Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The new Stealth toliets by Niagara Conservation get a big thumbs up from AquaPro & the AERC

I am happy to report that the new MaP testing station at the Aqua Environmental Resource Center in Asheville is functional. Although it is an unofficial test facility it does provide an opportunity for unbiased performance evaluations. Although I understand the necessity of establishing uniform testing standards and criteria, I also live in the real world. Official MaP testing adheres to EPA mandated criteria that isn't necessarily representative of "real world use" of a toilet. It's based on averages; and people are not all average. 

So on to our initial test subjects. As one of the first facilities/showrooms in the US to receive the Stealth toilet for testing and demonstration, we were eager to do a performance evaluation of the new toilet by Niagara Conservation. The Stealth toilet is one very unique toilet indeed. It is the only gravity flush two piece toilet currently on the market that flushes on less than one gallon of water. The Stealth toilet uses only 0.8 gallons per flush; that is half the amount of water allowed by mandates established in the mid 1990's. It is almost one half gallon less than the new High Efficiency Toilet (HET) standard of 1.28gpf established recently by the EPA Water Sense Program. The Stealth toilet is way ahead of the curve with the Ultra High Efficiency Toilet (UHET) rating of 0.8 gallons per flush (gpf). 
Remembering the fiasco of the mid 90's when toilets were forced into the market before they had been adequately evaluated for performance, we were initially skeptical of the Stealth toilets and anxious to test it's performance. I am a strong advocate for products that help improve water conservation. I evaluate a lot of products because I know that not all of them actually perform as they claimed by manufacturers. The concern for me is that consumers won't buy in to the idea of conservation if they have bad experiences with new products. 
The Stealth toilets performance was impressive to say the least. When testing toilets at the AERC we use varying size and weight combination of test material to more accurately represent what may be present in a real world environment. Our test matter sizes vary in all three categories and are both larger and smaller than EPA recommendations. The Stealth toilet consistently flushed 750 grams of test matter; soy paste in latex sleeve of varying sizes and weights. We were successful up to 800 grams although inconsistently. We found that above 750 grams the Stealth performed more consistently with test matter in line with the EPA standards of 3/4" diameter, 4"length weighing 50 grams each. By all means still a very impressive performance. 

Niagara's Stealth toilet has proven it's ability to clear the toilet bowl on such a small volume of water. There are other things of very relevant importance when considering whether a toilet is going to perform well on any given plumbing system. We not only want to fully clear waste from the bowl, but we also want the waste be carried properly down the pipe and into the general "stream" of sewerage so to speak. With only 0.8gpf to carry the waste this becomes a bit of an issue. Not insurmountable but potentially problematic in older homes. The strait horizontal carry distance of the Stealth toilet is not greater than 20 feet. What this means is that if you have less than 20ft horizontal run with no changes in direction to the nearest vertical plumbing stack, you have nothing to be concerned about. If the run is over 20 feet or there are offsets in the line you will need to be sure there is an additional fixture between the toilet and the stack to help wash the waste down the drain. I could spend a lot more time on options for this scenario but we'll leave it for you to inquire if you have any specific questions. All in all the Stealth toilet is well worth the investment. Particularly in multistory apartment building, condos, hotels and high rise buildings which tend to have shorter horizontal runs of plumbing waste piping. 

Another consideration is the manufacturer. Niagara Conservation has proven to be reliable and conscientious. They have brought to market two of the most innovative toilet design changes in decades. The Niagara Flapperless Toilet in 1.6gpf or 1.28gpf, and now the Stealth Toilet; all of which are highly recommended by AquaPro, as are most of Niagara Conservation products. 


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