Evan Matzen, Manager, Sustainability

 

Korky® is a large manufacturer of toilet flappers and fill valves. I was excited to talk to Megan Clifford, the company’s Senior Sales and Marketing Specialist, about selecting the correct flappers. See below for our conversation and check out the post next week on fill valves.

 

Evan Matzen: How prevalent are toilet leaks and why are toilets so susceptible?

Megan Clifford: 20% of ALL toilets are leaking right now, which is a startling amount of water! It is possibly more surprising that the average leaking toilet wastes 200 to 4,800 gallons of water per day. Toilets are susceptible to leaks because of harsh water, which is caused by:

    1. Municipal water treatments
    2. Corrosive drop-in bowl cleaners added by consumers

These chemicals create a harsh environment for the toilet parts, which are constantly in standing water.

E: What can I do to prevent leaks?

M: Look for Korky®’s red rubber in the HD Supply catalog. Our red proprietary rubber is the most advanced material available and comes with a five-year warranty. It is made to withstand harsh chemicals for a longer life, and it is 100% rubber for a tight, leak-free seal on a flush valve! The Korky® Plus flapper is the best-selling flapper in the country and is the choice of plumbing professionals.

E: The process of replacing a flapper isn’t very complicated, but I understand that picking the right flapper is more involved.

M: You are correct; replacing a flapper takes five minutes, at most. It is possibly the easiest thing to do to save water in a household. The reason that picking the correct flapper can be more involved is that toilets have changed a lot in the last 15 years. In 1994, theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation went into effect mandating that every toilet manufactured had to use a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF). This legislation was a catalyst for change, as toilet manufacturers had to be innovative to make better performing toilets. In doing this, toilet parts became more diverse and the selection widened.

Beware! Some universal flapper designs when installed in a newer toilet (1.6 or 1.28 GPF) will flush more water than intended because they stay open too long. If you are servicing a newer toilet, you will need an adjustable flapper in order to fine-tune water usage to match OEM GPF.

Age of Toilet Flush Valve Size HDS Part Product Name Image
Older than 1994 2” 579508 Korky® Plus korky_1
Any age 2” 579320 Korky® Plus Adjustable korky_2
1994 and newer 2” 579509 Korky® Plus 1.6 korky_3
1997 and newer 3” 579522 Korky® 3″ Universal korky_4

*Many Kohler® toilets need a special flapper; see our Catalog V61 for details.

 

However, some toilets do not use a flapper at all! Some Kohler®, American Standard®, and Mansfield® toilets utilize a tower-style system. In this case, see page 359 in Catalog V61 forreplacement seals.

E: So choosing the wrong flapper will impact your water consumption? Isn’t it a good thing for your toilet to use less water?

M: The replacement products that are installed in a toilet most definitely impact water usage. While the toilet may have “1.6 GPF” stamped on it, once replacement parts have been installed the GPF can be altered.

In efforts to use less water in a particular toilet model, find a balance between performance and water use. Of course using less water is a good thing. However, if the GPF is altered too severely, performance problems like clogging or double flushing could occur.

While it is a good thing to save water by cutting down water usage, if you are servicing a very old toilet (we affectionately call the 5 and 7 GPF toilets “dinosaurs”), the best way to achieve a 1.28 flush is to buy a new toilet. A new toilet may be more affordable than you think and it may be time to upgrade.

 

Have you replaced a flapper at your property?  If so, did you notice a difference in water consumption?

 

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