Monday, March 22, 2004

Do you know what a Porcher toilet is?

I didn't either until mine started running. Recently, I purchased a new house that had been completely remodeled by a developer. The developer had hired a designer from the Home Depot Expo Center and essentially given her a blank check. She did an amazing job and used very high-end products in all areas of the house, including Porcher bathroom fixtures. To me, the Porcher toilet looked exactly like any other toilet I had ever installed myself, although it did have a unique flush mechanism that used a push-button on the top rather than a handle.

When my toilet started running, I opened it to find one of the most foreign-looking flush mechanisms that I had ever seen. Here is a picture of it:


I was astounded at the inside of my toilet and did not even know where to start troubleshooting. Of course, I went to the Internet and searched for "Porcher toilet" on Google. I found that Porcher toilets are imported and sold by American Standard and that they are extremely high-end (read expensive). I also found that the official Porcher site had no toilet parts explosion nor did it have a listing of replacement parts (not that I would have known what I needed to replace).

Feeling frustrated, I Googled "Porcher replacement parts" and this A-Ball Plumbing site popped up, showing me a picture of the inside of my toilet and the two parts that commonly wear out. Armed with the knowledge of the part I needed, I attempted to find the part locally to no avail. I even called the Home Depot Expo Center since I knew the toilet had been purchased there, but the Expo Center does not stock repair parts for European toilets. Finally I broke down and called A-Ball Plumbing. Why did I call, you might ask? Because I was tired of turning on the water supply on every time I wanted to flush the toilet and off after flushing, and the A-Ball commerce site didn't let me select overnight shipping as an option.

When I talked with the gentleman at A-Ball and told him my toilet problem, he told me exactly which of the 2 common parts that wear out I needed. I related to him that I could not find the toilet parts anywhere in my area and he told me that he shipped these parts all over the country. Following that statement, I asked him why Next Day Shipping was not available as an option on his site; I pointed out that it was likely that most people looking for the part probably had an immediate problem and were not looking for preventative parts. He related that he had never thought of it that way.

End result: $25.00 for the part and $20 to ship it overnight, and one of the easiest toilet parts replacements I have ever completed.

Observations:
1. Good European toilets, though expensive at the outset use very simplistic and easy to repair mechanisms. Given the choice, I would probably install one in the future.

2. Even 5 years ago I probably would not have been able to find parts for this toilet very easily. Why? Because the Internet was not as pervasive, and it was not cheap enough or easy enough for plumbing supply companies to list their products and allow them to be sold over the Internet.

3. Lots of commerce sites need to think more about the actual customer experience. In an industry like plumbing, an especially when supplying a very hard to locate part, companies need to understand that customers are not looking for these parts to store them in their cabinet -- make it easy to ship these items overnight. I seriously did not need to talk to the guy at the plumbing store; they had provided enough information for me to identify the malfunctioning part, but made it very hard for me to feel comfortable I would receive it the next day without talking to someone.

4. I should go into the business of importing these parts and selling them; I cannot believe how hard they are to find.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Need help!!!
My friend has a Porcher toilet. One day, I wanted to help install a cistern device (for cleaning), so I tried lifting the cistern cover.

It was very tough to get open, but eventually the cover lifted a little. I still couldn't get it off the entire way (I'm afraid I'll break it).

Anyway, my problem is that when I put the cistern cover back on, the chrome ring of the flush button is now loose. It moves around now. It was 'firm' before I tried to remove the cover.

Any idea what could have happened? How do I fix it? This isn't my toilet, so I need to know!

Also, how am I meant to get the cover off? This is tougher than other toilets I've seen...

Any help appreciated ;)

Edina said...

Hi,

I have one of those Porcher toilets too and I'm having the same problem. Can you tell me how to fix it or at least what parts do I need to order.

Thanks a bunch

Ross said...

Just call the folks at A-Ball and they'll help you diagnose it over the phone and get the right part to you straight away.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I had this same problem and spend ages trying to work out where I went wrong until I finally found the answer here:


http://www.ultimatehandyman.co.uk/forum1/ideal-standard-push-button-cistern-lid-removal-t3000.html


Sure enough after pushing the big button you can wiggle the little one free and then the big one which exposes a screw and bob's your uncle...

Jenn said...

I love you! We purchased our house about 2 months ago and about a month ago our toilet started spontaneously running. I've been looking for info and finally figured out it was a Porcher and ran into this site with a beautiful picture of my odd looking toilet innards! Thank you... off to A-Ball for parts.

Coops said...

Thank you very much anonymous. I was just at the 'break it, see how it works, then repair what I broke' stage.

You have saved me a great deal of stress.

What a stupid unintuitive system these toilets have.

And why can't the plumber leave the installation instructions with the owner?

And why can't the people who sold me the damn thing tell me how to get the cistern lid off?

Oh yeah, and thanks to the Internet as well.

Anonymous said...

Uncle bob is correct, the screw to remove the ring is underneath the push buttons that have come off first. Push any one button down to help hold the other and lift straight up with fingures, then the second one comes out each with plastic sliding rod. A plastic screw is exposed that once undone will make the ring come out and then the lid.....Thanks Bob

wkerby said...

I have two and they claim to have a ten-year warranty on all parts. I have no idea how to implement the warranty since my contractor left me no paperwork. So far they've been great.

Wilson Kerby said...

I have two and they claim to have a ten-year warranty on all parts. I have no idea how to implement the warranty since my contractor left me no paperwork. So far they've been great.

Wilson Kerby said...

I have two and they claim to have a ten-year warranty on all parts. I have no idea how to implement the warranty since my contractor left me no paperwork. So far they've been great.

joanne.allison said...

Thank you all so much. I'm in Sydney, Australia and recently had a Porcher toilet installed and just went to put in a toilet disc but couldn't get the lid off... thanks to this site I found out and just tried it and ... success!

SIDS Plumbing said...

Wow! Good to know that She did an amazing job and used very high-end products in all areas of the house, including Porcher bathroom fixtures. Amazing post!

plumber Toronto said...

Thanks for the post, same problem with me few weeks ago. I would love to hear of some resolved issues about this one. thanks.

Anonymous said...

There are so many advantages brought by using Porcher toilets. They offer long toilet bowls and height adjustable installations.