As a follow-up to my blog series on upgrading to high efficiency toilets, I'd like to provide some feedback on my choice of Glacier Bay 1.28gpf toilets. As you can read in my second post, I received a solid recommendation from the Home Depot employee on their store brand and have been pleased with the first three toilets I purchased. However, by chance, one of the four toilets I received came from a different batch of the same model toilet and exposed several issues with recommending Glacier Bay.
When I removed the last toilet from its box, I noticed two things:
- The flush valve in the tank was completely different from the other toilets of the same brand and model. The neck of the valve extended several inches above the bottom of the tank and the flapper was of a completely different design that was thinner and appeared lighter than the original design.
- The flush hole in the bowl was smaller and of a slightly different shape than the three other toilets.
Despite the differences, I proceeded to install the different designed toilet. Within a week, the flapper would no longer seal and the toilet would continue to run without filling. After careful examination of the flapper, I did not spot any foreign debris or damage to the seal. I returned the toilet to the store for a replacement.
When returning the item, I went back to the plumbing section and proceeded to open boxes until I could find a tank with the previous flush valve design. After opening two boxes with the defective design, I noticed that they all had the same purchase order number on the box. After sifting through inventory, I found a box with a different p.o. number that was lower in the series. After opening the box, I verified that the valve was of the original design that was working in my home. I exchanged the toilet and headed home for the installation.
After pulling the components out of the box, I verified again that the flush valve and tank were identical to the three other toilets in the house. After examining the bowl, I noticed that the flush hole was the smaller type from the newer design toilet! At this point, it was clear to me that there is no consistency in the components shipped for the Glacier Bay toilets even though they use one model number.
I installed the hybrid toilet and will continue to test it hoping that it will function as well as the others. Overall, I am satisfied with the original toilets installed. However, I cannot recommend Glacier Bay toilets for the following reasons:
- There is no way for me to specify a recommended model number of a Glacier Bay toilet to make sure you are receiving the same toilet I am testing.
- Finding replacement components will be next to impossible since the valves vary depending on manufacturing run and is not specific to a model number
Based on these reasons, I would recommend that you do research on brand manufacturers for toilets and stick with a brand name that doesn't modify toilet design without changing the model number. I should mention that my experience with Home Depot as a store was very good. Other than the Glacier Bay recommendation by the salesperson, they were very helpful when the toilet malfunctioned and received the returned toilet without any questions. It's possible that the salesperson's only experience with the toilet model was with the previous design and I may have just experienced a shift in toilet design. (but they should have changed the model number)
If you decide to take a chance at locating the specific Glacier Bay toilet I purchased, the model number is 331-725 and you can identify the good and bad flush valve designs in the pictures above.
Next week, I'll be publishing the final post in the toilet upgrade series on my experience with applying for my state water utility rebate. Make sure to visit our Water Conservation forum in the Mapawatt Community and tell us about your experiences or thoughts on high efficiency toilet upgrades.