There are many components that make the toilet work. If you take off the cover of the tank and peek inside, you will see many parts. They may look a little different depending on your specific toilet, but they are all available in one form or another.
The three main systems that work together are the bowl siphon, the flush mechanism, and the refill mechanism. Each system is made up of many interconnected parts. Let’s look at each part separately before we see how they all work together.
At its basic level, the toilet can be divided into two parts: the tank and the cup. The bottom of your toilet is called the cup. If you look at your toilet bowl, you will see a depression or hole in the back of the bowl. There is another small hole in the back of this depression.
The small hole and tube that runs away from it is called the bowl siphon and is the most important part of the toilet. If you look at your toilet from the side, depending on the model, you can see the shape of the siphon. It starts low, rises high, forms a U-shaped curve, and then falls off the floor.
In front of this depression, sometimes there is another hole under the edge of the depression called siphon jet. The tank is the top of your toilet and contains many other important components. Outside the tank, of course, is the handle. If you remove the cover from the tank, you will see that the handle activates a chain that attaches to the plastic lid. This lid is called a flush valve and prevents water from flowing into the bowl.
The tank also has a filler float or ball float. It is easily recognizable that it looks like a ball and floats on water in a tank. You can also see that the filler float is connected to a pipe-like device called a refill mechanism. Now that we know what all the dukes are officially called, let’s see how they work.
If you put a cup of water in your toilet bowl, you will see that the water level rises only temporarily. As the water in the bowl rises, so does the water in the siphon. As the water level rises above the curve in the siphon, excess water is released and the water level in the bowl remains stable.
However, if you throw a bucket of water into a bowl, something different will happen. The toilet will actually flush itself. This large amount of water will completely fill the siphon tube, causing the siphon to kick the action and get the rest of the water out of the bowl. This is the foundation that lets you get gas out of your car’s tank. Once the suction liquid starts to flow, it completely removes the bowl.
Once the cup is empty, air enters the siphon tube, making a familiar gurgling sound, and stopping the siphon process. This bowl siphon is the first of three mechanisms that work the toilet.
The purpose of the toilet tank is to act like the bucket of water described in the previous section. You need to get the water in the cup fast enough to activate the siphon. If you try to do this using a normal water pipe, the water will not fill the bowl so fast and the siphon will never start. Therefore, it serves as a tank storage facility. It holds several gallons of water in reserve. When you flush, the stored water is quickly thrown into the bowl, equivalent to pouring it into a bucket of water.
This is where the flush mechanism comes in. There is a chain attached to the handle at the edge of the tank. When you press the handle, it pulls the chain. The chain lifts the flush valve, indicating a groove. The water immediately starts coming out of this hole. In most toilets, water enters the bowl through the rim and some of it escapes through the side holes.
But, the majority will go down to a big hole in the bottom of the bowl. This hole is known as a siphon jet. It leaves most of the water directly into the siphon tube. Because it only takes three seconds for all the water in the tank to enter the bowl, it activates the siphoning effect, and all the water and waste in the bowl is expelled.
Once the tank is empty, the flush valve floats and covers the drain hole to refill the tank. It then takes over the refilling process and fills the tank with enough water to restart the process.
The refill mechanism consists of a valve that turns the water on and off. When the filler float falls, as soon as the water comes out of the tank, the valve turns on. The filler valve sends water in two directions. Some water goes down the refill tube and starts refilling the tank.
The rest of the overflow tube goes down into the bowl. It fills the bowl slowly (so that the siphon action does not resume). As the water level in the tank rises, so does the filler. When the tank is full, the filler float signals the refill valve to shut off, the water stops flowing and your toilet is ready for it.