The toilet is one of the most underappreciated fixtures in your home. You use it daily but rarely think about it. In fact, the only time you may consider your toilet is when it has a problem. Correct that by learning how a toilet works. You will appreciate the simplicity of its design and operation.

Flushing Process

The first part of how a toilet works is in the flushing process. When you flush, all you see is your hand pressing the handle and the bowl emptying. There is an entire unseen series of events that happen inside the tank.

Pressing the handle moves a lever that has a chain connected to the flapper. This lifts the flapper, allowing the water in the tank to drain into the bowl. The extra weight of the tank’s water fills the siphon tube (or the bend in the trap). When this tube completely fills with water, it creates a vacuum that pulls the bowl contents into the waste system. Once the bowl contents pass through the siphon valve, it refills with air, closing off the vacuum and allowing the bowl to refill. 

Refilling the Tank

After the tank empties, the floater inside drops. This triggers the flapper to close tightly, preventing water from seeping out of the tank as it fills. A drop in the position of the floater triggers water to refill the tank. Some of the refill water also goes into the bowl refill tube, which replaces the clean water in the bowl slowly enough to not trigger the siphon valve again.

As the water level rises, so does the position of the floater. Once the floater reaches its normal position when the tank is full, the lever shuts off the filling mechanism.

Common Problems With How a Toilet Works

Some issues with modern toilets rank among the most common reasons for repairs. Plumbers frequently encounter issues such as running toilets and leaks that require knowledge of how a toilet works to make the proper repairs to them.

For instance, if the flapper does not have a tight seal, it can cause water to leak from the tank. The leaking drops the water level, which triggers the tank’s refill valve to open and send more water into the space. However, the excess water passes into the overflow tube and drains into the bowl in a condition known as a running toilet. This problem causes wasted water.

Another issue that may happen is when the toilet does not flush properly. This may happen because the chain connected to the flush lever is too long to properly lift the flapper valve. It may also happen if the tank does not refill with enough water, often caused by an improperly adjusted floater. You may even have a problem with the refill valve not adding enough water into the tank.

Though made from tough porcelain, even toilets can break. If the tank shatters or bowl breaks, you will have water and sharp shards of porcelain everywhere. Shut off the water to the toilet and carefully clean up what you can. Then call a plumber to replace the toilet. Do not try to replace the unit yourself because toilets are bulky and difficult to install.

Get Toilet Repairs and Replacements from Best Service Plumber

Now that you know how a toilet works, you can recognize the need for professional repairs when something goes wrong. Whenever you need toilet repairs or new installations, call us at Best Service Plumber 951-520-8557.


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