Have you ever wondered why some toilets have to be connected to a tank of water? Bathtubs and sinks are not attached to tanks. So, why does the toilet need one?
The reason is that a number of residential flush toilets function using a siphon – a tube at the bottom of the bowl fixture. Water entering into the toilet has to do so fast enough to fill the siphon tube so as to allow the water and any other thing in the bowl to be sucked through and pulled down the drain.
Most water supply lines in residential houses do not allow water to enter a toilet fast enough to activate the siphoning effect. Therefore, the tank offers a solution. When you flush your toilet, if it has a tank, the water held in the tank moves down with enough force to activate the siphon.
Minus that gallon or so of water getting into the bowl all at once, the water would simply spill over into the siphon tube and remain more or less level without creating an actual flush.
What is a Toilet without a Tank?
A toilet without a tank, also known as a tankless toilet, is any toilet that does not rely on a tank of water to clear content in its bowl. Instead, they receive water directly from a supply line at sufficient pressure that a single flush can carry the waste through the drainage system.
Tankless toilets are powered only by the force of water entering from the supply line. In buildings where water pressure is low, like most private homes, toilets without tanks can be fixed with pumps or other technologies that power the flush.
All urinals and a good number of public toilets are tankless. Also, you can find tankless toilets in some homes. These toilets range from low-tech units mainly used in urban apartments to high-tech futuristic models made for the dedicated toilet enthusiast.
Conventionally, a number of factors have hindered the widespread use of toilets without tanks in U.S. homes. Nonetheless, this may be changing. The popularity of these toilets is steadily growing, and it is projected to surpass the tank toilet one day.
How a Toilet Without a Tank Works
Comprehending how tankless toilets work needs a quick review of how tank-style toilets operate. Tank toilets are gravity-powered. The primary concept is that water is dumped into the bowl fast enough to trigger a siphon, which pulls the waste and water out of the bowl and into the drain line. Courtesy of this gravity-powered flush assistance, tank toilets can operate on water pressure as low as 10 pounds per square inch (psi).
A toilet without tank operate differently. They use almost the same amount of water as a tank toilet, but the water gets into the fixture at greater pressure. This is achieved by sending the water through the line at a higher rate of speed, though the size of the feed pipe is also a consideration.
Special Features of a Toilet Without a Tank
In case you are looking for a tankless toilet for your home, you will soon discover that there are several add-ons that can be fixed on them. For instance, a few models allow users to adjust the volume of water used in a flush based on the nature of the waste. You can select a normal flush for solids or a partial flush for liquid waste. This is a great feature that helps with water conservation.
Another great feature of high-performance tankless toilets is their beauty. They come in a sleek, modern design that occupies less space – and is less noticeable – compared to tank-style toilets. Also, they can be much quieter than tank-style toilets.
Tankless toilets come with the following comfort features:
• Hands-free automatic flushing
• Air purification systems
• Warm air dryers
• Spray massage
• Heated seats
• Personal cleansing
Conventionally, luxury add-ons and looks were the main motivation for purchasing a performance toilet. Nowadays, space-saving is a big motivation, with water conservation coming in at a close second.
Let’s have a look at the water-saving potential of tankless and other toilet models.
Water Conservation With Toilets Without Tanks
Toilets are the greatest water guzzlers in many U.S. homes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, toilets account for approximately 30% of indoor water usage at homes, taking down about 25 to 30 gallons (95 to 114 litres) per day per person. This is the equivalent of around 10,000 gallons (37,800 litres) of water per person per year.
These days, homeowners are keen to conserve water, and toilets without tanks have come in handy.
In the first half of the 20th century, toilets consumed at least 5 gallons (19 litres) of water per flush (GPF). Today, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends that residential toilets consume no more than 1.6 gpf (6 litres).
Manufacturers of toilets are searching for ways to minimize flush volumes even further. The latest technology available on toilets without tanks allows for light flush modes of about 1 gallon per flush or less.
A Toilet Without Tank in a Commercial Building
Toilets without tanks, which includes urinals, are the most common type of toilet found in public restrooms. A large number of these units function using a valve, which is metered with either a diaphragm or piston. The valve is designed to shut automatically after completing a flush cycle. Therefore, there is no computer or other technology that regulates the operation.
In the space of plumbing, conventional flush valve tankless-styled toilets are considered low-tech yet reliable workhorses. Nonetheless, there can be some extent of user control with these devices. For a number of models, building owners can make minor adjustments to flush volumes, though they must comply with the national standards for water usage if they are in the United States.
Also, a number of features can enhance the performance of a flush valve toilet in commercial settings, including hands-free flush technologies and water conservation devices.
A Toilet Without Tank in an Urban Apartment
A toilet without a tank in a residential setting that relies on flush valve technology is essentially the same as those in public toilets. Nonetheless, these toilets are less common in homes because of their high water pressure requirement. An exception is New York City, where many residential toilets are typically identical to the flush valve style of toilets found in public settings.
The main reason for having a toilet without a tank in New York and other big cities is space-saving. For New York, apartments built before the 1930s were fitted with high-tank toilets. Since the tank did not sit behind the toilet bowl, designers did not allow for the extra space to accommodate them.
Based on this design layout, bathrooms in most pre-1930s apartments do not have room for both a bowl and a tank.