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How to Choose a Common Toilet

A toilet is a plumbing fixture that sits in a bathroom and removes waste by flushing it into the drainpipe, sewer system or septic tank. Modern toilets are generally highly efficient, reducing water usage by as much as 40% compared with their predecessors. The most bto common toilet have a standard round bowl and are a little over a foot off the ground, but the Americans with Disabilities Act requires some to stand at a height of 17 to 19 inches. A variety of features can be added to the toilet to increase comfort and efficiency, but the decision about what type of toilet is best for a household will mostly depend on personal preferences and needs.

There are many types of toilets and a wide range of price points. The most basic are gravity-feed toilets, which use the force of gravity to push waste down the drainpipe and into the sewer or septic system. A toilet’s trapway, sometimes called a “trap line” or trap passage, is designed to create a seal to prevent sewer gases and odors from entering the home.

When the flush handle is operated, a chain or lift wire connected to the handle rod lifts the flapper or float ball away from the valve seat, which allows the water in the tank to fill the trapway and travel down through it into the toilet bowl to flush the waste. The tank’s water level is monitored by a fill tube, which sits in the bottom opening and is sealed with a rubber or neoprene gasket. The tube connects the fill valve to the overflow tube, and if the tube untightens, water can leak back into the toilet tank instead of into the bowl.

Leaky toilets are a major source of waste in a house, wasting gallons of water every year that never makes it into the bowl. One trick to test whether a toilet tank is leaking is to put food coloring in the toilet tank; if it leaks, the water will be tinted.

If a toilet is leaky, the first step to fix it is to check the tank for a loose fill tube. The tank also contains a vent tube that connects the overflow pipe to the vent in the wall, and if it is clogged or shifted, it can cause a loss of pressure in the vent. This can also result in the tank overflowing, creating a messy, stinky mess in the bathroom.

When selecting a new toilet, it is important to measure the rough-in size accurately, which is the distance from the floor to the center of the drainpipe (toilet flange) opening. When measuring, raise the tape so that it touches the bare wall above the baseboard or molding for more accurate results. Having an overly-large rough-in can lead to costly installation and return problems. Other important considerations include the bowl shape and size, seat material, color and additional features like heated surfaces and deodorizers.

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