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What is that big thing in the toilet tank?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

It’s a Sloan “Flushmate.” The device uses water pressure from the pipe serving the toilet—instead of gravity—to provide a pressurized surge of water to the toilet flush. Standard toilet flush systems utilize the minimal water pressure provided by the height of water in tank, combined with a siphoning action created by the shape of the drainage channel at the toilet base, to discharge all the solids from the bowl.   Whoooosh! The first time you use a toilet with Flushmate installed, the  rather loud sound of the flush may surprise you.  “But it’s especially helpful for people with bowel movement problems for getting everything in one flush,” according to plumber James Freeman, of J.W. Freeman Plumbing. “And the Sloan Company is very responsive at getting parts to us when we need them for repairs.”

   Here’s how the Sloan Valve Company describes the way it works:
“The FLUSHMATE system traps air and as it fills with water, it uses the supply line pressure to compress the trapped air inside. The compressed air is what forces the water into the bowl, so instead of the ‘pulling’ or siphon action of a
gravity unit, the pressure-assist unit “pushes” waste out. This vigorous flushing action cleans the bowl better than gravity units.”
The series of diagrams below shows the sequence.

Unfortunately, over two million Flushmate III systems were voluntarily recalled by Sloan, in cooperation with the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), in 2012 and an additional 360,00 in 2014. Hundreds of reports of the tanks exploding, causing property damage and, in some cases, impact and laceration injuries from the flying shards of fractured tank wall were the reason for the recall. Sloan offered a free repair kit for all recalled systems. The unit in the photo at the top of the page was part of the recall. 

    Recalled units have a date code/serial number that is 16 characters long and is located on the label on the top of the Flushmate III. The first six numerals of the serial number are the date code. The date code range for units included in this recall in MMDDYY format is 070109 (July 1, 2009) through 043011 (April 30, 2011). The date code range for previously recalled systems in MMDDYY format was 101497 (October 14, 1997) through 063009 (June 30, 2009). 

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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about “TOILETS”: 

Why is there sand in the bottom of my toilet tank?  

Why is there mold inside my toilet tank?    

What are the pros and cons of a wall-mounted toilet?

What are the minimum clearances around a toilet? 

What is the little tank on top of the water heater for? 

What is the white plastic tank inside my toilet tank?

• Can I install a commercial (wall-mounted flushometer) toilet in my home? 

Does a home inspector check toilets?

• What is the code required minimum height above a toilet? 

    Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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