When you’re hunting for a new toilet, you’ll come across 2 broad categories of flush:
- Gravity Flush
- Pressure-Assisted Flush
While our focus today is on pressure-assisted flush systems, to put things into perspective, we’ll start by outlining how gravity flush systems work.
The vast bulk of toilets on the market feature a gravity-fed flush.
This is a system that’s been in place for as long as modern toilets.
Little has changed in general principle since Sir John Harington invented the flush toilet in 1591 but how do gravity flush systems work?
Gravity Flush: How It Works
As the name makes abundantly clear, a gravity flush relies on the force of gravity and makes use of a flush valve. As water drops from tank to bowl, the waste is moved down the drain.
This is achieved with a simple press of the flush button that lifts the flush valve inside the toilet tank. The water starts working its way through the siphon, usually entering the bowl through rim holes.
Since the water falls from some height, the force of gravity gives it enough power to push waste through the pipe and into the septic tank.
As soon as flushing is complete, the water supply pipe will start filling up the tank again. The flow is shut off by the float valve once it reaches a sufficient level in the cistern.
Gravity Flush: Pros
- Tried and tested system that’s been around for decades
- Easy to use and straightforward to repair for your complete convenience
- The most affordable type of flush system by some distance
Gravity Flush: Cons
- With a dual-flush gravity system, sometimes the partial flush doesn’t give you quite enough power
So, this is the opposition pressure-assisted toilets is up against.
How, then, do these newer systems compete and what exactly is a pressure-assisted toilet?
Pressure Assisted Flush
Pressure-assisted toilets were developed back in 1984 in response to frustrations about water shortages.
Over time, this type of flushing system has become more and more eco-friendly. Dual-flush gravity systems and composting toilets are undeniably extremely water-efficient. Pressure-assisted toilets take conserving water to the next level.
How, then, does this type of flushing system work?
Pressure Assisted Flush: How It Works
Although it looks similar to a gravity-fed toilet at a glance, the mechanics of the pressure-assisted flush are significantly different.
This type of mechanism uses a combination of water along with pressurized air. There’s a water tank along with a compression tank. This is usually found inside the water tank.
The tank fills with water while the compression tank is filled with air. The diaphragm inside the tank then shrinks.
As the toilet is flushed, the compressed air functions much like a spring and the water powers down into the bowl with dramatically more force than a gravity-fed system.
Pressure Assisted Flush: Pros
- The extremely powerful flush ensures all the waste is sluiced away first time and remains the key selling point
- A combination of the high-powered flush and higher water levels keeps the bowl cleaner with minimal streaking or staining
- Generally, pressure-assisted toilets are smaller and lighter so work well in compact bathrooms
- Remarkably water-efficient, you’ll use as little as 1.1 gallons per flush using about 20% less water than a standard gravity-fed system
- With fewer moving parts, maintenance is kept to an absolute minimum
Pressure Assisted Flush: Cons
- The major drawback of pressure-assisted toilets is that they cost more
- If anything goes wrong, you’ll almost certainly need to call in a plumber rather than relying on a DIY fix
- Pressure-assisted toilets are far noisier than those with gravity-fed systems
- Since toilet tissue gets shredded up, sometimes these toilets are prone to clogging
Should You Buy a Pressure-Assisted Toilet?
Now you’ve got an overview of each of the main types of flushing system, you might be asking yourself if it’s really worth buying one.
Here are some questions worth thinking about in order to best arrive at the most fitting solution for you…
Do You Need The Toilet in a Commercial Setting or Is It For Home Use?
The core use for pressure-assisted toilets is commercial. They are sometimes even required to meet local regulations.
If you don’t have a remarkably high-demand home or the need for a toilet for a business, you could just as easily get away with a gravity-fed flushing system.
Are You Prepared to Spend More?
If you’re operating on a tighter budget, you might find the prices of pressure-assisted toilets prohibitive.
Couple with this, you’ll get a slimmer choice.
Think about your intended budget and consider a gravity-fed system instead.
Is The Noise Factor Likely To Be a Problem?
Only you know whether the amount of noise generated by a pressure-assisted toilet will bother you.
If you’ve got light sleepers in the house and the bathroom is close to the bedroom, a pressure-assisted toilet might not be the wisest choice.
If, on the other hand, you’ve got a commercial outlet with a high-volume bathroom, that noise factor is unlikely to be a problem.
Are You Experienced Enough to Undertake Repairs If Necessary?
If anything goes amiss with a pressure-assisted toilet, you’ll be able to repair it yourself but only if you’re pretty handy.
Think about how practically-inclined you are and consider whether or not you’re prepared to call in the plumber in the event of anything going wrong.
Does It Come With a Robust Warranty?
Linked to the above issue of more complex repairs, think closely about the warranty if you’re still interested in a pressure-assisted toilet.
If you’re covered for 10 years against breakdown, this allows you to buy with complete confidence assuming you’re happy with all other elements of this powerful flushing system.
We hope that today’s brief overview of the main differences between flushing systems has shown you whether or not a pressure-assisted toilet makes sense for you.
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