Toilets are part of our everyday life, and we only really think of how they work when they stop working! Here at Webb’s Select-A-Service, we think about toilets and septic tanks more than the average person, and that’s what makes us people’s go-to plumber in Altonah.

In today’s blog post, we’ll share some of our expertise with you by providing a general overview of how toilets work. Most toilets work in generally the same way, and the differences that come into play between systems is due to the way certain manufacturers choose to build their parts. Continue reading to learn more and if you’re in need of septic tank pumping to keep that toilet working properly, contact Webb’s Select-A-Service in Altonah today!

The Toilet Bowl and P-Trap

We’re all familiar with the toilet bowl — it’s the reservoir of water with the open bowl above to gather and funnel waste. The P-trap, however, is a piece of toilet construction you may be less familiar with. It is a trap formed into the bowl itself and bends either toward the front or the back of the bowl. It’s important because this trap allows water to be held in the bowl when the bowl is full, but also allows the water to flow freely into the drain when you flush.

When the bowl is filled with water, it is primed to flush. The water is at the top of the p-trap and the bowl will not hold more than this amount of water (unless it is clogged or you have a septic backup). There are two important reasons to hold water in the bowl. The first is to hold back any sewer gas within the pipes. The water is essentially a seal against these bad odors. The other reason is because that water is what allows the flush to be more powerful.

The Toilet Tank

The tank of the toilet is a reservoir of water that is released when the toilet is flushed. The tank must be set directly onto and above the bowl. Toilet tanks can be mounted higher on the wall or within the wall behind the toilet, if you do not like having it in sight. The water within the tank is used to flush the toilet, and must be elevated because the force of gravity is part of what helps expel the waste. After flushing the toilet, you can hear the bowl refilling with water, getting prepared for the next use. If you’ve had to flush multiple times in a row, you may have had to wait for the toilet tank to fill completely.

The Flush and Fill Valves

If you’ve had a problem with your toilet before, you’ve most likely opened up the toilet tank lid and looked inside. Within the tank there are two essential valves, the fill valve, and the flush valve. A trip lever initiates the flush cycle involving these two valves, and it is the lever found outside the tank. These valves are what allow water to be released from the tank and for the tank to be refilled after flushing. Inside the tank, you will also find the flush ball, which helps regulate the amount of water that fills the tank. All of these pieces must be functioning in concert if the toilet is to work properly.

Toilets and Septic System

Your toilet is your visual connection to your septic system! If you’re having problems with your toilet, it may be a sign that you have problems with your septic system. Ask yourself, “when was the last time I had a septic tank pumping?” If you can’t remember, it’s a good idea to call up Webb’s and have our plumbers take a look! We’ll let you know whether septic tank pumping is necessary or if you simply have a problem with your toilet.

Webb’s Select-A-Service Altonah

We don’t expect everyone to get as excited about how toilets work as we do, but we’re always happy to answer any of your questions about how to properly maintain your plumbing, including your septic system! Learn more on our septic tank pumping page and contact us today for inspection, maintenance, and regular septic tank pumping. Along with septic tank services, we also specialize in drain cleaning. Learn more and get in touch for all your plumbing needs!