Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some are more glamorous than others. New granite countertops and hardwood floors are examples of these jobs. These are the ones you post pictures of on Facebook.
Then there are those projects which are more, shall we say, utilitarian. They’re the kind of jobs left undone until they get swept-up in some larger project or until they make themselves a priority because something stops working.
Changing out a toilet is one of the latter, no-glam jobs. You do it when you remodel the whole bathroom, or when the current potty starts to, um, under-perform.
That was the situation I faced today at Kim’s parent’s house. The in-laws needed a new pot to, er, utilize. Tim to the rescue.
When they called, I was Johnny on the spot.
American Standard No-Tools Toilet (Way Cool!)
DIY toilet installation got a whole lot easier while I wasn’t looking. While you wouldn’t really think the job of replacing a standard toilet could change much, it can and it has thanks to some smart thinking at American Standard.
The “no-tools” Cadet 3 toilet I ordered at HomeDepot.com online and picked-up at The Home Depot around the corner a couple hours later was not what I was used to. I expected two boxes (bowl and tank), I got one box which was easily loaded into Kim’s car (HHR).
Everything I used to have to buy separately was in the box. I expected to buy a wax ring seal… it was in the box. I expected to buy a toilet seat…in the box.
In fact it was all in the box. If this had been a new installation then everything I would have needed was in that box. The only things NOT in the box were used for the removal of the old toilet, not the installation of the new one.
What A Simple Installation It Was
I took some step by step photos to show the install process, but don’t get too excited. There really wasn’t much to it. I didn’t even have to put the “guts” of the toilet together. They were already installed.
Take the old toilet off and follow a few simple steps to install the new one. If I hadn’t been dealing with 40 year-old plumbing it would have been a fifteen minute job. As it was, it took less than 45 minutes total start-to-finish.
What Does No-Tools Mean?
While the answer is obvious, I want to assure you that it is also true.
Every step of toilet installation has been thought through with the DIY’er in-mind. The directions are super simple and at every point of the job where you would have needed a tool (screwdriver, ratchet, wrench, etc.) you’ll find a nut that can be tightened by hand or a nifty little plastic extension handle for reaching the tight spots.
The bottom line is that I feel confident enough in the ease of this installation that I would say that just about anyone with the slightest bent toward being “handy around the house” could handle this job easily.
Unique Challenges of My Project
I ran into a couple of issues in this particular case.
1. The water supply valve wouldn’t shut completely off. This isn’t uncommon with old valves and is usually solved by simply turning off the water to the house. In this case I was able to just kink the flexible supply hose and clamp it, which stemmed the water flow.
2. I left the old bolts in-place – mistake. The new bolts supplied with the toilet had a different thread than the old ones, so the old ones weren’t compatible with the “no-tools” nuts supplied with the unit.
I didn’t learn this until I had the bowl in-place and aligned. At that point I decided I would rather just use the old-fashioned washers and nuts than to try and re-align the bolts and toilet bowl. Toilet bolts just slide into the flange with no tools so it would have taken two seconds to change them.
Now you know.
Other than the no-tools aspect, I also appreciated the efficiency and reported performance of this particular toilet.
This toilet uses only 1.28 gallons of water per flush, which is a huge reduction compared to the standard “low-flow” toilet which uses 1.6 gallons. Compare this to the old toilet we removed which used 3 gallons per flush and you can see how quickly the water savings will add-up.
The common sense next question is… will it still flush?
Since I installed this toilet in my father-in-law’s bathroom, I sure hope so! All of my research online makes me think everything will go down just fine. Technical details aside, they say that this toilet will actually flush more “mass” than its predecessors even though it uses less water. The consumer reviews I read online said the same thing.
I’ll find out very soon if not! (update: a week has passed and I’m told the toilet works as advertised!)
Need a New Toilet? Go for it! No Tools or Experience Required.
The bottom line is that this installation was pretty much a breeze and the no-tools thing American Standard has come up with is a major improvement. It’s not just marketing hype. It’s actually much, much, much easier to install than the traditional set-up.
Based on my experience installing this toilet, I can recommend it for you at any skill level (just don’t miss the box of “what-if” scenarios above…).