History of the Modern Toilet

Toilet

Did you know that toilet seats were created thousands of years after the first toilets? There is still some debate on exactly how old the first toilet is, but researchers date the appearance of toilets back to either Scotland in 300 BC or to the Greek Island of Crete at the Palace of Knossos in 1700 BC. These inventions were simply clay pans connected to a running water supply. The original toilets had no seats.

About 4,500 years ago, toilets went through a bit of an evolution. Ancient, wealthy Egyptians’ commissioned carved limestone seats that were then situated over drainage gullets. Although these had to be flushed out with water manually, these devices were considered a luxury. Those who couldn’t afford them relied on ceramic pots or wicker seats with holes in their centers. Certainly, no toilet seat there either.

The Romans were the first civilization to provide hundreds of communal latrines, which were benches with holes, draining similarly to their Egyptian predecessors but still, no toilet seat.

In 1592, Sir John Harington, godson of Queen Elizabeth I invented the first flush toilet. It was a water closet that had a raised cistern and a small downpipe through which water ran to flush the waste. Sir John Harington’s chosen profession was a poet, but after he built himself a house and created the first ever flushing toilet, he was regarded as an inventor. Queen Elizabeth herself even tested and approved of his design. The idea of a flushing lavatory was eventually improved upon in 1775 when Alexander Cummings created a pipe underneath the toilet’s basin to minimize odors. Once again, no toilet seat; however, the use of the toilet became more widespread in the 1800s.

In the late 1880’s, master plumber and sanitary equipment company owner, Thomas Crapper, was commissioned by Prince Edward to design and install the plumbing in his new home. The design included 30 custom made porcelain toilets. After this first royal job, Thomas Crapper would go on to receive another commission from Edward while he was king and from King George V.

Finally, in 1927, Tom Bradney created the toilet seat as we know it. When he did this, he unwittingly polarized a population. Many people are still arguing to this whether the toilet seat should be left up or put down after use. What do YOU think is proper etiquette?

Need help with your toilet? FloHawks Plumbing Service knows toilets.

FloHawks has trusted and certified plumbing professionals who know the right way to fix your toilet quickly and professionally. To have your toilet serviced or a new toilet installed, give us a call anytime at (800) 356-4295 or use our convenient Schedule Your Service tool, which allows you to set an appointment that fits your schedule.

Can You Still Use the Toilet While Your Water Is Turned Off?

Flush

Normally, you’d never have to worry about having to flush your toilet without running water, but if a situation occurs such as a broken pipe in your home, or a natural disaster, you may be forced to use your toilet after the water has been turned off.

When your water is turned off, your toilet will have one flush left. After that, you will need to manually add water back into your toilet in order to flush it again.

The Bucket Method

In order to add water back into your toilet, you will need a bucket, and a water source. First, fill the bucket with water from another water source. Then, remove the tank lid from the toilet and pour the water in up to the fill line. Once the water has been poured into the tank, you should be able to flush the toilet another time. You will have to repeat this process if you plan on using the toilet again while your water is turned off.

Pro Tip: If you have advanced warning that your water will be shut off, you can fill your bathtub with water specifically to be used for flushing.

If you need help with your water supply or plumbing, FloHawks is ready to help.

As your local plumbing experts, FloHawks is always here to help with any of your plumbing issues and questions. FloHawks has trusted and certified plumbing professionals who know how to fix any kind of plumbing problem quickly and correctly.

To have your residential plumbing issues fixed, give FloHawks a call anytime at (800) 356-4295 or use our convenient Schedule Your Service tool, which allows you to set up an appointment that works with your schedule.

How to Soundproof Loud Sinks

Water pipe under kitchen sink

The last thing your kitchen needs is a loud sink, but many of us have them. Usually, the inexpensive stainless-steel sinks are the noisy ones because they are made from thin sheets of steel that loudly reverberate sound when you run water and wash dishes, cookware, and utensils. And if you have a double sink made of thin stainless-steel, you may have double the noise.

Although there are several ways to soundproof a loud sink, the fastest, easiest, and most inexpensive way is to apply spray polyurethane expanding foam insulation. To do the job, you will need one or two cans of the foam, newspaper (or similar paper), masking tape, safety glasses, and a dust mask.

  1. Prepare Your Space
    Make sure that you remove everything you store in the cabinet under your sink. Next, wrap and tape the sheets of paper around the rubber hoses, dishwasher hose, as well as the hot- and cold-water flexible supply lines. If you have a garbage disposal, wrap and tape that the same way.
  2. Put on Your Protective Gear
    Safety is always important. At this point, you will need to put on your safety glasses and dust mask before moving on to the next step.
  3. Apply the Foam
    Carefully read and follow all of the instructions before opening the can of spray foam. Then, starting at the back of your sink, apply the foam being careful to keep your strokes uniform. Also, spray the foam on the back side of the sink bowl or bowls. Then, spray the foam on the outer sides of your sink bowl, including the area between the bowls if you have a double sink. Next, coat the underside of the bowl or bowls with the spray, and spray lightly around the sink basket’s underside.
  4. Wait an Hour Before Testing
    After waiting an hour, remove all of the taped paper and test the sink. Look carefully for any wet spots that may be caused by any fittings you may have accidentally loosened. If you find any wet areas, make sure to address the cause of those.
  5. If Necessary, Repeat the Process
    Once you have had time to use your newly soundproofed sink, you should hear the difference. You may find that the layers of foam you applied are still not enough and therefore, you may decide to apply more foam. In that case, start with step 1 again.

Don’t want to soundproof your sink yourself? FloHawks Plumbing Service can help.

FloHawks has trusted and certified plumbing professionals who know the right way to soundproof your sink quickly and professionally. We will schedule an appointment that best suits your schedule and dispatch our team to your home to tackle your loud sink issues or any other plumbing issues you may be dealing with. Our team is conscientious and will make sure to leave no mess for you to deal with.

To have your sink soundproofed, give FloHawks a call anytime at (800) 356-4295 or use our convenient Schedule Your Service tool.

How to Install a Wax Seal on Your Toilet

wax seal

If you decide to remove your toilet yourself, either to fix it or replace it, you will also need to replace the wax ring seal that is positioned between the toilet and the toilet anchor flange that is attached to your floor. While there are several steps involved in this process that can get a bit complicated, installing the wax seal properly is relatively simple to do.

Tools and Materials You Will Need

  • Adjustable Wrenches
  • Toilet Plunger
  • Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Towels
  • Replacement Wax Ring
  • Replacement Toilet Mounting Bolts
  • Plumber’s Tape
  • Four 2”x4”x6” wood blocks
  • Disposable Gloves

Drain the Toilet’s Tank, Disconnect the Water Supply

Have your bucket and towels nearby before you start in case of leaks during the process. Turn the supply-line valve located at the back of the toilet to off. Next, flush and sponge the water from the tank until it is dry, using a plunger to push any remaining water in the bowl. If there is still water, sponge the rest out. For faster results, use a wet/dry shop vacuum.

Detach the Water Supply Line Hose and Remove Nuts Securing the Toilet

Use your bucket and towels to catch any water leaking out of the hose in this process. Loosen the nuts, then remove them while applying only moderate pressure to avoid bending or breaking the toilet flange.

Lift the Toilet Off the Floor

With your 2”x4”x6” blocks nearby, lift the toilet off the floor on one side, tilting it so that you can place it on two blocks on one side, then do the other.

Remove the Old Bolts and Insert the New Ones

Make certain that you are not damaging the toilet flange in the process.

Replace the Wax Ring

Put on your disposable gloves before pressing the wax ring into place. This is around the raised ring at the bottom of the toilet drain on the underside. Wax rings come in different heights and with or without the funnel or bell. Be sure to get the one that fits your toilet properly. Rubber rings are also available in lieu of messy wax.

Reset the Toilet

Lift the toilet, removing the blocks and placing it so that the bowl drain is over the floor drain. Then lower it into place, making sure that the mounting screws show through the holes in the base. Apply light pressure, helping the wax ring seal tightly.

Attach Toilet Washers and Bolts

Make certain that the toilet doesn’t rock when this is completed.

Apply Plumber’s Tape and Reattach Your Water Supply

Place the tape around the tank inlet threads and test your system after you have reattached the water supply.

Don’t want to install the wax seal on your toilet yourself?  FloHawks can help

FloHawks has trusted and certified plumbing professionals who are experienced in installing the wax seal on toilets. If you don’t have time to spend tackling this project or just don’t think you have the right skill set, Schedule Your Service online with FloHawks. You will be able to set up an appointment that fits your schedule and our team will take care of everything for you.

Tips When Installing a New Toilet

Tips When Installing a New Toilet

Installing a new toilet can be time-consuming and a little complex. The key to a successful toilet installation is being prepared ahead of time, having the right tools, and keeping some basic tips in mind.

What will I need to buy?

Measure the old toilet before purchasing the new one

To make certain your new toilet will fit the area where the old one fit, you will need to measure the old toilet. Most have a waste pipe that is centered about 12 inches from the wall; however, you will want to check to make sure. To take this measurement, measure from the wall to the bolts that hold the toilet down. If this measurement isn’t 12 inches, it may be more difficult than taking a trip to the nearest home improvement store for equipment. You will likely need to special order a toilet if the measurement is either 10 inches or 14 inches. Also, if there is a door near where the toilet is positioned, measure how far out the toilet bowl extends to make certain that the model you are choosing doesn’t block the door from closing. Some new toilets come with the tank internals already installed and adjusted. If not, follow the instructions to build the fill valve, float and overflow.

Make sure the new toilet has brass bolts and stainless-steel screws

These are the most durable and they will not rust; they are also the easiest to cut. Plan on cutting the bolts to size as one of the last steps to install the toilet.

Buy a second set of nuts and washers to lock the bolts in place

This will make positioning and setting the toilet much easier.

Buy a flexible water line that is covered with a stainless-steel mesh

These are easier to install than the plastic or metal lines.

Assemble the Right Tools

toiletWhen you are ready to install the new toilet you have purchased, assemble all of the tools necessary for the task:

  • Caulk gun
  • Cordless drill
  • Hacksaw
  • Locking pliers
  • Pliers
  • Rags
  • Shop vacuum
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Level

Steps for installing the new toilet

Cut the bolts holding the old toilet in place and remove them

This is where a hacksaw is handy to cut the old hold-down bolts out of place. Use the locking pliers stop them from spinning as you are cutting. When you have removed them, insert the new bolts in their place and use your second set of nuts and washers to secure them.

Setting the toilet

Once you have removed the old toilet, prepare to put the new one in place onto the new bolts. The extra set of nuts and washers will help keep them from slipping as you try to align the bolts with the holes they fit into in the new toilet. To keep from damaging the toilet’s wax ring or moving it out of place, first remove the wax ring, then set the toilet in place to check its height and position and lift it off. Put the wax ring in place and set the toilet in position over the wax ring. Check that the toilet flange is sitting at the proper level.  If it isn’t, this is a good time to replace or repair it.

Securing the wax ring

Sit on the toilet backward, centering your weight on the wax ring, then move around on it as it begins to settle into the floor. When you feel the toilet reach the floor, tighten the bolts.

Attaching the water line

To make sure it is sealed properly, aim the hose into the center of the shutoff/fill valve and tighten carefully with pliers. Test the system for leaks.

Pro-tip:  If the tank is not already installed on the bowl, make sure to properly seat the tank to bowl gasket and alternate tightening the tank bolts for a snug, leak free fit. Porcelain is fragile, so don’t overtighten hardware!

Don’t want to install your new toilet yourself? FloHawks can help

FloHawks has trusted and certified plumbing professionals who know the right way to remove your old toilet and install your new toilet quickly and professionally. We are available to install your new toilets and to handle any other residential plumbing needs you may have.

To have your new toilet installed by the experienced plumbers at FloHawks, give us a call anytime at 1-800-356-4295 or use our online Schedule Your Service tool, which allows you to set an appointment that fits your schedule.