What’s in Your Toilet and How Does it Work?

What’s in Your Toilet and How Does it Work?

Photo By New Africa at Shutterstock

What Goes on in Your “Throne?”

Your modern toilet is carefully designed to be reliable, self-cleaning, eco-friendly and simple to use. Still, they wind up giving plumbing company technicians plenty of work. It’s an amazing piece of engineering, even in its simplest form and there are toilets costing thousands of dollars that go far beyond that, opening as you approach and warming the seat for starters. We’re covering basic toilet technology here, which is amazing enough.

The Basic Flush

The basic job of a toilet is to remove waste from the bowl as effectively as possible using a minimum of water. To do that, it delivers water from the cistern (tank) above through the bowl and into the sewer line. If anything goes wrong, this simple operation may take an expert plumbing company to diagnose. After each flush, the cistern and bowl are both refilled for the next use. The technology is in how the water is delivered and keeping what’s already in the sewer from coming up the pipe while still allowing each flush to head on down.

Opening the Toilet Top

Most plumbing company calls for toilet issues involve opening the cistern where flush water is held and repairing or replacing parts of the flushing mechanism or the refill water valve. Older toilet designs use a float and lever valve while newer ones have a compact mechanism.

Water Feed, Sewer Connection, Wax Ring and Mount

Feed Line Care

When anything goes wrong with your toilet, call your trusted plumbing company to ensure that your home isn’t damaged by leaks. You can help avoid problems even before our quick plumbers arrive by shutting off the water feed valve. If we inspect your plumbing, we’ll look for issues here: some valves haven’t been used in decades and may be nearly impossible to turn. In some cases, there may not even be a valve in the line. We’ll be glad to remedy that.

Sewer Connection and Wax Ring Condition

The toilet typically sits on a connection to your sewer lines which receives the downward flow. If there are problems downstream, this connection may be backing up. If the connection is damaged, you may find seepage around the base of the toilet, which is protected by a wax ring which may need replacement.

Toilet Mount Problems

Often, the toilet base is fastened to plywood or other material that has softened over time due to leaks. It may be necessary for your plumbing company to do a replacement of the toilet base to keep it stable and make sure the connection to the sewer remains tight.

Filling the Tank

There are several mechanisms for filling the cistern tank and bowl, both of which generally fill at the same time. Your plumbing company expert is well versed in these, whether your toilet is an antique or modern high-tech or something in between.

Pushing the Flush Water

You’d be surprised how many ways there are to push water into the toilet and flush it clean. In fact, the standard gravity-driven method may not be the most effective, or the most efficient in water usage.

Advanced Variations on Gravity

Toilets usually use gravity to get the cleansing water flowing, but in certain cases that’s not going to do the job. They also flush to the rear, emptying into a sewer pipe at the same level as the toilet base, and the flush upwards when necessary as well. If you’re remodeling or adding a basement apartment, ask your plumbing company experts what toilet configurations are possible — you may be surprised at the ways we can appear to can break the laws of physics!

The mechanisms used for these involve using water pressure to compress air for each flush or simply using water pressure by itself, which is common in public toilets which don’t have time to cycle between visitors. A novel type of toilet uses an electric pump and looks like a cylinder, so it’s called a “hatbox” toilet.

One Flush or Two? Your Choice on Some Toilets

Some toilets let you select the volume of water, usually 1.1 gallons for liquid going down, 1.6 for solid. Your plumbing company representative can help you determine whether a new toilet installation meets any local water usage requirements.

Common Problems in the Tank

If the refill valve is stuck or leaking, the toilet can “run” as excess water exits through the overflow tube. More often, the seal for the flapper or ball valve covering the water exit at the bottom of the tank will degrade, resulting in turbulence in the bowl as well as all-night-long toilet sounds and high water bills.

Your Toilet May be Trying, But Your Sewer Isn’t Cooperating

Hopefully a toilet bowl backup is a simple matter of an obstruction in the trap leading to your sewer pipes. It could also be the result of blockages in your pipes, and even a whole-house main sewer line problem. As your full-service plumbing company, we are experienced with all of these and can help you understand what’s going on. For toilets in the basement, there’s also the issue of sewer backup leading to surprise toilet overflow even without any flushing. Remember, we’re here 24/7 if that happens.

We Know It’s Serious — Call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain 24/7 for Toilet Service

An overflowing toilet is both a stressful situation for you and a sanitary emergency for us, your expert plumbing company. We want to make sure that you don’t have to clean up water and waste, so please give us a call at any hour to rush over and fix your overflowing toilet. If you have a “running” toilet it’s important to handle that promptly, too, because it can lead to damage to your floor and walls if the water is spilling anywhere but in the intended overflow pipes. If you want to avoid future problems, call us to inspect your toilets, identifying any potential issues and fixing them if you’d like. Our number is 844-HOP-TO-IT, and we’re ready for your call!

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