How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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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. Here’s a closer view of the label on top of the Flushmate, below.
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