View Full Version : My flushmate was recalled and Bucket flushing doesn't really work!

10-05-2012, 10:03 PM
I found out today that i have a recalled toilet, and i found this forum while trying to figure out how to survive until my flushmate repair kit arrives in the mail! I'm the mom of four little kids and our only toilet is a Gerber with an flushmate (it was in the house when we bought it). Being scared for my kids' safety, and not wanting them impaled by porcelain, I followed the recommendation that Flushmate gave me when I called about the recall, and I turned off the water supply to the toilet and have started only flushing using a bucket of "2-3 gallons of water".

Here's the problem, though: a bucket of water dumped in the bowl doesn't make it flush properly! In previous homes, when I've dumped a bucket of water into a regular toilet, it really does flush it... In other words, the water quickly leaves the bowl. Not with this, though.

It took 5 gallons (two buckets) to get my 7-year-old's poop to clear the bowl. What's going to happen when my husband poops! How am I supposed to use two buckets of water each time one of the six of us use the toilet for the next week and a half (until the recall kit is due to arrive)!

Is there something about the design of this type of toilet that makes bucket flushing not work?

Should I just buy a whole new Flushmate unit to replace it (if you can even just buy the inner black plastic tank, I don't know), so that we can use the toilet without fear of explosion?

Any advice or explanations about how to make bucket flushing work would be So appreciated!

Gary Swart
10-05-2012, 11:32 PM
I suspect there is something caught in the trap way that is causing the problem. Some of the things plumber find are children's toys, toothbrushes, makeup cases, and the list goes on. Sometimes a tool call a "closet auger" will clear the blockage from the top, but other times, the toilet has to be pulled up and the problem attacked from the bottom. I know that will compound your problem since this is the only toilet in the house, so perhaps a plumber would be your quickest way to get back to normal. I'm not a fan of pressure assisted toilets, but that's what you have to deal with.

10-06-2012, 02:01 AM
Pressure-assist bowls use a totally-different bowl design from regular toilets A guy on here replaced his flushmate with a regular gravity flush valve and was shocked to discover that the water didn't even drain from the tank. That's why your water doesn't work. If you can, one idea is to just bag the flushmate and go get a Toto Drake for $200-ish. Fabulous flush with no pressure assist. And if you're concerned that maybe you're being a little paranoid, let me point you to a couple of videos below. You're doing the right thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVUGJGfIphQ (Dad with exploding toilet)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkYZQDcI7dA (Las Vegas "killer toilet" -- it exploded but didn't hurt anyone)

10-06-2012, 07:39 AM
Thank you so much for the replies, although i have to admit I'm a little more confused now...

is it likely that a clog is causing the inadequate bucket flushing, as Gary Swart suggested, or would even an un-clogged Gerber Ultraflush with a flushmate be difficult to bucket-flush?

Like so many other families, money is really tight right now, so I'm trying to get as far as i can in diagnosing this before calling out a plumber (although i really respect that in some cases, you just need a pro to figure things out)

Does any one else have an opinion about whether all flushmate toilets would do poorly with bucket-flushing, or if mine is likely to be clogged?

Thank you!

10-06-2012, 09:39 AM
The Gerber trapway is not your standard siphon trapway. A Flushmate pressure assist is designed to push the water down. Looks like I need to drive over to my mothers's home in Bellevue and try a bucket on hers to see how that works. She has a pressure assist Glenwall.

Flushmate does sell the tanks online for complete replacement, or I sell tanks locally in the Seattle area.

However, the odds of anything happening with your tank is slim to almost none. When I talked to Paul at Flushmate last, he mentioned that the percentage is so small it's hard to even type the number down.

10-06-2012, 11:52 AM
A gravity flush toilet bowl will flush if you pour water into it...a pressure assisted one won't, or if it does, it will be quite weak.

10-06-2012, 12:32 PM
Thanks, all, for the replies! We're getting a new toto drake toilet from Terry love today because we just can't deal with an almost-non-flushing toilet for the next week and a half!

You have all been very helpful - thank you!

10-06-2012, 04:06 PM
You bought the right toilet from the right guy. I'm sure you will be happy with it.

Gary Swart
10-06-2012, 09:07 PM
It appears my thoughts on a partly clogged trap were not very good. As I said in my answer, I am not a fan of pressure assisted toilets, I feel they are an unnecessary gimmick. You will love the Toto from Love. I have two of them.

10-06-2012, 11:04 PM
Gary, you may well be right that there was something else going on there, given that it was the manufacturer that was recommending "bucket flushing"; clearly they know the difference between a pressure bowl and a gravity bowl. It might have well been something more than the design of the toilet that was the problem, so I think the suggestion was a good one.

Mamaem: I should also mention that there is another good reason to take the course that you did: the Flushmates with the recall kit installed don't perform as well as the original did, and don't perform as well as newer model Flushmate toilets. The recall kit puts a metal band around the unit so that if it cracks along the seam, the plastic components aren't expelled from and through the tank. However, that isn't enough, because when they burst, the explosive force alone is enough to shred the porcelain, and it appears that the explosive force is often directed forward, accounting for some of the china-shrapnel flesh wounds that, from photos, appear to have stuck people in the sides of their lower back (the part not protected by the seat lid). Accordingly, there is another component of the kit that reduces the pressure in the vessel to a safer level. We have seen complaints on here from folks who have installed the kit and note that the thing takes much longer to fill and doesn't deliver as good a flush. A number of people have claimed that they have or were going to remove that portion, which kind of defeats the purpose. If I had kids, I wouldn't do that.

This is why some people are now suing to say that Flushmate should just replace all the recalled units with a brand-new one of a new design, which apparently functions pretty well without the safety issues of the old one.

Bottom line: you might have bucket-flushed for ten days, only to want to replace the toilet anyway. And when you can have a Drake, there's really no reason to get another pressure-assist toilet. Given the price of a new Flushmate unit, it isn't that much more expensive just to get a nice Drake. Enjoy your new Toto!

10-07-2012, 06:48 AM
Wow, thanks so much for the replies and assurances... It makes me feel much better about the unexpected expense of this whole thing!

The folks on this forum are clearly good, kind people. I'm thankful to have found it!