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A toilet is a plumbing fixture that collects human waste and removes it through pipes into a sewer
system or septic tank.

A typical toilet consists of a bowl and tank, both of which are filled with water. The bowl serves as a
receptacle for waste, and the tank holds the water used to flush the waste out of the bowl.

In addition, the water in the bowl helps to keep sewer gases from entering the house through the

Water Pressure
Toilets like all plumbing fixtures and fixture fittings, require water supplied in sufficient volume and at
pressures adequate to enable them to function properly.

Most codes establish the minimum size of the water supply system and require a minimum of 15- to
20-psi flowing pressure at the toilet water supply inlet.

In areas where the water pressure is low, it may be necessary to increase water supply sizes and/or
incorporate a pressure booster system. Be sure to consult with a plumbing contractor to determine
if the toilet you select will operate properly with the available pressure.

Rough-in requirements
The standard distance from the finished wall to the center line (point where the bowl connects to the
floor) for most toilets is 12 inches. However, depending on your plans, this distance may vary from
10 to 14 inches. You should know this dimension before you shop.

Most home centers carry toilets with 12-inch rough in; if you need something else you'll have to
specify. If you bring in your plans, our sales personnel can determine this for you.

Choosing a Toilet
Until recently, the decision on which toilet to purchase was based primarily on style, and with good
reason. There wasn't much difference from one toilet to the next.

Toilets not only looked pretty much alike, but they all worked with the same functionality and quality,
and the mechanical design had not changed much since the 1800's.

That is still true of the basic builder-grade models, but technology has brought about vast
improvements in the design of upgrade units.

Water Conservation
According to a recent Water Conservation Study, the average person flushes the toilet 5 times a

Those 5 flushes per person may not seem like much until you realize that each person flushing an
older 3.5 - 7 gallons per flush (gpf) toilet, uses 6,400-12,800 gallons/year.

As a water-conservation measure, the U.S. National Energy Policy Act of 1992 eliminated the
standard 3.5 gallon flush and mandated a new standard of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)/6 liters per
flush (lpf) maximum in all new toilets.

Since 1994, all toilets sold in the U.S. use 1.6 gallons per flush, or less. Replacing old toilets with
newer models in your home will save up to $50 to $125 and up to 10,500 gallons each year,
depending on utility rates and usage habits.

Early Problems
Consumers complained that with less water, toilets often clogged or failed to empty completely,
forcing manufacturers to redesign toilets with larger trapways, better waterflow designs, and even
with pressure-assists.

Today's advanced models now flush as effectively as the older models, but using much less water.

Standard Efficiency Toilets - maximum of 1.6gpf/6.0-lpf
Using the new 1.6 gpf toilet, the same 5 flushes use 2,900 gallons per person, But even with this
reduction in water usage, standard-efficiency toilets are responsible for roughly 26% of all water
used indoors.

High-Efficiency Toilets  (HETs) - maximum of 1.3gpf/4.8-lpf
The new high-efficiency toilets use 1.28 gpf (or less) - an average of at least 20% less water than a
standard 1.6 gpf toilet. That translates into a total usage of 2,300 gallons/year per person. Although
they use much less water, these toilets are very efficient.
Some new Pressure-Assist single-flush toilets use 1.1-gpf/4.0-lpf and below.

Note for High-Efficiency Toilets:
* Source: California Urban Water Conservation Council

HETs must meet the very same flushing performance and drain line waste transport requirements
as all other toilets sold in the United States and Canada.

All toilets, regardless of flush volume, may experience problems when installed in locations with
degraded or damaged drain line systems, e.g., root intrusion, sagging or broken lines, buildup of
solids, etc., or in commercial buildings with very long drain line runs and no additional sources of
wastewater near the toilet fixture.

However, when installed where these conditions exist, HETs, because of their reduced flush volume,
could be slightly more susceptible to problems.

Dual Flush Toilets  - (0.8 - 1.1gpf / 1.6gpf - 3.0-4.0-lpf/6.0-lpf)
The newest of the high-efficient toilets are dual-flush, which allow you to select the amount of water
that is used to flush the toilet.

A "short flush" (0.8 to 1.1-gpf/3.0 to 4.0-lpf) is used to flush liquid wastes, and a "full flush"
(1.6-gpf/6.0-lpf ) is used for solid wastes.

It's All in the Flush
All toilets are not created equal. Some home builders and budget-minded consumers looking to cut
corners still install toilets that meet federal requirements, but don't always prevent clogs.

Toilet technology has greatly improved since the 1990's. So much so, that today the first
consideration in choosing a toilet should be the flushing mechanism.

Ask for a Demo
Generally speaking, reading the manufacturer's literature or talking with a sales person isn't enough
to make an informed decision about purchasing a toilet. Consumers should ask to see a
demonstration of a toilet's flushing power before they buy.

Demonstrations typically use items to simulate waste. Items used can include floating and sinking
sponges, paper balls, golf balls, even toys!

Types of Available Toilets
Flush mechanisms currently on the market now:

Gravity Flush Tank
Toilets that have a water tank that works on the gravity principle. Water is released into the bowl
and out through the S-shaped trapway, where a siphoning action pulls the waste out of the bowl.

Gravity Flush toilets are the most popular. Improved design has resulted in many good-performing

Washdown Toilets
Have large trapways and small waterspots. A large trapway means they are less likely to clog, but a
small waterspot means they sometimes do not clean the bowl as well as other toilets.

Similar to gravity flush. Two plastic tanks within the toilet tank that hold only 1.6 gal. of water
between them, and they are configured in such a way that when the toilet is flushed, a vacuum is
created that powers the water into the bowl to produce a more efficient flush.

Uses compressed air within the tank to propel water to the rim and siphon jet creating a powerful
"push-through" flush. They tend to be louder and more expensive than gravity toilets, but have a
reputation for good performance.

Electrohydraulic toilets are the latest in hi-tech. Using electric motor(s), pumps(s), and controllers to
assist the flushing action by monitoring and controlling the flush and dictating the exact discharge
from the tank into the bowl.

Dual Flush
Dual-flush toilets have two buttons, one for solid waste, and one that flushes at less than 1.6 gpf for
liquid waste. Some dual-flush toilets are washdown models.
Learn More »

Flushometer Valve
Typically found in public restrooms. An external valve is connected directly to the pressurized water
supply line. The valve is designed so that when the toilet is flushed, the water supply is opened to
create a pressurized discharge of water into the toilet.
Source: Keidel
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