GPF for toilets stands for “gallons per flush.” It is a measurement of how much water is used to create an effective flush once the toilet lever is activated.
It is an important measurement to consider because the average household in the United States consumes 30% of their water through toilet flushing. By reducing how much water is used per flush, a tremendous water savings can be obtained. Water-efficient models can save up to 7,000 gallons of water per person, per year.
What Are the GPF Requirements for a Toilet?
To meet current water consumption requirements, toilets manufactured after July 1, 2016 can often flush on just 1.28 gallons per flush. For models manufactured before 2016, the GPF requirement was 1.5 to meet WaterSense standards. In the United States, the current standard is 1.6 gallons per flush.
Some models prefer to use an LPF measurement instead, which stands for “liters per flush.” The requirement is the same as the GPF requirement. The current standard is 6 liters per flush.
Older toilets can use much more water. Toilets that are up to 10 years old may use 2-4 gallons per flush. Older toilets sometimes used up to 6 gallons of water per flush.
How to Improve Water Use with Older Toilets
If you are not in a position to upgrade an older toilet, there are still some ways that you can save water. One of the easiest ways to improve water consumption is to install an adjustable flapper and a toilet tank bag. For a toilet that uses 6 GPF, these two modifications can offer a 50% reduction in water consumption immediately.
Installing a fill-cycle diverter, which connects to the overflow tube and fill line, and divert extra water from the bowl into the tank instead of it going down the drain. This can save an additional half-gallon per flush.
For those with a tight budget, you can still reduce your water consumption by eliminating space within the toilet tank. Find a brick or a concrete paving stone that fits within the tank and carefully place it inside. Although the material will degrade over time, you’ll save 1-3 gallons of water per flush.
By knowing your GPF rating, you’ll better understand how much water you’re actually using. That is the first step toward reducing your water consumption footprint.
Elongated toilets provide more space for sitting compared to round toilets. The bowl has more of an oval shape to it than a circular shape. For many people, this creates a user experience that has added comfort.
From the back of the tank to the edge of the front of the bowl, a standard round toilet offers 16.5 inches of space. For a standard elongated toilet, there is 18.5 inches of space.
The Downside of Elongated Toilets
There are three reasons why elongated toilets should be avoided.
1. You have young children. Because of the added size, young children struggle to fit all the way onto the toilet. That causes the waste to hit the front of the bowl, where a standard flush may not completely clean the inside of the toilet. Additional cleaning responsibilities are usually necessary in this scenario. 2. You are on a tight budget. Elongated toilets are more expensive than round toilets. Although the difference isn’t much for most models, high-end toilets may have several hundred dollars’ difference between the two bowl shapes. 3. You have space concerns. If you have a small bathroom, an elongated toilet is usually not the best option. The only exception to this rule is if you have an actual water closet, where the toilet is separated from the rest of the bathroom, and there is enough space within the closet to accommodate the design.
There can also be flushing power differences when comparing round bowls and elongated bowls from the same manufacturer. Independence testing of TOTO Ultimate Series toilets found that 400 grams of waste could be effectively flushed in the round models, but only 325 grams could be flushed in the elongated models.
How to Find the Best Elongated Toilets
Size matters when shopping for an elongated toilet. Look for model that has a raised tank height or bowl height, if not both. The extra gravity will provide a more powerful flush. Think about a pressure-assisted model if you’re shopping for an elongated toilet and have a large family.
Then look for the right combination of features that can best meet your overall needs. Elongated toilets may have an extended bowl, which provides comfort, but they can do much more than that as well. That is why they should be part of the conversation.
You’ve flushed the toilet just like you always do. This time, however, the water levels aren’t going down. The bowl is filling up with water quickly. What could be causing this situation?
In most cases, the reason why a toilet is overflowing is because there is a clog within the trapway. Toilet paper and waste do not always break down enough to be flushed through the system, especially if they are flushed in a large amount. Removing the clog will prevent the toilet from overflowing in the future.
Clogs can also be caused by foreign objects, wipes, and paper products that are not designed to be flushed, but are used during the bathroom experience anyway.
If you have determined that a clog in the toilet is not the cause of the overflow, it is likely one of the following issues.
1. Sewer Pipe Clog
A clog can form in the main sewer pipe that leads away from the home. It can even form in the primary transportation pipe that leads to the treatment facility.
2. Septic Tank Issue
A toilet that is consistently overflowing and isn’t connected to a treatment network is likely dealing with a septic issue. There is probably a clog in the tank somewhere. Flushing the system is usually required to resolve this issue.
3. Plumbing Design Issue
Sometimes, the issue of overflowing is caused by a poor plumbing design within the bathroom. Gravity is used to assist with the flush, so if the waste must move “uphill,” it will likely backup over time. You’ll usually see this if the toilet overflows when another water fixture, like the shower, is being used at the same time.
4. Venting Issue
Modern plumbing systems have vents that maintain a neutralized pressure level within the home. If the vents are blocked, often caused by falling leaves and other natural debris, then the neutralization is no longer present and that makes it more difficult to flush the toilet.
5. Dried Waste
Trapways in toilets are not constantly filled with water. If you flushed waste and it did not completely flush away, then didn’t flush the toilet again for a day or two, a difficult clog could form. A toilet auger is the best way to remove this type of clog from the toilet.
There are numerous reasons why a toilet may decide to overflow. By identifying the issue, the problem can be resolved so the toilet can flush properly once again.
If you need a new toilet for a remodeling project or for new construction, there are certain features that are worth considering before finalizing the purchase. Here are some of the top key points to think about.
1. Flushing Technologies
Modern toilets offer a dual-flush option. You can flush a partial tank to dispose of liquid waste and save up to 50% of the water compared to a regular flush.
2. Seat Height
Seat heights are generally in the range of 16-18 inches, but taller toilets can help those with movement concerns or disabilities have a more comfortable user experience.
3. Bowl Shape
Toilets come with a round bowl or an elongated bowl. Round bowls are generally smaller and able to fit in spaces that are more compact. Elongated bowls are usually more comfortable to use, but require more space in the bathroom.
4. Touchless Flushing
Some toilets are equipped with motion sensors that will flush after being activated and a timed cycle occurs after the movement stops. This feature can lessen germ transfer within the bathroom.
Toilets are often white, but numerous color options are available today. That makes it possible to choose a model that coordinates with the interior design of the bathroom with greater ease.
6. Rough-In Measurement
A standard rough-in for homes today is 12 inches. Older homes, however, may have 10-inch or 14-inch rough-ins that are required. Make sure to measure the distance in the bathroom receiving the toilet before finalizing the purchase.
7. Flush Type
Most toilets are gravity-feed toilets. Water drops through the tank into the bowl, triggering a flush. There are also pressure-assisted toilets available that will forcibly push water into the bowl. Pressure-assisted toilets are louder, but reduce clogging and can save water use for larger families.
8. Trap Design
Trapways are the bends in the back of the toilet that prevent odors and gases from escaping through the bowl. Some models conceal the trapway with skirting or a smooth surface to create a cleaner look.
The best toilet is the one that accommodates the needs of your household while working in the space you have. By examining this combination of features with each model, you’ll be able to find the perfect toilet for your home today.
When you press the toilet lever or button to flush it, what are you actually doing? What is the toilet flusher called?
The official name for the part is a toilet trip lever. It includes the handle or button component that is used to initiate the flush and the swing arm that is used within the interior of the toilet. When searching for a toilet trip lever, some may be sold with chains that are used to attach the lever to the flapper, which prevents water from entering the toilet bow from the tank.
The chain attaches to the swing arm within the tank of the toilet. The arm attaches through an opening in the tank to connect it to the lever or button. Once activated, the flapper is lifted and allows the flush to occur.
How to Replace a Toilet Trip Lever
If you have a broken toilet trip lever, then you’re forced to flush the toilet manually by lifting the flapper yourself. Thankfully, a repair of this part is relatively simple and can be accomplished with just a few tools.
Here’s what you need to do.
1. Turn off the water to the tank and then open the flapper to remove water from the tank. 2. Remove the broken lever. There is a shank nut that holds most levers in place that must be removed. Pliers or an adjustable wrench will usually work. 3. Thread the replacement part through the opening in the tank. Replace the shank nut to hold the mechanism in place. Do not fully tighten the shank nut yet. 4. Connect the flapper chain to the swing arm, then tighten the shank nut. Because the swing arm may be a different length, ensure that activating the lever will pull the flapper open. 5. Turn the water back on and test the toilet to ensure that it is working.
Assuming you have the tools to remove the old lever, this repair can often be done for $10 or less on most toilets. It generally takes 15-30 minutes to complete the first time.
Button levers are replaced in a similar way, but are usually placed on the top of the tank instead of the side of it.
If your toilet isn’t flushing, it could be that there is a problem with the toilet flusher. Take a look today and make the repair if it is necessary.
When was the last time you opened your toilet tank? Did you know the average person may only look inside the toilet tank when there is something wrong with the flushing mechanism?
Because the tank always holds water, it can be a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria. Even though the tank has a lid, the mold and mildew flush through the bowl and can enter into the air of the home. Is that something you want to be breathing?
If the toilet water splashes outside the bowl, that mold and mildew could go virtually anywhere. No one wants that either.
That’s why it is a good idea to clean your toilet tank about once per month. Because the components of the toilet can be sensitive to certain chemicals, products, and cleaning methods, however, there are some specific items and methods to use that will protect the toilet while removing the potentially dangerous items.
If There Is Not Much Build-up, Do This
If you have opened your toilet tank and it seems reasonably clean, then your chore is going to be fairly simple. Take a non-scratch scrubbing sponge, use a non-toxic cleaning solution, and then scrub the sides of the toilet tank. Even standard dish soap could be used for this cleaning chore.
For tough spots, try using your toilet brush if the sponge isn’t able to remove it. As you clean, take care not to impact the chains and tubes that are located within the toilet tank.
Once you’ve finished cleaning, flush the toilet a couple of times to ensure your soap or cleaning solution has been rinsed from the tank.
For Moderate Cleaning, Follow These Steps
You may find that there are lines of green within your toilet tank. There could be some calcium or line deposits in there. It could be bad enough that the water seems to be discolored.
In this situation, you’ll want to turn off the water supply to the toilet. Then flush it so the water is removed from the tank. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any lingering water. Then take white vinegar and apply it directly to the problem areas. Allow the vinegar to sit for 5-10 minutes and then scrub.
You may need to apply the vinegar solution 2-5 times, depending on the severity of the stains and deposits.
Bleach is an alternative product that can be used as well. Don’t mix the two together. Either use vinegar or use bleach, but not both.
The advantage of using vinegar over bleach is that there are fewer risks to the rubber interior components of the toilet. If you do feel like bleach is your best option, do your best to avoid getting any on the flapper, valves, or gaskets within the toilet.
For Heaving Cleaning, You’ll Need to Do This
If you can’t remember the last time your toilet tank was cleaned and the buildup levels would be described as “bad,” then some pre-cleaning is a good idea. Purchase an automatic toilet cleaning system that goes into your toilet tank. These cleaners have several different designs. Some used tablets that you drop into the tank. Some, like NeverScrub, connect directly to the components of the toilet.
Allow the automatic cleaner to work for a week or two. Some are rated to work for up to 3 months, but you don’t need to wait that long.
Then get in there and follow the moderate cleaning steps for the tank. Make sure that if you use bleach that it won’t interact with the cleaning agents from the automatic cleaner that you’ve been using. Bleach, when combined with ammonia, will create toxic vapors and is extremely dangerous.
When the toilet tank requires heavy cleaning, it will not usually achieve an “acceptable” level of clean for several cleanings. If it took more than a year for the tank to build-up a high level of residue, it will take a few weeks to restore the interior to a properly clean state.
What You Should Not Use When Cleaning a Toilet Tank
Although it may be tempting, do not use wire brushes or anything else that could scratch the interior ceramic of the toilet. You will get the junk of the sides of the toilet tank, but you’ll damage the surface at the same time. That will make future cleaning attempts more difficult to complete.
The toilet tank is often overlooked when performing household chores. With these simple techniques, the tank doesn’t need to be a home for mold, mildew, or bacteria any more.
Before you went to the “restroom” or the “bathroom,” you went to the “water closet.” That is what the “WC” means on certain toilets or rooms that contain one.
In the past, the terms for each room were specific instead of being generic. Someone when to the “bathroom” to take a bath because that’s where the tub happened to be. You would go to the “restroom” to rest or get ready for your day, so there may have been a sink, a mirror, or other necessities.
Then you went to the water closet, the “WC,” to use the toilet.
Why Were the Old Bathrooms Called Water Closets?
Although there isn’t one “accepted” version of why water closets were given their name, there is one common version that is often told. In the late 19th century, when indoor plumbing began being installed in homes, people had to make room for the fixtures that were going to be used. One common place to install a toilet was a remodeled clothing closet.
Since it was the one place in the home that had indoor water, it was called the “water closet.”
For modern building codes, the WC designation is also important to know.
Urinals Are Not Classified as Water Closets
In the United States, toilets are still referred to as water closets. This differentiates the fixture from other bathroom items that can be installed, such as a urinal, that are approved to dispose of human waste.
It is important to note that the reference is to the toilet only for the building code. A “water closet” would be installed in a “bathroom,” even if there is no tub installed in that room.
In certain countries, such as Germany, the toilet is sometimes kept in a separate room from the rest of the bathroom or restroom. Some homes in the United States have adopted this design as well. This is technically a “water closet” as well because the toilet is kept in a separate area, but still contained within the bathroom itself.
WC is still used frequently today, but as a synonym for a toilet instead of a specific location or designation. If it is found on the toilet itself, then this designation is usually intended to meet a building code requirement.
It’s a fact of life. You can do everything right and it will still clog on occasion. That’s why there are several product options available today to help you unclog that toilet right away.
Before adding a product to the toilet, try to unclog it with pressure or by impacting the clog with a tool. Owning a plunger and a toilet auger can be very helpful and will remove most clogs without needing an additive.
If you don’t have access to those tools right now or they don’t seem to be working, here are some additional options to consider.
The Best Products for Unclogging a Toilet
If your toilet is not backing up, try using 1 gallon of hot, but not boiling, water. Pour it down the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then attempt another flush.
If that doesn’t seem to be working, here are the best alternative products to use.
1. Pressure Pump
These tools are like a half-plunger, half-auger. You place the end of the pump over the toilet opening like a plunger. Then air pressure is forced through the trap of the toilet, dislodging the clog.
2. Chemical Products
Many people use products like Drano® in their toilets, but it is important to see what the product is rated to do. Only Drano’s Max Build-Up Remover is rated to work on unclogging toilets. Several brands make at least one product that may work.
3. Enzyme Products
Many toilet clogs are caused by a combination of toilet paper and waste that has managed to dry and build-up over time. Enzymes can break down these components to unclog the toilet. As an added bonus, there is no threat to the drainage pipe or the environment when using this type of product.
4. Wire Hanger
A wire hanger can mimic a toilet auger in an emergency. Wrap the end of the hanger with a rag to prevent it from damaging the toilet. Then work it through the toilet trap to dislodge the clog. This option can get most shallow clogs.
Several products are available to unclog a toilet. Even a combination of vinegar and baking soda may work. Choose the option that works best for your needs so you can have a clean flush every time.
Toilets may have improved our lives in many ways from a sanitation standpoint, but no technology is perfect. Over time, the components of a toilet can begin to wear out. That is when a toilet usually begins to leak.
A leaking toilet can waste a surprising amount of water. Just one leaking toilet, if the leak remains undetected, can waste up to 6,500 gallons of water in a single month. That comes out to about 80,000 gallons of water per year – from one toilet.
The most common cause of a leaking toilet is a flapper problem. The flapper rises when the lever or button is pushed to activate the flushing mechanism of the toilet. If it becomes warped or stuck, then it will leak water into the toilet bowl. This is often called a “running toilet.”
Common Reasons Why Toilets Leak
If the flapper looks to be in good shape and doesn’t seem to be the cause of the toilet leak, here are some of the other common reasons that may be the cause of the problem.
1. Supply Line
A supply line that has failed can cause a leak at two points: at the connection to the plumbing system or at the toilet tank. The joints of the supply line tend to wear out in 5-10 years and require replacement.
2. Broken Components
Toilets receive a lot of abuse over time. They get banged into. Stuff hits the bowl and the tank. If the impact is severe enough, a crack may form in the ceramic. Water is patient and will eventually find the crack and seep through it.
3. Loose Connection
Sometimes, nothing is broken with the toilet, but it is still leaking. A loose connection can easily cause a leak. Arms and legs can bump things when using the toilet, which can cause a supply line to slip loose – and that’s just one example. A good habit to get into is to check your connections about once per month to ensure they are nice and tight.
4. Fill Valve Fault
The fill valve can wear out over time, just like the connections and flapper. If the toilet is more than 10 years old and the toilet doesn’t seem to be shutting off, this could be the culprit.
If you’re unsure of where the toilet leak is occurring, place a few drops of food coloring into the toilet. Watch where the dye goes. It will follow the path of the leak so you can know what needs to be fixed.
Most household toilets have two primary structural components to them: the bowl and the cistern. The toilet cistern is the upper portion of the toilet that holds water for when it needs to be flushed. Most people refer to the toilet cistern as the “tank.”
On a modern toilet, the cistern is mounted above the toilet bowl and close-coupled to it. In the past, the tank was sometimes placed higher above the toilet and connected to the bowl by a pipe. Sometimes, the cistern was placed next to the toilet, but still above the bowl, so it could be disguised by decorations or cabinetry.
What to Expect from a Toilet Cistern
The cistern fills with water based on three elements: a supply line, a fill valve, and a float mechanism. The supply line is connected to the base of the cistern, allowing water from the pipes in the walls to fill the tank to an appropriate level.
The fill valve allows water from the supply line to enter the tank for storage when it is open. When the fill valve is closed, then water remains at the ready to enter the tank, but is prevented from doing so until the valve opens once again.
As for the float mechanism, it registers the level of water that is inside the tank. Based on its position, it will allow the fill valve to open or close. This allows water to enter the tank whenever levels become too low.
How the Toilet Cistern Operates
The cistern passes water through to the toilet bowl, either by gravity or an air pressure assist, to create a flush. The flush is initiated by the user in some way. For homeowners, a lever or a button is what typically activates the mechanism. Commercial and industrial toilets sometimes offer a motion sensor so a hands-free experience can be had by the user.
Once the toilet flushes, the float mechanism inside the cistern lowers. This tells the fill valve that water needs to be added to the tank. The valve opens, taking water from the supply line that has been waiting. This allows the cistern to refill.
Some models offer a half-tank flush, which is a low-water flush for liquid waste.
By understanding how the toilet cistern works, it becomes easier to maintain the modern toilet. Technologies may have evolved, but the principle of a good flush has remained the same.