Q: I enjoy your take on plumbing and hope you can help me. We're replacing our old round front toilet and I would like to put in an elongated toilet. My husband says that the space is too tight for an elongated. Is there another option we can look into before he runs out and buys the same type of toilet? -- Betty, New Hampshire
A: Let's catch everyone up. Toilets generally come in two basic sizes:
1. Round front -- This toilet has a circular bowl that can fit into a tighter space.
2. Elongated -- This toilet has a slightly longer, egg-shaped bowl for extra comfort.
So, the bad news used to be that if you wanted to replace a round-front toilet with an elongated, in many cases the longer toilet would not fit the space. The good new is that now we have toilets on the market with "compact-elongated" bowls. These specially designed one-piece toilets offer the comfort of an elongated bowl with the same footprint of a round-front toilet.
However, compact-elongated toilets usually cost more, so let's hope the price increase won't "bowl" you over!
(Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes.)