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Toilets 101: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Toilet


Toilets rank with some of the most essential items in your home. Choosing the right one might seem simple at first, but once you start shopping, you'll notice there's a lot more to it. Color and cost matter, as does water conservation and flush power. And depending on who'll be using them, you might even want different models in different bathrooms.

Here's what to check out before making up your mind.

Toilet Bowl Height

Opinions vary, but 14, 15, or 16 inches above the floor is considered a standard bowl height. Taller bowls, sometimes called "comfort" models, are 17 to 19 inches off the ground and have gained popularity in recent years; they can be an excellent choice for seniors and others with limited mobility. Consider sitting on the model you like before buying it to make sure it's the right height for you.

Different Toilet Bowl Shapes

Round-front bowls were once the only shape you could buy. Then elongated, or pear-shaped models came along with several additional inches of space in the front of the toilet. Be sure to measure the area the toilet will be placed in before choosing the larger version as they can take up an additional two inches of space over a round bowl.

Flush Types

Who knew there were so many ways to flush?

  • Gravity-fedmodels use natural force to dump water from the tank into the toilet bowl creating a siphoning action that swooshes waste down into the sewer line.
  • Pressure-assistedversions have sealed internal tanks that fill with water and build up air pressure. When you flush, the force of the water completes the job.
  • Power-assistedtoilets use a small electric motor to introduce air pressure into the sealed tank.
  • High-efficiencymodelsgenerate powerful flushes with a minimum volume of water and can use any type of flushing action.
  • Dual-flush toiletsare water-efficient models that use different volumes of water for flushes. You choose a different flush mechanism for each action.

Design Choices

There are three main toilet design options:

  1. Solid or partial footdesigns indicate how much of the bowl is in direct contact with the floor, with solid foot bowls extending all the way to the wall.
  2. Wall mount modelsattach directly to the wall with the tank concealed inside a wall cavity. This is a perfect choice if you want more usable floor space or the toilet will be in a tight area.
  3. Tankless toilets are directly connected to a water supply line that helps clear waste. If your home lacks the water pressure to clear the bowl, pumps or other devices can be installed to help.

Seating Options and Lid Control

Comfort is important, of course, but there are other options to consider. Heated and bidet-style seats are "smart" options that some homeowners are choosing. But one of the best features you can get is a slamless lid that closes gently and quietly, a nice consideration in the middle of the night, and safer for small children and their tiny fingers.

Keep these tips in mind as you shop for your perfect toilet, and you won't be disappointed. To learn more about toilet options or to schedule routine plumbing maintenance, give David Gray Plumbing in Jacksonville, FL a call today at (904) 605-8190 or contact us online.