By Jon Eakes
Then there was the question of the request to move the toilet to the other side of the bathroom, as it was being expanded. Of course, that was impossible because of a finished living room ceiling below and about four joists in the way. So I decided to break all norms and locate a rear discharge toilet and run the drain pipes across the floor (in front of the bath tub, just under that designer step). Think about what this technique could do for basement renovations.
That started a very long process of discussion and testing. Most rear discharge toilets in North America are made for commercial use with noisy power assist flushing mechanisms, not really practical for a master bathroom. However, outside of North America, there are tons of choices in rear discharge toilets, simply because of concrete construction and not wanting to drill through the floor. Of course, they are all metric and not many are certified by CSA. No European companies wanted to bother to send me a sample because they felt they had no market here.
We finally got our hands on a Caroma hang-on-the-wall toilet from Australia. This is a down-flow toilet with dual flush - 6 litres and 3 litres. This product line has produced very good clearing performance in the low-flow testing that has been going on. So we put it into the test laboratory to see it if would clear well when hooked up to a 90-degree exit out the back to the side, over two feet, then another 90 degrees (that's where she wanted the toilet) and then 6 feet run to the old toilet standpipe, 90 degrees down into the joist area and 3 feet over to the stack. It worked! At least we had some advance information on upcoming research that told us that a 3-inch pipe at no more than 1/4-inch per foot slope gives the best carrying performance for low-flow toilets.
Then I had to put it in. Understand that this is all metric. The tank is separate from the hang-on-the-wall bowl, which is kind of cool, but that meant exiting the tank in metric, changing to imperial pipe, back to metric to get into the bowl, out of the bowl in metric about 6 inches in diameter, they supplied a reducer to about 5 inches in metric, then reducing to 3-inch drain pipe. Also, I discovered that a hang-on-the-wall toilet, when the backside is not open, is rather touchy as you have to carefully line up two bolts, the input pipe and the output pipe, and slide it all on without getting the slip-on gaskets out of line. The first time my vertically challenged wife sat down I got to start all over, as I discovered that the Australian standard is about 1-1/2 inches higher off the floor than ours and, for my wife, that means reading on her tip toes.
I wouldn't recommend the experience for a renovator until they get all the metric/imperial transition pieces down to a science. But it is a great toilet. The activation buttons are on the end of air tubes and hence can be placed anywhere you want. My sister-in-law couldn't figure out for the life of her how to flush the toilet. Of course, this is all being done under the title of "experiment", but it just might someday become commonly acceptable to plumbing inspectors. HB
Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.