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Toilet 101: Get to Know Your Toilet

Is a bathroom remodel in your line of sight? You undoubtedly want to replace the toilet as part of the makeover. Get to know a little more about your porcelain throne, how different flushing technologies work and how to choose an installation spot for the toilet in your newly remodeled bathroom.

Toilet Parts and How a Toilet Works

Every model you look at consists of two main toilet parts: the tank and the bowl. The tank is the upper part holding a reserve of water between flushes. The bowl is the lower part where you dispose of liquid and solid waste.

When you press the handle, the toilet goes into action. A chain connects the flush handle to a flapper valve, which opens and sends water rushing into the bowl. This sweeps waste out of the bowl, through the trapway and down the drain.

A float (or ball or pressure gauge, depending on the toilet model) detects the dropped water level in the tank and opens the water supply valve to refill the tank. When the buoyant float reaches the proper height, it shuts off the water. Now the toilet is ready to flush with full force once again.

Flushing Technology

Federal law mandates that all new toilets must use 1.6 gallons per flush or less. These low-flow toilets are the new norm, compared to old toilets that used 3.5 gallons or more per flush. Toilets use different kinds of flushing technology to rid the bowl of human waste with the least amount of water possible.

The most common technology used in U.S. residences is the gravity-fed toilet. This simply drains water from the tank to the bowl with no powered assistance. The weight of the water is enough for gravity to pull it and any waste in the bowl down the drain.

Commercial toilets often employ pressure-assisted technology for a little added oomph. These toilets build up pressure in the water supply to increase the force of the flush. The trapway on pressure-assisted toilets contain fewer bends, making it harder to clog the toilet, an especially beneficial feature in public restrooms.

Dual-flush toilets are yet another flushing option, one that allows you to choose between a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste and a 1.1-gallon flush for liquid waste. This technology further saves water by recognizing that it’s appropriate to use a less powerful flush to remove only liquid.

Ideal Toilet Placement in the Bathroom

If you’re pursuing a total bathroom remodel, you might have the opportunity to change where your toilet is located. The ideal placement depends on the bathroom’s layout, including the shower style and location, and where it’s convenient to place a plumbing wall.

Make sure the wall where you choose to install your toilet has enough clearance that you can easily walk in front of the new toilet. Keep in mind that the roughed-in distance for most toilets is 12 inches from the finished wall. Other standard rough-ins include 10 and 14 inches. (You can also choose a wall-mounted toilet for easy floor cleaning.) If you’re working with a tight space, choose a round bowl rather than an elongated one to recover a few inches in front of the toilet.

Extending plumbing into a new wall complicates and increases the expense of your bathroom remodeling project. Therefore, to simplify matters, you may want to install the toilet on the same wall as the sink and showerhead.

Whether you’re simply shopping for a new toilet or replacement toilet parts, or you’re renovating the entire bathroom, contact Mr. Rooter® to access our plumbing services today!