LESLIE: Known to family and friends as the Plunger Man, we’ve got Jerry from Naples, Florida. What’s happening at the toilets that you’ve got this nickname?
JERRY: Well, actually I gave that name to myself because I (Tom chuckles) …
LESLIE: (chuckling) Oh, God.
JERRY: … so much time with a plunger in my hand. (Leslie chuckles) And the toilets seem to, you know, continuously stop up and I just can’t figure out whether it’s the paper that we’re using. There aren’t any particularly large people in this house. (Tom and Leslie laugh) I don’t think that’s what it is.
TOM: Is it a low-flow toilet? Is it a more modern toilet where it only uses 1.6 gallons of water?
JERRY: I don’t think. It’s 11 years old, OK?
TOM: Might be.
JERRY: Was that popular 11 years ago?
TOM: Yeah, it might be. You may have one of the first generations of those things …
LESLIE: Is there a way to look at the toilet and see that, Tom?
TOM: Usually – oh, I could tell you in a second. When you look at the tank you can tell that it’s not like a four-gallon tank. It’s like a smaller, you know, one-and-a-half gallon tank when you look at it.
LESLIE: But there’s no markations, a different system inside the tank?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Nah. Well, maybe. Could be inside. But you know, the toilet design has actually gotten a lot smarter over the last few years. The toilets are now using 1.6 gallons and less. We even saw one recently that used 1.1 gallon and how is it possible that it’s efficient with less water? Well, because they completely redesigned the trap and that’s where, well, you know what, gets trapped. (Leslie chuckles) It’s the u-shaped part of the toilet where all the waste gets flushed through. And they figured out how to, first of all, make that piping wider so it’s easier to pass material through.
LESLIE: More accommodating (INAUDIBLE)?
TOM: Yeah, and also they’ve changed the angles. So the angles are sort of softer and there’s no tension in the water as it passes through it.
LESLIE: I like how we’re handling this very delicately.
TOM: Yeah, we’re doing it very clean so far.
LESLIE: Very good.
TOM: And they’ve also changed the flush valve design. In fact, American Standard has one that they call a flush tower design and I think it’s called their Champion toilet line, where they basically have figured out how to get more water in faster so it pushes everything down quickly and efficiently …
LESLIE: Yeah, and the ad for the Champion showed a larger gentleman enjoying a, what I would call a three-foot sub and then looking at the toilet and the ad was, “Yeah, we can handle that” or something like that.
JERRY: Oh, no! (Leslie laughs) Tell me it ain’t so!
LESLIE: It’s true, Jerry.
JERRY: So you’re – in summary you’re trying to tell me that I’ve got a stupid toilet?
TOM: Pretty much telling you that your toilet probably is worth replacing. If you want to keep the Plunger Man nickname, by all means hang on to it. But we’re thinking that you could probably give up the toilet and the Plunger Man nickname by getting a new john.
JERRY: Well, I did come out with a left-handed plunger. I don’t know how well it’ll do. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) By the way, what should we look for, though? I mean do you have any name brands that you think are …
TOM: Yeah, I have in my house the American Standard Champion. That’s the name of the toilet; Champion. And I think this summer they’re coming out with another one – Champion Four – I hear. So, I think that that’s probably a very good brand for you to get.
JERRY: Hey, well thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.