Although we have done nearly 8,000 home inspections over the years, yesterday was the first time we came across a flushometer toilet in a residence. The one shown above is in a home designed by a mid-century modern architect who thought it was suitable for his personal residence. Unfortunately, the toilet has a problem: water pressure at all other plumbing fixtures in the home collapsed for about 15 seconds after each flush.
But first, some history. The flushometer valve was invented by William Sloan, of the Sloan Valve Company, in the early 20th century, and is used in literally millions of commercial and institutional restrooms around the world. It is a very dependable product. While the valve eliminates the need for a tank to generate the necessary volume of water for a flush, it requires larger-diameter water piping, both the service piping from the meter to the house and supply piping to the toilet, in order to work properly.
Many homes do not have the size piping required for the valve to function properly without starving other fixtures in the home, and that was the case in this house. But, according to our plumber James Freeman, of J.W. Freeman plumbing, it is still possible to successfully retrofit a commercial toilet in your home. “We have been able to help this type of toilet function better when the water meter from the city was too small by installing a small bladder tank nearby in a closet or attic," according to James. "This gives the volume it needs for the high water flow.”
There is also the option of installing a wall mount toilet with an in-wall tank instead of a flushometer valve. For more on this, see our blog post What are the pros and cons of a wall-mounted toilet?
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about PLUMBING:
• How can I protect my pipes to keep them from bursting during a hard winter freeze in North Florida?
• Why is the vacuum breaker at my hose faucet leaking, gushing water, or making funny sounds?
• What are the code requirements for plumbing vent terminations?
• What are the code requirements for layout of drain piping under sinks?
• Why is there sand in the bottom of my toilet tank?
• What causes a gurgling sound when a bathtub or sink drains?
• Are drop-in toilet bowl cleaner tablets safe?
• What can I add to my septic tank to help it work better?
• Why is there mold inside my toilet tank?
• Which plumbing fixtures require water shut off valves in a home?
• How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank system or sewer?
• Are plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, and PEX) safe for drinking water?
• Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems?
• How can I locate my septic tank?
• Is a hot water faucet handle required to be on the left?
• Can you live in a house while the plumbing is being replaced?
• Why is the European-style bottle trap not approved by the plumbing codes in the U.S.?
• Why can't PVC be used for water pipe inside a house?
• What are the common problems to look for when the plumbing has been replaced in a house?
• What's that powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?
• How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?
• What causes low water pressure in a house?
• Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor when my septic tank backs up into the house?
• How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?
• What are the pipes on my roof?
• Should I wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket?
• My water bill went way up last month. How do I look for a leak?
• Why does the water have a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?
• What is an "S-Trap" under my sink? Why is it a problem?
• Where is the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it?
• What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem?
• Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable?
• Does a home inspector check the plumbing under the floor slab?
• Is it alright to disconnect the washing machine drain from the septic tank and divert it to the ground in the yard?
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.