Toilets, while not very glamorous in and of themselves, are a necessary part of modern living. (Can you imagine if we no longer had them? Sure, “roughing it” once in a while when you’re at your weekend cabin or a campground can be enjoyable, but every day? No, thank you!)
Ironically, most people know very little about their toilets. That’s why we’ve put together a quick “Get to Know Your Toilet” primer so the next time you call Pronto, you can be sure to speak the Language of the Loo:
- The bowl is the part that you see when you open the lid. That bowl is filled with clean water (although not clean enough to drink… unless your name is Spot or Fluffy.) At the back of the bowl is a trapway or siphon that takes the waste from the bowl to the sewage drain beneath the toilet.
- The large part that makes up the back of a standard household toilet is the tank. This is filled up with around a couple of gallons of water. The water is directly received from your pipes. (By the way, the waste from the bowl should never back up into this tank!)
- Inside the tank are all the mechanisms that are needed to flush away the waste. These mechanisms include the overflow tube, fill valve, refill tube, float arm, float ball, trip lever, flush valve and flapper. As you can see, there are a lot of moving items to keep track of! If just one of them is malfunctioning, it can affect the whole process.
When you have issues with your toilet, it’s often because of a tank issue. After all, the bowl is simply the receptacle. Unless it’s cracked or clogged, it probably isn’t the crux of your toilet problems. The mystery is which tank item is causing the problem. That’s where you should lift the top off the tank and inspect what happens when you flush.
If you can’t see what’s happening, or it doesn’t make sense, it may be time to call a plumber. The nice thing is that when you know the names of all the mechanisms, you can tell him or her what’s occurring in detail. That’s always welcome; our techs love to speak the language of plumbing!