How Exactly Does A Toilet Work?

If you have ever wondered how a toilet works, it's actually not as complex as you would imagine. You may wonder why they are designed the way that they are. You may also wonder who invented the toilet, and how it is able to flush things down. There is a significant amount of detail in the plumbing that allows you to flush by pulling lever. Although toilets have changed over the years, they still work using the same basic principles.

What has happened in the last few decades is that this process has been improved. There are many different styles, sizes, and even those that are much more efficient with the use of water. Let's discuss how a toilet works so that you can finally understand how and why they are designed the way we see them today.

Who Invented The Toilet?

There are many people that believe that the toilet was invented relatively recently. However, it was initially conceived nearly 3000 years ago. The original toilet was first crafted in what is now modern day Pakistan and India.

There are also signs that it was created in other countries such as Greece and Crete. It was not until the 1700s that a man by the name of Alexander Cummings decided to create a toilet that is more reflective of what we use today. He designed what is called a sliding valve, allowing the toilet to flush, a device that was called a water closet for many centuries.

How Do Toilets Get The Power To Flush?

At the back of a toilet there is an area where the water will be stored. This is called the tank. Inside of the tank are many different components. There is a fill valve which is how the water gets back inside after you flush. There is a flush lever which controls what is called the flapper valve. When this is pulled down, or pushed down, the flapper will rise, allowing the water that is in the tank to be released. There is also an overflow pipe that will prevent too much water from getting into the tank. The water is released into what is called the toilet bowl.

What Happens Once The Water Is Released?

If you have ever looked at a toilet bowl before, and watch the water coming in, you will see that it is released through many different rim holes that line the perimeter of the top of the bowl. The bowl is also designed in a concave fashion. It's dimensions, and the angle of the curvature, allow the water to create a vortex. It is this flow of the water at these specific angles that gives it the speed necessary to flush down the waste that is in the toilet bowl.

The waste material goes below the surface of the water, going down into the trap way, circling around into what is called the outlet. Once the waste material goes into the outlet, it will head into the sewer pipe. Your individual sewer pipe is connected to the main sewer pipes which are buried under the ground under the streets and sidewalks in front of your house. This is then carried down to a processing centre where the water is eventually cleaned and potentially reused for other purposes.

What Advancements Have Been Made In Recent Years?

Some of the advancements that have been made in recent years has to do with the amount of water that is used. In the past, 5 gallon tanks were the standard. Due to the design of the toilets, they needed to have that much water in order to properly flush everything down.

However, due to modifications in the design of the toilet bowl, and how the water is released, 2 gallon tanks are becoming the standard. Part of the reason for doing this is that it is a space saving innovation. However, the main reason for using the smaller tanks is water conservation.

This basic overview of how a toilet works will give you a little insight into how they function and how many improvements have been made over the years. The next time that you flush the toilet, you will have a better understanding of why they work so well at flushing everything down.