View Full Version : Briggs Vacuity toilet review and comments. Rated #1 by Consumer Reports
01-02-2008, 10:14 PM
Background: I am a homeowner, and while not a professional, I've managed to do a lot of my own electrical and plumbing most of the time, and this isn't the first toilet i've replaced.
One of my kids flushed a tube of toothpaste down our old 1988 toilet that I hated anyway because it got clogged often, so I headed down to our local (large warehouse-type store) to find a suitable replacement.
Standing there in the aisle looking at all the toilets, it struck me how impossible it was to make an objective comparison between any of the thrones presented. There in the store, you're pretty much deciding by picking the one with the best lies in their brochures. The employee there asked if I needed help, and I told her what I was looking for -- brown (bone, almond, whatever), round bowl, and able to flush a concrete block if possible. Based on the recommendation of the employee there (a whole bowl full of marbles! really!) and the shiny brochure, I purchased and brought home a Briggs Aegis Vacuity toilet.
Brought my new purchase home, pulled the old toilet, wax ring down, bowl down, tighten, tank, lid, water supply, fix the leak, all is good. Where's the newspaper, time to test this puppy out.... and on it's inaugural run, it got it's first clog.
son of a ...
what the.. plunger doesn't fit?
Anyway, posted to say thanks for the site and the review of the Vacuity. Dunno why I didn't check the Internet first for this, I would have saved the effort of pulling this one, returning it, and finding a suitable replacement. Speaking of which, anyone in here a dealer for Toto in Indiana?
Where's the newspaper, time to test this puppy out.... and on it's inaugural run, it got it's first clog.
Newspaper? Why didn't you just use a bunch of paper towels? You must bes like the farmer who called Sears and told them to send him a box of toilet paper. When the person on the phone asked for a catalog number he said, "If I had the catalog, I wouldn't need the toilet paper."
01-03-2008, 07:51 AM
I don't think he meant that he FLUSHED the newpaper; he was just reading it!
01-10-2008, 10:33 AM
Ah, the joys of working on weekends and not being able to get to the plumbing place immediately (I do photography on the side, had a wedding to shoot).
I'd been avoiding using ol' cloggy, but the other day thought, 'maybe I was too demanding on it. Maybe if I used less TP it would be ok'. So, I went and found the newspaper again, did some reading, and then flushed my 'grams' without TP. Clogged. I really didn't think I was that talented.
Fixed that, and later my 7 year old daughter clogged it too. Chip off the ol' block she is.
Today I took the day off work. Is it wrong to be excited to go pick out a new toilet?
01-13-2008, 06:19 AM
Today I took the day off work. Is it wrong to be excited to go pick out a new toilet?
Or is it excited to not have to continually pull out the plunger? I know that I am pleased to finally be rid of the last of my clog prone toilets. We tend to take for granted something like this that we use so often. This is the only place that I know of where there is so much feedback on the quality and performance of the various thrones that are available.
01-13-2008, 04:23 PM
Yesterday, I finally got to install my new throne. I started by uninstalling my Briggs, shoving it back into the 2 boxes, and heading back to (large retail home improvement store). Wheeled it in on a cart, and headed over the returns counter. The returns person had to call over a manager, who had to do a bunch of overrides, but they did accept a used toilet for a return. A used toilet that had 4 clogs jammed inside it.
A: Yay, I got my money back!
Ok, pick up a fresh wax ring, go home. Test fit the bowl, on with the wax ring, bowl down, snug it down. Go get the tank... doorbell rings... Hey, it's my neighbor Mike! Show off new toilet, sand the holes inside the tank, bolts in, tank on, water connected, water on.
Wow... or as another friend later said, 'That'll suck the hair right off your ass, won't it?'
Didn't get to test it myself until today though. Before I flushed, I admit I hesitated. This one was a guaranteed clog generator in the old toilet. Crossed my fingers, flushed, and I'm pretty sure those grams were in the Ohio river within 5 minutes. I've gotta say I'm very impressed.
07-17-2008, 09:43 PM
We bought a house that has a Briggs (Model 4408?) toilet in the downstairs bathroom. We had to replace the "internals" on it
as it constantly ran. The "flapper" was bad and we had to replace the seal between the tank and base.
To make the toilet flush, we had to hold the lever down to flush. then wiggle or flick it to make the flapper
reseal in the bottom of the tank. Now it works great except that right in the front of the bowl the water is
constantly running into the bowl. Then the tank will fill back up. It takes it about 3-5 seconds to refill the
tank. This is constantly doing this.
One would think when the tank and bowl are filled, it's done. But this leaks out and the tank has to refill.
Has this been another common problem? or are we unique? We have read thru almost everything we can find
on these toilets to try and figure this out. And we are finding nothing.
We are hoping you have heard of this and have an answer for us.
Thank you for your time.
Nick and Sue
07-18-2008, 07:23 AM
In a typical toilet, if the refill hose is below the level of the overflow tube opening, it can siphon, which would require the toilet to refill. The flapper valve may still be leaking. Use some food coloring in the tank, it sounds like you will soon see some in the bowl. This should not happen until you flush. The tank to flapper valve seal may be loose. Normally, to fix this, you have to take the tank off and tighten the big nut on the bottom of the tank.
12-26-2008, 12:43 PM
I would like to post my imput about a Briggs Vacuity toilet----DON'T BE STUPID ENOUGH TO BUY THIS BRAND.
We purchased our Briggs toilet at ******* in Oct. 2008.
Too bad we didn't do more research before we spent $309 on this product! We have had nothing but problems. The toilet has been running at will whenever it feels like it--causing us to not only have a huge water bill but when contacting Don in customer service and trying to get some help with this--we have gotten no where. To say the least that 800 number they give to you to call is a waste of time! Don told my husband he would send a new part--which never happened.
We tried everything we were directed to do with no success. As a last effort, we went back to ******* and bought all new "guts" for the inside of the tank and started over. So far the toilet has become "silent" but we still have to hold the handle down until the toilets flushing process is complete. If this doesn't work our friends at
KOHLER will have some new customers and this toilet will stand by the highway with a sign on it telling people what NOT to buy!
S. Neessen-Grundy Ctr, IA 50638
12-26-2008, 12:47 PM
We have had ours for probably 6 years, just replaced our flapper on our Briggs vacuity toilet because the old one had lost it's flexibility and was leaking. At first my husband bought a universal flapper because he couldn't find a Briggs replacement flapper at the hardware store. That did not work. Very slow flushes left some paper not flushed. We ordered online (not from Briggs), a Briggs replacement vacuity flapper with the white floater thingy. It still is not flushing at optimum as before. Is there something we are not putting back together right? Is there a manual out there. I have tried to email Briggs but have gotten no response. They are only open during the week eastern time. Weekend diy-er's have a hard time with this kind of customer service. I will let the thread know if I get an answer. In the meantime, please help with advice if possible. thanks!
12-26-2008, 12:47 PM
THe toilet seems to work fine but every once and awhile it sounds like its running and then it stops. It doesn't seem to be leaking anywhere but my husband and I can not understand why it keeps doing this. Do you have an explanation? L Courtney Chicago Il
12-26-2008, 12:49 PM
Watch out for ProFlo toilet also. It is the Vacuity with a different name, same manufacturer though. Came across this toilet today at work for the first time. The inner/outer tank leaked and flooded a house out while the poor people were out of town packing to move in. With 3 of these toilets in thier home it is job security for us plumbers . %)!!!!!!!
12-26-2008, 12:50 PM
WE are on our second Vacuity from ******* Home in just over a year. The first one leaked at the horn and could not het a good seal. The store replaced it and we began with the plugs, even small plugs. After snaking and plunging we usually got it flowing, but it was never good. One night we had to call in help, thinking it was a drain issue the "after hours emergency tech" arrived just as it cleared, yup we paid since I let him in due to the cold.
He said "if I knew it was a Briggs Acuity he could have helped over the phone", We were putingFeeling useless and stupid
I would like a permanent fix or a new bowl.......going to your next link on unplugging
12-26-2008, 12:50 PM
Our builder (big name, nationally recognized) uses Briggs in 90% of the homes they build and all I can say is these toilets are junk. As another wrote, no clogs but **frequently** requires a second flush. Boy, is that the truth. When we complained to our builder they told us to consider using single-ply bathroom tissue and donít use pre-moistened sanitary wipes!!! Iím very sorry but thatís not our idea of any toilet weíd ever welcome into our home, least of all for the guest bathroom.
07-20-2009, 07:15 PM
I have a Briggs Vacuity toilet that worked initially (purchased in 2005 after reading the CU report) but over time has begun to lose its ability to flush completely. It does not evacuate all the water/debris with one flush and consistently requires two to three flushes. After trying all the suggestions that I had searched out to no avail, including removing and replacing the unit, I happened upon a relatively simple solution that I would like to share with others having similar problems. After placing a 15-20 pound weight on top of the plastic vacuum tank, the toilet has flushed completely every time it has been used during the last four weeks. When the weight is removed, the problem returns so I am 100% sure that this is a valid solution. The weight that I used is a combination of 15# of small exercise weight plates and 7# from the tank top. This combination is placed upon a small block of wood in contact with the top of the plastic vacuum tank to make sure that all the weight is being applied to the tank. I assume that what I have done is to improve the seal between the vacuum tank and the discharge chamber so that the vacuum assist has a chance to actually do what it was designed to do.
Chagrin Falls, OH
08-07-2009, 07:14 PM
I installed a Briggs Vacuity seven years ago and it worked as advertised....until recently. Leaks.leaks-leaks!
The inner tank began to leak into the outer tank until the water found it's way out the flush handle hole. As a quick-fix I notched the inner tank and siliconed the plastic nut around the flush handle hole. This worked until I FINALLY heard from Brigg's tech MRr.Don. My many calls to Briggs were not returned, so I resorted to e-mail which fell short of a real conversation. Don advised I disassemble the tank and silicone a 3/8" bead around all through-tank fittings, then reassemble the tank. This I carefully accomplished and allowed to dry for three days prior to mating tank to bowl. Now the leaks started from the tank bolts until I tightened them far beyond what I felt prudent. After that leak was fixed, (whew!) the toilet still leaked from the inner to outer tanks....and developed yet another leak from the fill nipple below the tank. Tightening that fitting did not stop the leak. After three weeks of trying to save my Briggs Vacuity I took it out to the garbage and hammered it to pieces.
I felt that Brigg's Customer Service was unresponsive and unprofessional, both in their "try this-try that" attitude and in their poor support. I just installed an American Standard Champion (http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4833) 4. It has a 10 year warranty. Bye-bye Vacuity.... and Briggs.
Beach Park, Illinois
11-22-2009, 11:05 AM
We had installed a Briggs Vacuity about 5 years ago based on the Consumer Reports comparison article which rated it as top choice. We had never had a flush problem but were plagued by mechanical parts problems. I had replaced the entire flush mechanism with parts directly from Briggs at what I felt was a hefty price considering most toilets are pretty much an install and forget item. This is about 2.5 years after total re do of interior items an am now again plagued by tank to bowl leakage. The whole unit will now be replaced by another brand as replacing the parts again would raise the price of toilet plus cost of repair parts to about $700. Foolish in anyones book. Our water rates are facing about 58 to 65% increases which would my monthly Cape Coral, FL water bill of $85.00 seem cheap by comparison.
Frank C Cape Coral, FL 33990
Hardware stores don't carry parts for the Vacuity toilet.
Something Consumer Reports isn't concerned with.
Their testing only requires it to flush a few times.
After that, it's buyer beware.
05-05-2010, 10:58 PM
I know I'm the only happy Briggs customer, but here goes.
I bought the Vacuity 4408 (?) identicl to the CR review, must have been about 2003-ish. Love it, works great. Have 2 old Mansfields water wasters that don't work 1/2 as well - they have plungers next to them. Briggs - no leaks, no noises, flush great - no plunger in the room.
From that experience, during a remodel I replaced my in-laws' toilet with the Briggs Aegeis. She's at least 250 LBs, he's well over 300. No complaints, and I can only imagine the workload they impose on that appliance. (And they might not complain to me, but my wife would make sure I heard all about it being my fault.)
My wife's been begging me to replace the Mansfields so she can ditch the plungers!
08-18-2010, 12:26 AM
Hi, I am one of the unfortunate that have this toilet in my home. That is i have five!
Soon as we moved into the home that was built in 2004, in 2007 we began having problems with two of the toilets. Now all five have failed repeatedly. They have to be flushed several times, every time you go to the bathroom. Each time you have to use a plunger and we all know how those do on the toilet model 4430/4440, they don't. All of this is great fun in the middle of the night, early morning or any time you have to mess with this.
Today my husband and I have tried repeatedly to repair the top portion of the toilet where it connects with the bowl. Not only was it nasty just from the way it was put together, it is impossible to find the same parts even at Lowes.
If you try the Briggs web site, good luck. The numbers on your toilet will not match anything on their site nor do they warn their customers of monstrosity they have sold. The whole site is a jig saw puzzle, this bowel goes with this top and this seat goes with that toilet and all the parts together look kind of like number #000000. No wonder they could not invent a working toilet they can not even manage their own web site!
So after spending all day long, it is now 6:49 pm, August 2010, we have given up. You can not stop it from leaking its newest feature. So we will buy from another supplier with a record of superior product and service.
Any one who loves to piddle with trying to fix things is welcome to the five non flushing, non cleaning, can not plunge toilets we are so proud to call our own. I think I will line them up on the street at a local Briggs supplier with all of the fine attributes. At least someone will be saved the horror of owning one.
Briggs owes it customers replacements for the toilets that do not do the simple function they where designed to do. No wonder customer needs and complaints are ignored. They still have their heads buried in the ground. A good place to keep them so they do not try to invent any thing else to saddle the buying public with.
My advise: do not buy from a company that does not stand by it product. For the owner of Briggs, please come by and pick up my toilets and install them in your home. Good luck!
Feed up in Texas
11-22-2010, 04:57 PM
Sold to me when the sales clerk said, "There's a toilet for a good price that you won't have to worry about, Briggs"...My unit has never plugged, but while tracking down a slow leak that was costing me money I chose to try and upgrade to a dual flush insert to further save money and help conserve water. I saw the usual minor hard water crumbs on the bottom of the tank plus the usual corroded bolt heads you see in the midwest where the water is fairly 'hard'. The new flush unit also leaked so I drained the tank and was planning to put a small amount of sealent around the meeting point, to eliminate the possibility of leakage, when I absentmindedly started to scrape the deposites off the bolt heads that connect the tank to the bowl and THE BOLTS DISINTEGRATED TO POWDER......So..Since Briggs could not be bothered to include bolts that resist corrosion(installed LESS than 3 years ago) I'm gonna' go buy bolts, spend more money and time repairing their product and reassemble the new flush unit to "save money the environment and time" and, now that I read these postings, I get the feeling I may be spending MORE MONEY AND TIME replacing the clearly sub-standard toilet in the future!! Kansas City has hard water, but not it's not 'unusual' water. Another reamed consumer~
10-01-2011, 09:57 PM
Have a Briggs 4400 Vacuity toilet that was leaking between the inner plastic chamber and the porcelain tank. Called Briggs and they sent out the gasket (flat piece with four holes) and I installed that. However when I had it apart, all the other seals were worn and I thought I should try to replace them. Found a Plumb Works brand, Extra Thick Gasket and Bowl Kit (label says fits Briggs Vacuity Toilet tanks), part number: 664-1315.
However, I can't get that gasket to physically fit over the base of the tank.
It was installed in early 2004, has a manufacture date stamp of July 2003. Started to have the issues where it ran every 10-15 minutes, replaced the flapper and that seems to have solved that issue.
Being a noob at this, I didn't think to take pictures as I took the system apart, but does the gasket with the two flaps sit flush to the base of the tank, or over the nut/washer? I know the gasket goes over the bolt, but wasn't sure if I put the "ear" on before or after the washer/nut?
Here is the original seal, that easily fits in place, but it's worn.14095
I've just come across this forum, does this project look like something that is better off with a new toilet (and not a Briggs?).
I've seen the 1-piece toilets, I can imaging these type of issues aren't a concern (seat/tank and fitting/sealing), but are there other drawbacks to the 1-piece?
I've read about the Toto, but being budget conscious, and not having a local dealer, are there brands that "prove the test of time?" Not opposed to a 2-piece bowl, but would like some feedback on the 1-piece.
Thanks for any input on either the continued repair of this toilet or the suggestions to replace it. It's been having the dreaded "multi-flush" as of late too. Maybe time to throw in the towel on this one?
10-02-2011, 08:14 PM
Never mind. Bought a Kohler Cimarron 11813-0 Class Six for under $250.00. Will return the parts I bought for the Briggs and apply towards purchase of new toilet. Needed something working before Monday.
Moderator, feel free to delete my post.
12-14-2011, 06:04 PM
I had a Briggs Vacuity toilet installed in 2003. Until about a month ago I had no problems, no getting plugged up or anything bad. However, it has started to make a loud swishing noise every 3-4 hours for about 8 seconds then there is a thump and all is ok. I think maybe the flap needs replacing as it is possibly leaking and then when the water reaches a certain low level the swishing noise is the water filling the tank. (I am not a technical person!) There is no sound of a leak. The outlet where I bought it doesn't carry Briggs any more. I have sent email to a plumbing supply web site and hope they can help, but there are so many parts listed. It's been a great toilet and I wish I could work out how to fix it!
San Jose, CA=
12-14-2011, 08:04 PM
Shut the water off at the supply to the toilet and let it sit overnight...see if the water level in the tank has dropped. Or, put some food coloring in the tank (and still turn the water off). If it's leaking, you'll probably see the tint in the bowl before you might notice the level changing.
09-07-2012, 03:55 PM
Was almost ready to replace this toilet. What I've done to improve performance over several years time messing with it.
1. Notch the dam to allow more water to flow from float/valve area to flapper side. ~ 1/2" deep and 3/4" wide. (Performed years ago)
2. Ensure a Briggs flapper with float as close to flapper as possible and not a lot of slack in chain. Middle hole on lever.
3. Water level about 1/4" below overflow. These 3 items helped, but didn't solve the problem.
4. (I was about to pitch the toilet until I did this!) Cut a notch on bottom of the vacuum tank right hand side so water can escape quicker and draw better/quicker vacuum in trap-way. ~1 & 1/2" wide and ~1/2 - 3/4" deep. I think over time the plastic vacuum tank settles / deforms and reduces the path area for water to escape from the vacuum tank out the flush valve.
The toilet now flushes well, consistently. If you have not already notched the dam area (1) I would try notching the bottom of the vacuum tank first.