The flush toilet has been in existence for more centuries than what we would like to believe. It is believed that flush toilets were in use more than 2500 years ago in many parts of India and Pakistan. However, it is the invention of the ‘S’ trap in 1775 by Alexander Cummings revolutionized the flush toilet. The water in the ‘S’ trap closed the outlet of the toilet.
This prevented the foul smell from the sewer to reach the bathroom through the toilet bowl. The ‘S’ trap design is still in use. Most of the flush toilet remains similar to what it was many centuries ago. There are only slight changes in the way it is being operated.
The working system also remains the same, even today. There have been changes in the materials that make the flush tank. You can see flush tanks are mostly made of plastic nowadays. The handle that flushes the toilet has also changed cosmetically over the years.
Understanding The Working Of A Toilet?
Before we get into the details about the flush valve, we must understand how a toilet works. The toilet pushes the water to the bowl when you move the handle on the toilet tank. The force of the water which goes down to the toilet bowl forces the stuff in the toilet bowl to move through the ‘S’ trap to the sewer. The ‘S’ trap make sure that there is water in the bowl at all times.
The ‘S’ trap allows bad odor from coming into the bathroom. There is a water inlet pipe that allows water into the tank. The opening and closing of the inlet tube are controlled by the ballcock. The ballcock has a float that will go up and down with the water level in the tank.
When the water is full, the ball will be fully raised, and this will automatically close the water inlet valve. This is the mechanism that prevents the overflow of water. If this mechanism doesn’t work water correctly will pass through the overflow tube into the bowl.
The other parts include the wax sealing that is placed between the floor and the toilet bowl to prevent any leakage of water from the toilet bowl. There is also a seal placed at the joint of the pipe below the toilet tank and where it joins the toilet bowl. All these seals help to prevent any leakage.
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Understanding The Flush Valve
The flush valve is the mechanism that allows the water to flow down the tube into the bowl to push out the contents to the drain pipe. The flush valve consists of various parts. The trip lever is the one that moves when you press the handle.
The lever is connected to the flapper using a chain or a steel rod. The flapper is rubber or plastic structure that closes the flush valve when the water is full in the tank, and no flush has been done.
The flush valve sits in the middle of the mechanism and sends water down to the toilet bowl for clearing the bowl. The flush valve is also connected to an overflow tube in most modern toilets. This overflow tube will send excess water down the flush valve into the bowl if the inlet pipe doesn’t close properly. Without the overflow tube, the water would have fallen on the bathroom floor.
The handle mechanism may vary in different models. Mostly it is the press down type. When you press the handle down, the lever will pull at the connecting chain to the flapper. When the flapper rises, it allows the water in the tank to flow down the tube to the toilet bowl.
The suction caused by the sudden opening pulls the water from the tank with force. When the water has completed drained off from the tank, the flapper will go back to its original position to prevent water from going down to the bowl.
Why Is There a Leak Of Water Into The Toilet Bowl?
Many of you might have faced the problem of water leaking down into the toilet bowl. The problem is mostly due to the flapper. But you must first check whether the inlet valve is closing properly. This might also make water to overflow into the toilet bowl.
If that is working properly, then you must check the flapper. A worn flapper will not close the flush valve properly. This will allow water to leak through it into the toilet bowl.
The other reason could be that the chain connecting the flapper may have too much slack. If that is the case, it will not allow the flapper to close properly. Too little slack could also create such a problem. You must ensure that the slack is correct.
A half-inch slack should make the flapper close properly. If you press down the flapper and the leak stops, then that means that the flapper is not closing properly. You may need to clean the valve seating to remove any deposits. This will stop the leak.
If water leaks even when you press the flapper to close properly, then you must check if the water is leaking through a crack in the overflow tube. Such a complaint can be solved only by replacing the whole flush valve. You will have to remove the toilet tank for replacing the flush valve.
Though the flush toilet is a simple mechanism of pushing water down to the toilet bowl and emptying the contents into the sewer, there can be many problems with it. There can be water leaking into the tank because of a faulty inlet valve.
This will cause a lot of water to go wasted unless it is repaired immediately. The fault may mostly be solved by replacing the ballcock. This is a simple task that can be done easily.When water leaks from the tank to the bowl, you may not get a complete flush.
This means that the contents of the bowl will not be fully emptied. This could be a problem that needs to be solved immediately. The other problems that can cause misery to you are the leakage from the toilet bowl on to the floor of the bathroom. You may need to check the wax sealing. The job might need the assistance of a technician.
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