Bathroom updating (aka everything you didn’t want to know about toilets)

OK, feel free to skip past this post, but it took an evening, but right now I feel like the worlds expert on toilets and all things modern (and no there will be no yucky talk here). But here’s the scoop:


We’ve been using the Toto Drake II 1.28GPF which is a “flagship” model at $350 (right hand lever is the CST454CEFRG which you can decode as model 454 which is elongated, ADA height and the CE means the coating, R means right hand or at Home Depot). Toto is reliable and this hits the middle of the road. It is pretty expensive, but on the other hand it is going to last a lifetime. While you can get these on Amazon, using a local place like Home Depot might make more sense. It is easier to return there! [Note that these are all right hand levers, subtract the “R” from the model number to get the left side]

The difference between the Drake and the Drake II is the double cyclone because let’s face it you want a lot of cyclone when dealing with toilets 🙂

If you are smaller and do not want ADA approved and need a round bowl for a tighter space, then a good choice is the Eco Drake 1.28GPF Round with traditional. The market for non-ADA is much smaller, so you can’t get the regular drake style in non-ADA round. Also it is the older Drake so less flush 🙂

None of these come with a seat, so you need either the elongated SS114 at Amazon.

The details

  1. Twenty years ago, the government mandated 1.6 gallons per flush toilets. This is a huge reduction from the 3 gallons before. Might now seem like much, but it does add up and toilet flushes are one of the highest uses of water in most homes.
  2. Today, the new push is to get to 1.28 gallons per flush. In drought areas like LA (not this year!), this is actually required. Amazingly, computer modeling and various techniques allow reliability at this level. This is called Ecosense by the way EPA. The best ones are really very good now.
  3. There are also more complicated two button systems that have a 1.6 and a 0.9 gallon flush pattern. This is designed so the arithmetically 1.28 🙂 Maintenance of course is more complicated and it’s harder to deal with than a lever.
  4. Coatings. The higher end toilets have these special coatings that are easier to clean, they cost more, but what the heck.

Well people are also getting taller and older, so there are some new ADA requirements that most modern toilets fulfill:

  1. Height. The old standard was 15 inches, now ADA is 17-19 inches. While not a big deal, it probably is a good thing to get an ADA one for home resale.
  2. Shape. The so called elongated bowl is also ADA.
  3. Level side. ADA requires that you put the lever on the “entry” side. The standard is on the left, but many times, you need it on the right, so you need the “R” models.
  4. Seat. These guys are tricky, they don’t include a $40 seat with the toilet, so beware