Make Bathroom Fixtures Great Again

     Early in December of 2019, America’s president addressed a topic that was bothering his political base, water saving bathroom fixtures. The regulations that govern the installation of new fixtures were first signed into force by an earlier Republican president and reaffirmed by a subsequent Democratic one. They’ve been regulating things for nearly 30 years. 

     The president was upset. He said that showers didn’t deliver enough pressure to btdhe, sinks enough to wash hands, or toilets enough flow to flush cleanly. America’s water surplus, derived from rain, was being wasted into the ocean. Responses to the remarks came from many quarters, none particularly favoring the president, but some admitting that he may have had a point, especially regarding toilets. Early models of “low volume flush” fixtures included some, the performance of which, was less than stellar.

     Bathroom fixtures in Taiwan, where we mainly lived from 1976 to 2018, have also evolved. Some of the changes were, indeed, to cut the amount of water they used, and some for “stylistic” reasons. We’ve resided or sojourned at places where the toilet tank hung high on a wall, where it was attached to a wall and connected to the stool by an angled pipe, where, like in America, it is bolted to the stool, and during a couple weeks in January of 2020, in a place where the tank itself is part of a single unit with the stool, and almost no higher than the top of the stool itself. This last one was, to say the least, problematic.

Screenshot 2020-01-19 at 14.02.47

    The problem was not that it didn’t flush. Things were configured so that water entered at the bottom in a way that created a swirl that washed out whatever had been left there to be flushed. It didn’t need an extra 10 or 15 flushes, as the president suggested in December. But it was still a bad toilet. It smelled of urine.  Downstairs in the same facility where we stayed there was an old-fashioned, unsleek and unfashionable commode. It didn’t smell at all. So I watched the both of them. In the traditional one, the flush water entered from just under the rim, rinsing the walls of the bowl as it headed to the bottom where it raised the level of water enough to create a flush. The newer toilet never got rinsed. Whatever urine may have been splashed about the interior of the bowl in the middle of the night when the lights were off stayed there to dry out.

     Having discovered that, it was merely a matter of using the brush to rectify the matter. Things ceased to reek soon afterward. 

David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan. 

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