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Much cheaper than solar panels

Post in 'The Green Room' started by webbie, Jun 8, 2006.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    We had an interesting speaker at my local inventors group meeting last night. The guy told the story of his business life, which started when he was inspected and rejected by the Vietnam War draft due to some minor fault (he looked perfectly healthy to me). Being as he was free from Uncle Sam, he and a friend decided to travel to S. America in the early 70's.

    While he was down there, the first oil shock hit and he recounted the story of reading about it and deciding to go back to the states and sell solar panels...which he did. After selling and installing solar panels for a year, he made an observation:
    " Solar panels in New England save a household approx. 5 million BTU per year, the same amount that can be saved by using $10 water saving shower heads in the bathrooms!".

    So, as he related it, he quickly stopped selling solar and started designing and manufacturing his own line of water saving and conservation devices. He worked as a waiter at night, went out partying after, and then came home and assembled and sold showerheads (while still in his underpants as he relates it).

    Well, long story short, next thing you know he was prime supplier to Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Lowes, Target and others. He ended up with dozens of patents and made his items 100% in the USA - in fact, in Stamford, Ct. He sold out to Masco (Delta Faucet) 4 years ago for MANY million dollars.

    Anyway, I thought it was an interesting story of thinking outside the box and good old American entepreneurship....and, it has me thinking real hard about those solar DHW panels. Maybe it's better that I turn the water temp down first!

    Score one win for those who say Market forces win! 99% of the solar manufacturers went our of biz while this guy sold millions of his product. As he said, when it comes down to a choice between a $10 item and a $3,000 one, the $10 will win every time!

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    As long as he's not the guy who invented low-flow toilets, he's alright with me.
  3. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    That bastard should be lynched. :) Speaking of water & ingenuity I wonder if Heatnglo is doing anything else with the Aqueon. It would be great if they could make it a self sustaining fire. Using Hydrogen to produce the electricity to separate the oxygen and hydrogen.
  4. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    fwiw, toto low flow toliets rock. By for the best low flow toliet on the market. toto
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    you mean the 1.6 gal flushes. Here is a tip for those who have to flush their toilets multi times

    I know its like the stove is not working right because of poor draft and venting.

    water jets in the toilets get plugged up or reduced and restricted. Scale builds up around them.
    Normal water sedidement situations. When fully flushed and working in clean watter,, without critters floating around,
    Get a pipe cleaner steel wool or even a jack knife and clean out the Water jet entrance passages, you will be supprised
    how much improvement you will notice flushing. Shure beats purchasing a new toilet
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    While at it here is another area of improvements that get neglected clean out your dryer vent every 6 months.

    Ever notice you washer machine seems to take for ever filling up with water? Where the hoses connect there is usually a cones type screen in the fitting usually on the machine side. take out that screen ans clean out the sedidment blocking your water flow simmilar to the screens in your water fawcets. once cleaned your flow rate should improve Thoes that have wells it is a cronic problem
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I still prefer the old-style toilets with a couple of bricks in the tank, but I'll give cleaning the jets a shot elk. Thanks.

    I've noticed that if you hold the handle down for the duration of the flush (instead of hitting it once and letting it go), you can usually get by with just one flush for all but the most heavy-duty jobs.

    On a gut level, I agree with Shane.

    For what it's worth, the Europeans (and I believe the Japanese) have the toilet thing (as opposed to the toilet paper thing) all figured out. European toilets that I've had the pleasure of using have several flush options. Hit one button for a light or strictly liquid load; hit another button for the more substantial jobs. Save water and money in the process.
  8. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    try a toilet that has a sloan flushmate. you can see it at the sloan web site. it uses a ballon or something like that inside it's own tank. you don't see any water in the tank when you pull off the cover. i throw out the plunger with the old toilet. don't need it any more. there is so much pressure on a flush that if something gets caught just let it fill up again (usually under a minute maybe 30 seconds) flush again and it's gone.

    if you ever used a toilet on a cruise ship then you already know how good this toilet works.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think we should be using both. It's not an either/or situation.
  10. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    no toliet paper in this house, yes im strange, but damn, I love this thing. washlet
  11. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Does it dry too?
  12. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, what they said. For low flow flush, Toto Drake rocks. Also, there's an Australian one called Caroma that has the solid/liquid buttons.
  13. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    nope you get a wet but, on that note, its not like it hoses you down or anything, i dont see the need for the dryer, but they offer it. The same company i am with also has a home design center, we sell high end fixtures and cabs. I used to be a hardware and bath designer there. Toto is one brand we sold. Caroma is very good too. What a great thread. Total hijack from the webmaster (sorry)
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We have expensive water so conservation is important. Toto rules. When in France we stayed at a B&B that had new Villeroy-Bosch dual flush toilets. They are excellent. However, when I built our upstairs bathroom I couldn't find a good source for these toilets. A friend told me about the Caromas that he had just installed for a client. I ended up buying a Caroma Caravelle toilet. Top of the line, dual-flush and pretty pricey. It is excellent for saving water, and as my teenage son will testify, it handles heavy loads, no problem. It hits whatever is in the bowl with a wall of water from the front on high flush and can move mountains.

    It does it's job, very frugal with water, but I can't say we love this toilet. The designers kept an absolute minimum amount of water in the bowl. Why I'm not sure, to prevent evaporation? The result is that the *ahem* drop-zone, is pretty tiny. Miss it and one ends up having to wipe the toilet bowl as well as one's bottom. Bad design. It saves a lot with pee, but can be a pain with the rest. Stick with the Toto and you will be smiling and saving water.

    For lots more info, we have a local plumber that has done the reseach on low-flow toilets. He has a great website. Check it out at:
    http://www.terrylove.com/
  15. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Put Toto Drakes in my mountain house and they worked well.

    Put Niagara Flaperless in the last home I built, and they also work well. Sold that home, and moving in with g/f.

    Gonna try the Crane flapperless this time. Flappers in her house just don't last because of aggressive water and I hate that drippy sound at night.

    The Crane is maybe the only toilet made in the USA.

    Chinese proverb says.... MSG has clean hands and wet butt.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You might be interested in this review from Love plumbing's site. It may be just a case of a poor quality OEM flapper. -

    "Al Dietemann, of the Seattle Utilities Department, concerned that many of the new toilets are coming with inexpensive flappers that deteriorate and go bad in a very short time. He feels that if the manufacturers would spend just a little more on the flapper, replacements would be needed much less often. Leaking flappers are a source of wasted water in a home. The city of Seattle engaged in a water study to determine savings of the new water efficient fixtures. click here for more information and pictures. "
    http://www.terrylove.com/seattle_study.htm

    I haven't checked recently, but aren't Kohler, Eljer, Gerber and American Standard still made in the US? I'm not sure about Western, which has a glazed trapway and gets high marks too.
  17. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Great link! I read the Canadian report a few years ago, but this is much more comprehensive. I have to chuckle over the soy sample stools. My son could put these to shame.

    It looks like several manufacturers are improving their lines. Unfortunately, the mover of most mass, American Standard Champion, continues to get complaints for poor quality, leaks and early failure of components. Numbers are not everything; noise generated, thorough bowl cleaning and service history are also important factors. For these reasons, our next toilet will likely be a Toto.

    One sign of a good toilet is a fully glazed trapway. You'd be amazed at how much crud can accumulate on an unglazed surface over time. This really degrades performance.
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Gotta love that multi-purpose miso.
  20. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    My plumber installed a Kohler toilet replacement gets a call back the next day, Plugged up fiddles around with it and gets his snake jammed in it and can" get it out. Removes the toilet still can't get his snake removed so he brings it to the supply house with the embeaded snake. They can't get it out they break the toilet./ The porcelin mold leaked and left a chunk of slag that jammed the auger
    He gets a replacement 3 days later it is plugged again. The supply house gets a hold of Kohler. Kohler finally admits to having a bad run from their Mexico opperations. The supply house recieved other returns and complaints. They ship all remaining Kohler toilets back and drop the line.

    I had a ford F150 ran fine then started miss firing Changed all the plugs wires cap router ect helped a bit but days later ran like crap.
    I even plugged in the computer it tells me a miss fire in cyl 2 I change the wire and plug same thing I swap know good wires and plugs the same, Finally I bring it into a shop they discover its in the wirring harness. So they replace mine runs good for a couple of days. Again miss firing but now it cylinder 5. Faulty made in Mexico Wiring harness replaced it again same thing a week later replaced it for the third time and finally worked. 3 brand new OEM harnesses two faulty made in Mexico. I am no longer driving a ford. I lost a lot of money in shop time when I should have been working.
  21. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Well, Don, I think Ford still makes the best trucks. I don't own a ford, except indirectly, as both my cars are Mazda. Currently looking to swap out the older 1994 Mada sedan (ford built, BTW, but thank god not Mexico built) still running like a dream after 160K miles. Thought to replace it with the smaller ford focus zx3 (looks cool) but the built in mexico thing has got me a bit worried. Plus, it is not any more fuel efficient than my car, with a 2L engine it is a bigger engine than my current car, be taking a step backwards. But it is fun to drive!
    Went to the Toyota dealers to try and take a look at a new Yaris - nobody has them, but they will happily take your order for one at sticker price and then some. Totota is tightly controlling the supply on these, the know the things are hot. Looks like I'll be driving the older Mazda for a little while longer.
  22. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Just bought a Jetta, made in Mexico. Nice car; no problems so far.
  23. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    My dodge is made in Mexico, it's a good truck. Foreign products have come up in quality. There are stove manufacturers who argue that Chinese castings rival Europeans now. I still do not agree with or like the fact that many of our products are made in foreign markets. I think those jobs should be left here in America. But we must all accept responsibility. It's not the corporations or government trade policies that have taken the jobs overseas. It's our lust as consumers to get the best possible price. It's our willingness to groan about the jobs being shipped overseas while we shop at Wal-Mart. Your money speaks much louder than your words. You can scream about it all you want but so long as you continue to buy said products they will continue to be made there.
  24. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I thought one of the goals of NAFTA was to create a better economy in Mexico, with better-paying jobs, so that Mexicans would stay home and work instead of illegally entering this country. Guess that part of the deal didn't work out.

    Sometimes people don't think things through. About 15 years ago I freaked out my union brother in law by buying a Mazda 626. He pissed and moaned about me buying a Japanese car, until I pointed out that it was assembled in Flat Rock Michigan by UAW members. Now he's a Toyota man.
  25. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    It still remains apparant to me that the core cause of the problem is the American consumer.
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