toilets. Have no idea what we paid, however, I think they were more expensive than others. They work great. In two years have never had to flush twice.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:14 PM   #19
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When I was home I replaced the guts of the toilet and that didn't help much. Is there something that can clear up a semi-clogged drain?
Toilet drains don't generally clog unless you have a small child in the house who's missing a few toys.

However the waste line (from the house to the municipal sewer) could easily be clogged with CFB's water-seeking tree roots. So if all the toilets in the house are flushing weak & draining slow then it's more likely the waste line than the toilets. If you also experience the same problem when draining a full bathtub then it's definitely the waste line.

We've been perfectly happy with Kohler's low-flush toilets for the last 15 years, but they have new models every year. I find myself getting the gimmes for their power-assist or pressure-assist models:
KOHLER: Bathroom: Toilets: High Efficiency Flushing Systems: Why KOHLER: Planning

And, hey, what guy wouldn't want a toilet that offers a choice of two different flush volumes!
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:27 PM   #20
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Toilet drains don't generally clog unless you have a small child in the house who's missing a few toys.
Thats what I thought until I saw a mass of about 40 q-tips pulled out of one drain about 8' from the toilet outlet, and on another occasion an equally large mass of another product which will remain nameless, but suffice it to say that my wife leaves a box of them out as a warning signal to keep my mouth shut every now and then.
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