A toilet is a necessary place to “visit” each day for every person on the planet and there is an amazing array of choices in the toilets from across the world. In a surprising number of countries the same crude, porcelain-lined hole in the ground that has been around for centuries is still the common choice.
In more technologically advanced countries, however, there have been amazing changes in toileting technology. Many of these changes have come to pass – (no pun intended) – in order to reduce water usage and to provide for the varied needs of the “baby-boomers”.
As a remodeling contractor, with 33 years in the business, one major change that I have seen in toilet installations in the Houston area is that I am installing “comfort-height” toilets. These have a seat height of 17” or 18” high, compared to the typical toilet seat height being at 14” high. Taller models are surprisingly much more comfortable for adults to get on and off of, unless they are short in stature. Unless the bathroom is going to be used by a small child or children, I am installing a comfort-height toilet in every bathroom remodel that I do.
I have also been installing more “wall-hung” toilets which allow for the toilet being placed at the most comfortable height for specific clients. It also has the advantage of leaving clear floor space underneath the bowl for easy maintenance and cleaning.
There are a number of high-tech models currently on the market that have temperature controls for the water, deodorizers, heated seats and fans that break down odorous molecules, digital clocks to tell users how long they have been on the toilet, and a control panel that offers a variety of flush strengths along with a device that automatically puts the seat down when you are done.
One of the most famous manufactures of toilet devices is called Toto. They make an amazing variety of “washlet” toilet seats that you can install on any existing American toilet, elongated or round. These require an electrical outlet because they have a heated toilet seat. In addition they spray warm water on your underside and blow you dry with warm air so there is no need for toilet paper. The fully configured Washlet is the “Lexus” of toiletry, and has enough lights, hoses, buttons, remote controls and temperature and water pressure adjustments to “bowl over” the most avid gadget freak.
Other technologies include a new toilet made by Matsushita which is a self-cleaning toilet, costing between $2,500 and $4,000. Now that’s a Japanese Super Bowl. It is made of a totally new glass material and is said to never need cleaning. Toto has also developed toilets that have tornado-like flush and a cleaning cycle that wipes away all the waste from the toilet. They also offer extra wide toilet seats, especially made for Sumo wrestlers.
If you have never used a bidet-like washlet that treats you like a high-end spa/car-wash, it may seem like a strange and uncomfortable idea. However, once you have experienced this new technology, it is hard to go back to the old porcelain throne that has become so familiar in our homes all these years. I urge you to – “try it….you’ll like it!” Are you OK? – you seem a little flushed!