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Toilet testing facility opens on West Side.

Feeling low flow but don't know how to get out of the dumps? Wondering whether those porcelain posterior putters actually deliver on their plumbing promises?

To answer his clients' questions about the city's toilet rebate program and the installation of 1.6 gallon per flush toilets, master plumber Fred Glass, president of Water Savers, Inc., has opened a toilet testing facility on Manhattan's West Side. His company, Water Savers, Inc., is also installing these toilets, aerators and showerheads to conform with the rebate program.

The cheery storefront is across the street from a neighborhood park, and passersby are astonished to see a row of pristine white thrones lined up against the wall on a platform reminiscent of a shoeshine stand.

Flush tests with various objects are performed for visitors, who are impressed by the differences in flushability. For example, some toilets take an extra flush to evacuate all of Glass' tough test media, not a good idea when trying to save water. Glass believes in pushing his evacuators to the limits, using 200 test balls for instance, while industry tests, developed by the American National Standard's Institute (ANSI), normally use 100 balls.

For another test that Glass and Vice President Fay Mrini developed, they use natural sponges, synthetic sponges, a special water-filled sausage-shaped testing balloon, all thrown on top of a spread baby wipe to achieve a mixed media result. There are flush tests that use tiny pellets and others with various flotsam and jetsam.

Surprisingly, some tank flushers act more like bidets, with a great deal of splash-up from the force of the rushing water. Others merely flick out a tiny droplet or two. The shape of some bowls give one reason to believe they could need constant cleaning by unit owners and tenants, while those with greater splashing could become an issue if water build-up harms floors or leaks through to the tenant below.

Flushometers can be tested using the owner's own water pressure, so comparisons can be made as to how well they will perform in the actual buildings.

Kitchen and bathroom aerators and a pulsating shower head are also tested on the spot with varying results. Glass and Mrini are giving what they feel are top-of-the-line shower heads and aerators as part of the toilet package that is being promoted to owners and co-op boards.

Prices begin at the rebate amount of $240 for a lean W.C. Corp. Savex model toilet with a slick rounded look, to a mid-range Toto, and up to around $400 for a Kolher Rosario that comes in a variety of decorator colors and will primarily appeal to upscale buildings.

Flushometer packages, by the nature of the equipment, is slightly more expensive than the city's $240 residential rebate.

"We give good shower heads," claimed Mrini, "Why should the owners give someone a piece of junk that they will take off and not use. The shower head we put in is $20 retail and the aerator is $7 to $10 retail."

Mrini has been involved in real estate for the last 20 years as an owner and manager of apartments in Riverdale, while Glass, a former sea urchin diver in Maine, has been a master plumber in New York City since 1977.

When the toilet rebate program was announced, they saw a bowlful of opportunities and began investigating what would be the best toilets, shower heads and aerators to use in these installations.

"We did it because I thought we would have to convince the owners that 1.6 works," Glass explained. "That is not a lot of water."

But, in their research, the duo have found that not all toilets marked as 1.6 are really 1.6. "They don't all use 1.6," he note, "some use up to 2.3, including a very popular one."

A supplier called him recently with an offer for a truckload of 1.6 toilets, albeit not a brand on the city's approved toilet list as of May 1994. Glass hooked up a sample toilet at his storefront and noticed right away the "spot" in the bowl - i.e. the water that sits inside the bowl - was very big, usually an indicator of a toilet that uses more water.

Sure enough, his measuring bucket nearly overflowed with 3.5 gallons as the test toilet did its duty. With most countries of the world going to the 6 liter/1.6 gallon standard, the outmoded Mexican commodes had been relabeled on the box as "1.6."
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Title Annotation:Manhattan, New York, New York
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 13, 1994
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