Hat’s off to the HydroClean flush valve people for an innovative product and a dandy website

OK, so the homepage may be a bit busy, but overall the site serves users well.
If you’re like me, you’ve replaced quite a few toilet flush valves in your day. Here in the Austin, we have water with chunks—sometimes literal chunks—of limestone in it.

Gee, at least I hope it’s limestone.

Anyway, whatever it is, it destroys toilet flush valves. In large part this is because most toilet flush valves are cheap pieces of crap that were designed in the Flintstone era. The Home Depot near me until recently offered a toilet flush valve monoculture, carrying four or five valve flavors, but all made by FluidMaster and seemingly designed to last as long as a six-month rental lease; home improvement stores sell a lot of flush valves to landlords and property management companies. (If your rent house or your entire company might be sold to a new owner at any time, you don’t pay more for quality. An enormous amount of water and energy is wasted in rental properties nationwide for this reason.)

But last time I went flush valve shopping there was a new product on the shelf: the HydroClean® HC660 Toilet Fill Valve. The packaging boasted innovative features that conserve water (good) and keep your toilet tank from getting slimy (don’t really care, but OK). But more than anything, it was a new design, as opposed to the same design I’d replaced so many times over the years. It’s packaging was attractive and smart, the design looked smart, and if I saved water and kept slime out of my tank, so much the better. As best I can recall, it was more expensive than the standard FluidMaster, but just a bit.

It was the online installation support that really impressed me. Though your HC660 is super easy to install, it takes a bit of calibrating to get the water conserving mojo working right. The written instructions were pretty good, but I wasn’t sure I understood completely, so I checked out the website. Hey, it’s really good. Graphically clear and pleasant, and one of the site videos quickly answered my calibration question, so I was flushin’ happy in no time.

But just today, maybe 18 months later, I noticed water was spraying from under the tank lid. Ruh roh. Like so many FluidMasters before it, the HydroClean was gushing water from under the valve head. Unlike the FluidMasters of my experience, though, I was able to quickly restore the HydroClean to working order. A short visit to the site’s troubleshooting FAQ and a simple 10-second repair later and I was back in, um, my business. Aside from saving me cost and aggravation, it saved me from adding another plastic flush valve to the landfill because one stupid tiny component failed. Yay—sustainability points!

Oh yeah, the toilet tank was un-slimy, too. Recommended.