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Apple Blog

Filtering by Category: Toilets

“TOILETS! Cheese and Crackers!”

Pat Scheper

My dad, Clements August Scheper, was a plumber. His business was C. A. Scheper & Son in Randallstown. The “son” was first my brother, and then was me.  Note the singular “son”.  Dad was difficult to work for but he knew plumbing and he taught me a lot of plumbing. If you’ll indulge me, I’ll relate a trick of the trade that he taught me in the spring of 1977.  Sue and I were engaged and I was working for my dad. We installed a new 3” copper water main and connected it to an existing 3” steel water main in a building. We finished on a Friday afternoon, turned on the water, and lo and behold (do people say “lo & behold” anymore?) the joint where our copper connected to the steel was leaking.  Not a bad leak, but a leak none-the-less. …and this was Friday afternoon!

I asked Dad what we were we going to do?  He gave me a dollar and sent me to a local grocery store for a can of Morton Salt. Dad spread his handkerchief on the floor, poured a thick line of salt diagonally on the kerchief and rolled it up.  He then tied the salt laden handkerchief around the leaking joint and said “let’s go home”.  Monday morning that pipe joint was dry as a bone and has been ever since.  I have a bag of tricks like this that he taught me.

What does this have to do with toilets?  Well, nothing really, except to introduce you to my Dad.  Dad was old school through and through.  It took him years to start using PVC drain piping instead of cast iron and steel.  Dad would call people in the trade who used plastic pipe and fittings ”hacksaw & glue plumbers”. He hated plastic pipe. Once a plumber stopped in the office to apply for a job. He told Dad that "he just did new plumbing" and not service. Dad asked him what would he do if he installed a new toilet and it didn’t work, call a plumber?  Needless to say, that guy didn’t get hired.  I often think about Dad and how he would see the plumbing trade today.  My guess is he’d tell me we’re doing it all wrong and should stop using plastic pipe!

When I came up in the trade (late 60’s and 70’s) there were no big home box stores where anyone can purchase most anything for the home; stores that are geared to the do-it-yourselfer.  Back then, if a customer needed a new toilet, we would pick it up at the supply house and install it. There was no choice for the homeowner. It was either American Standard or Eljer and they took what we provided. Same with faucets. The only place a homeowner could buy plumbing parts was the local hardware store. In Randallstown it was Deer Park Hardware on Liberty Rd.  It seems you could buy anything there.  In 1978, when Sue and I were just one year into our marriage, I bought a ceramic mixing bowl set that we still use.

Again, I digress.

Back to toilets. When Dad was in business, every toilet tank had pretty much the same parts:  a ballcock, a flush valve, a tank ball, a float ball, lift rods, a float rod, and an overflow tube.  If I kept those parts on my truck, I could pretty much repair any toilet. The only toilet that those parts didn’t work for was a one piece toilet.  For that, I just made a trip to the supply house.  Now, there are high efficient toilets and imported toilets and comfort height toilets and dual flush there are almost 4,000 different toilet sold in the United States. That’s a lot of different parts, and impossible to keep them all on a service truck.

Also, now every toilet sold is given a MaP rating.  This rating tells you how much waste a toilet will cleanly flush in grams. The ratings go from 250 to 1,000.  We only install toilets with a rating of 800 or better. You can check it out yourself: .  Toilets now come in a seemingly infinite variety of colors and styles. And prices.  A customer once paid us over $1,300.00 for a new toilet!  And then there are heated toilet seats, toilet seats that will wash your bum when you finish, toilet seats that are bidets, and even toilets that flush themselves when you are finished!

When Dad was amazed or startled by something he would never take the Lord’s name in vain by saying “J…. C…….!”.   He would instead say “Cheese and Crackers!”  Today he would say “TOILETS…Cheese and Crackers!”

(Oh, the reason the pipe stopped leaking is that the salt caused the metal to oxidize. It rusted the metal thus plugging up the leak. Once the salt was removed the oxidation stopped. For a man with only an 8th grade education, Dad was pretty smart!)

What is the MaP Toilet Rating?

Pat Scheper

As I said in my last post, some toilets are high efficient (use little water) but are low performance. There is a way to determine if a high efficient toilet will flush well before it is installed.  It is called the MaP rating.  MaP stands for Maximum Performance.Open Door Toilette MaP is a Maximum Performance scale that rates toilet efficiency and flush performance, plus gives detailed information on individual toilet characteristics. The result is up-to-date, independently verified comprehensive toilet information in a SEARCHABLE database.

IMPORTANT:  MaP scores represent the number of grams of solid waste (soybean paste and toilet paper) that a particular toilet can flush and remove completely from the fixture in a SINGLE FLUSH.

History of MaP Toilet Testing

MaP was developed in 2002-03 in response to the many complaints of the 1990s about the new “low-flow” toilets (which, by the way, flushed with 1.6 gallons of water, less than 50% of the water used in its predecessors of the 1980s!).  MaP development was sponsored by members of the municipal water utility industry.  For more information on the background of MaP over the past two decades, click here.

While many toilet performance tests have existed for years (manufacturers tests, Consumer Reports and plumbing codes), ONLY MaP offers consumers the test results from closely replicating REAL WORLD demands put upon a toilet.  MaP testing was initiated specifically to identify how well popular models performed using realistic test media (fecal simulation).

Testing Procedures

"MaP incorporates the use of soybean paste and toilet paper to duplicate the real world demands put upon toilets.  Each toilet is tested to failure - - that is, soybean paste is repeatedly added to the toilet until the fixture can no longer remove it in a single flush.  Since 2003, over 3,500 different tank-type toilet models have been tested and reported in the MaP online database.  Today, 3,360 tank-type toilet models are listed in the MaP'searchable' database.” - MaP Testing,

The above is taken directly from the MaP website.  I couldn’t say it any better, so I quoted it.

The MaP scale ranges from 250 – 1,000.  It is the number of grams of waste a toilet will flush cleanly.  At Apple Plumbing will only install toilets with a MaP rating of 800 or better. Click the image below to see what the different ratings mean.


We had one customer who purchased a very nice looking Kohler toilet.  We did not check the MaP rating prior to installation.  Turns out is had a MaP rating of 250 and did not flush solid waste at all!

I’ve see some toilets at the big box stores with a rating on the box of 1,250.  Beware, this would not be a MaP rating but a rating determined by the manufacturer or a testing agency no recognized by MaP or the EPA.  The maximum MaP rating is 1,000.  As I said, we only install toilets with a MaP rating of 800 or more.  We have found that those toilets flush very well with little or no problems to the consumer.  However, if you try hard enough, you can clog any toilet.  Also, beware of ads showing toilets flushing golf balls, balloons, etc.  You don’t flush these items during daily use of your toilet so the ads are meaningless.

Only judge a toilet by its MaP rating!

All About Toilets

Pat Scheper

We all use it, many times every day: The throne, The Crapper, The Head, a Water Closet…The Toilet.  toiletjokeIt’s one on those inventions that has become so much an everyday item that we scarcely notice it…until it malfunctions.  The flush toilet was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harrington when he described a new kind of water closet: a raised cistern with a small pipe down which water ran when released by a valve. It wasn’t until 200 years later that a man named Alexander Cummings created an S shaped pipe under the basin that kept seer gasses from entering the “closet”.  This was the S Trap.  Every plumbing fixture now has a trap between it and the sewer to prevent gases from entering the living space.

ThomasCrapper In the 1880’s Prince Edward of England hired a prominent plumber by the name of Thomas Crapper to install lavatories in several palaces.  Mr. Crapper invented the ball cock.  This is the valve in a toilet tank that allows water in to refill the tank and then automatically shuts off.  Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet….he just improved upon it.

Early toilets used as much as 7.5 gallons of water per flush.  That is treated water going down the drain.  And 7.5 gallons of waste water that needs to be treated.  Very few, if any, toilets in use today use 7.5 gallons per flush.  However, many current toilets use 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf).  That was the standard prior to 1994.

The 3.5 gpf toilet was a flushing fool.  The Energy Policy Act of 1992 required that all toilets manufactured for sale in the USA after January 1, 1994 use not more than 1.6 gallons per flush.  That is less than half the water used in the then standard toilet.  The Act became effective on October 24, 1992.  That gave manufacturers of toilets a scant 14 months to design, test and manufacture a totally new toilet.

The first few generations of the 1.6 gpf toilet were horrible.  You had to flush twice just to clean the bowl.  Many clogged way too easily.  People were hording 3.5 gpf toilets and selling them on the black market.  Canada had no such law at the time so many Americans were crossing the northern border to buy flushable toilets.  There is still some perception that the low flow toilets today don’t flush well.  Some don’t, but many do.

Some toilets are high efficient (use little water) but low performance. There is a way to determine if a high efficient toilet will flush well before it is installed.  It is called the MaP rating.  MaP stands for Maximum Performance.  See my next post to read all about MaP rating!