50 year old toilet

topic posted Sat, January 14, 2006 - 5:41 PM by  Unsubscribed
My tenant complained that the toilet has a weak flush. I could find nothing wrong with it. So I had my plumber take a look at it. He said it had calcium build up that was slowing down the flush flow into the bowl (not his exact terminology)

He recommended replacing it with one of new low volume toilets that have excellent flush. They're not cheap, though. The cheap low volume toilets don't flush well, either. Of course the old high volume toilets like the orignal toilet are no longer on the market around here and are against code.

Is there a way to remove the calcuim build up? My plumber was not optimistic about that, and I know this was his honest opinon and not an attempt to sell me more. He's busy enough he doesn't need to push me to buy things.

But maybe there is some DIY trick out there? I just can't afford a new expensive toilet right now.
posted by:
  • Unsu...

    Re: 50 year old toilet

    Sat, January 14, 2006 - 7:21 PM
    What you talking about? You can get a mighty fine toilet for a c note.
    • -
      offline 12

      Re: 50 year old toilet

      Sat, January 14, 2006 - 9:37 PM
      > What you talking about?

      CA toilets, I think.
      • Unsu...

        Re: 50 year old toilet

        Sat, January 14, 2006 - 9:42 PM
        CA as in California? Are toilets more expensive there?

        I bought a fantastic low flow designer toilet with fully glazed innards and a ceramic handle and moulded sides for $99 at home depot 2 years ago. Oh, and it's one of them that is all higher up and pokes out more.
        • -
          offline 12

          Re: 50 year old toilet

          Sat, January 14, 2006 - 10:07 PM
          Yes, California toilets :)
          They are different than in any other state because they can flush at most 1.6 gal (6 liter) per flush. The design is tricky and they are much more expensive ($500 min?)

          • Unsu...

            Re: 50 year old toilet

            Sun, January 15, 2006 - 1:11 AM
            Oh my gawd, what plumber told you that fairy tale? All the toilets are 1.6 gallons nowadays - both the last ones I got, the one 2 years ago and the one 5 years ago. It'd be hard to find a toilet other than 1.6 gallon anywhere in the US. Tell us the name of the plumber that told you you can only get them in California and they cost $500 so we can telephone him and tell him off. What a lying sack of &*!@ scuzzbag criminal he is! Go down to the feraking Home Depot and get yourself a fine 1.6 gallon toilet for $100. Just make sure that they are glazed on the inside. The $40 ones are NOT and it ain't worth getting them because without the glazing, the 1.6 gallons is a problem.
            • -
              offline 12

              Re: 50 year old toilet

              Sun, January 15, 2006 - 2:48 AM
              > All the toilets are 1.6 gallons nowadays...

              Hey, I had no idea :)
              When I was living in MA I had never noticed it. May be because

              > Tell us the name of the plumber that told you

              I am renting.
              The price I have quoted was the average that shows up on you can find much cheaper stuff though.

              • Unsu...

                Re: 50 year old toilet

                Sun, January 15, 2006 - 3:30 AM
                HM, OK - at if you go to the toilet's category, the first page they show you DOES show the $500 models, interesting! I have never even seen a $500 toilet at a homedepot though - these must be special order ones only.

                But if you look at that column on the left 'show by price', it shows how many products they have in each price range. As it happens, see that the $100-$200 range has more models than almost all the other ranges combined? But, OK, most of those are only 1/2 the toilet, so you have to get both halfs and that comes to $250 or so. And hey, I see a model almost like the one I paid $100 for and it is $250. It looks like their web prices are a bit higher than the prices in the store. Or maybe those are the special Calif. prices! But if that is so, really they do charge less for the exact same models out of state!
                • Unsu...

                  Re: 50 year old toilet

                  Sun, January 15, 2006 - 3:36 AM
                  OK, here is the $99 toilet model I got. I guess I got this one at lowes and not depot:


                  It is $249!!! These web prices are a bit different from store prices!
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: 50 year old toilet

                    Sun, January 15, 2006 - 8:37 AM
                    That one is different than you 99.00 job... I recently inistalled a Jacuzzi power flush the internals and the porting is very different and it does work great.

                    It still uses the 1.6 gallons but had a different plunger that funnels the water out much harder and thee ports are angled to increase velocity through the bowl.

                    The 99.00 one is a fully glazed model but has a standard flush mechanism. It is still a pretty good comode, but not the same as the jacuzzi.

                    You also are paying for the Jacuzzi name and the styling. While it looks like a 2 piece it is a one piece model.

  • Re: 50 year old toilet

    Sun, January 15, 2006 - 5:26 AM
    If you can find one, a salvage yard will have clean, used toilets. We replaced our toilet for $25. This one isn't brand new, but, considering how hard the water is here, it appears to have been used very little.

    The place I went also has some new things. Builders often have leftovers after a project, and they donate them to this place. It's a tax writeoff for them, and a helluva deal for me! They had many new toilets there, too. Considering the age of our house though (it turns 50 this year -- Happy Birthday, House!), we wanted one that echoed the older style. We're not too into "Modern."

    Look in the Yellow Pages under "Building Materials and Supplies," or something like that. That's where I found the one we went to. But, it's also listed under "Building Materials - Retail," because they do carry some new stuff. Don't limit it to a "Used" listing." Ask around at the building places (Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.), and see if they know of a place like this. I know that CA has reclaimed places. Trust me, Phoenix is not ahead of anyone else in anything! (Okay, except maybe Kentucky. We're ahead of them in many things! ;D )

  • Unsu...

    Re: 50 year old toilet

    Sun, January 15, 2006 - 2:55 PM
    Well, trying to find a pre "1.6 gallon max" model from a surplus shop around here is a challenge. If they still work, fanatics who like to defy the government have found them first. They like to brag about how they got a pre-New World Order toilet and how no French communist from the United Nations is going to dictate how many gallons flow thru their craper. Our forefathers died defending this country so we could all flush 5 gallons every time we take a wizz.

    Meanwhile, no one answered my question. Can my old toilet be de-calcified, or do I have to bite the bullet and buy a new one?

    Eventually, I will buy a good quality 1.6 gallon, but right now its not in the budget. And the budget 1.6 gallon models don't flush so great and so would not solve my problem.
    • -
      offline 12

      Re: 50 year old toilet

      Sun, January 15, 2006 - 4:11 PM
      > French communist from the United Nations is going to dictate how
      > many gallons flow thru their craper

      As an Italian Communist, I can assure you that no such a restriction exists in both France and Italy. Came back from China a few weeks ago and even in the very Communist Beijing, toilets were flushing at full power.

      > Can my old toilet be de-calcified

      Try with cheap vinegar, may be CLR...
    • Unsu...

      Re: 50 year old toilet

      Sun, January 15, 2006 - 5:32 PM
      Arg! You are totally infuriating! The $100 ones work FANTASTIC. You don't need a foo-foo $500 communist one. Don't buy a $40 one. But you are fixated on this whole 'toilets cost too much' when there is obviously some OTHER issue you are not disclosing or you would have said 'great I'll get a $100 one - cheers'. I hate it when DIYers have some secrset undisclosed agenda that makes them ask questions then ignore all the advise they get. To decalcify, use hydrochloric acid. There are a large number of heavy duty toilet cleaning products that are HCl and will do what you want. The side effect is that they ruin the glazing, but your old toilet is not glazed on the inside and it sounds like what you are really asking for is a $5 quick fix so there it is.

      Note to others: do not use HCl cleaning products on your toilet except as a last resort.
      • Re: 50 year old toilet

        Sun, January 15, 2006 - 10:14 PM
        <undisclosed agenda>

        ive never heard toilet trouble sound so mysterious before.

        • Unsu...

          Re: 50 year old toilet

          Sun, January 15, 2006 - 11:08 PM
          It's clearly part of some grand conspiracy and we are unwilling shills in the secret agenda!

          Come clean! Admit what this is really about - the number 58 is some sort of code.
          • Unsu...

            Re: 50 year old toilet

            Mon, January 16, 2006 - 11:42 AM
            Y'all are too funny.

            Think I have an agenda? Yeah, I am not just some owner of a few rental units and a small business attorney. Actually, I am a shrill for the luxury toilet manufacturers association. I am a plant. I am here to propagandize you all into buying $14,000 toilets. Now go out and do it!

            But seriously, no way am I buying some cheap Home Depo Glacier Bay toilet for my rental properties. At least not unless someone can demonstrate that it is made by the same companies that make the good stuff and is just cheaper because it is a store brand. So far, most Glacier Bay products I have purchased have already found their way into the municipal land fill.

            If I must buy something new, I look for top quality goods from a company that has earned its reputation and that will last and not cause me anymore trouble or complaints from my tenants.

            Bu I'm not going to go out and buy some status symbol toilet either, and I am not a sucker for designer brand names. It's just a toilet.

            All I wanted to know is if I could fix the thing without replacing the toilet.
  • Unsu...

    remove the calcium build up...

    Sun, January 15, 2006 - 8:50 PM
    Lime away.
    • Re: remove the calcium build up...

      Mon, January 16, 2006 - 1:52 PM
      Lime away is a good way to go! Or you can go to you city and ask them what they doing to save water? Some (not all cities) will pay you to bye a new one!
      • Unsu...

        I think this is a really silly thread...

        Mon, January 16, 2006 - 2:00 PM
        yep - most municipalities anymore will give you a break/rebate for buying a low flush toilet...

        I bought a low flush (1.6 gal) American Standard at Home Depot for less than $100 four years ago and have had no problems with it since (we use American Standard at the hospital where I work and they seem pretty okay).
        • return on investment

          Mon, January 16, 2006 - 4:36 PM
          I was holding out for a couple of expensive Toto water closets but finally gave in and went for two reasonably priced American Standard "comfort" fixtures. Comfort means an extra coupla inches taller than a typical toilet. Given the cost of water and sewer around here I'm sure I've made my investment back AND I've never had a problem yet. FWIW, I bought them at a plumbing supply house as opposed to a big box store. I've learned that there IS a difference in the quality of seemingly "alike" products.
          • Re: return on investment

            Mon, January 16, 2006 - 11:02 PM
            I gave away a great old toilet (needed new color) there, and many would love to get rid of them when remodeling.

            All free. always.
            • Unsu...

              Re: return on investment

              Tue, January 17, 2006 - 10:54 AM
              Who pays the water bill, you or your tenants?
              A low-flow toilet will save you money in the long run. Plus, many water companies offer rebates for replacing a toilet that old, which uses up to 7 gallons per flush.
              A toilet that old will contiue to give you problems as things constantly wear out.
              I replaced two 55 year old toilets with Caroma dual-flushers. ( I got a hundred dollar rebate for each toilet AND my water bill dropped by 2/3. For me, it made business sense to lower my yearly operating costs.
              The dual flushers really work.
  • Unsu...

    Re: 50 year old toilet

    Tue, January 17, 2006 - 1:34 PM
    muriatic acid should attack the deposits.
    It'll also wreck the iron sanitary lines so if you use it be sure that it can actually get at the deposit and that you flush the hell out of the line and dump in a few boxes of baking soda on the last "rince" flush.
    • -
      offline 12

      Re: 50 year old toilet

      Tue, January 17, 2006 - 5:58 PM
      > muriatic acid should attack the deposits.

      Yes, but as X.J. pointed out, it will ruin the glaze
      • Unsu...

        Re: 50 year old toilet

        Tue, January 17, 2006 - 6:43 PM
        Honestly, I think that a 50 yr old toilet won't have any glaze inside - back then they relied on sheer force of water pressure to get things moving.
      • Unsu...

        Re: 50 year old toilet

        Wed, January 18, 2006 - 6:04 AM
        Yah what XJ said: Glaze Schmaze. It's old.

        Look the guy has to clear it up or toss it those are the options. Mincing around niceties is way behind him now.

        Time to get out the shotguns and the 50 Caliber.
  • Re: 50 year old toilet

    Sat, February 3, 2007 - 9:23 PM
    (better late than never!!)


    I had a plumber "diagnose" my slow flushing toilet the other day and he told me (JUST by watching it flush, mind you!) that I needed a new toilet. He told me that the drain OUT was all filled up with calcium deposits and that was why the tissue would not go down. He said he could put a new toilet in for a mere $300. HE LIED. There was nothing really wrong with the drain OUT, but if the water isn't coming IN fast enough, it could appear that the problem is a blockage.

    I told him I'd think about it and went to my hardware store. I explained the problem and they told me to buy a bottle of either Lime Away or CLR. I got Lime Away Thick Formula. Following their advice, I turned off the water supply, and after all the water went down, I picked up the rubber flapper (inside the tank) and squirted the whole bottle inside. I watched for a few minutes and nothing happened, so I left and came back about 45 minutes later. The bowl was full of the green liquid and dozens of black and brown specks. I flushed the toilet and it was definitely better than before. I flushed a couple more times, took a wire coat hanger and unplugged a couple of the tiny fill holes inside the rim that were clogged, and repeated the flapper trick with a second bottle of Lime Away. After about an hour, I flushed the toilet and, I swear, it's just like brand new!!

    We've flushed it over a hundred times so far and it's perfect. The plumber was just trying to make money off me. Instead, I spent under $9 and about two minutes of labor and have a better than new toilet. Thank God for Aco hardware!!!

    For anyone who is told they need a new toilet, try this first, you may be amazed!

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