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Flushometer valves guide: what is a flushometer valve, where and how are they used on toilets (water closets) and urinals, how is the flushometer valve installed, what kind of water pressure and flow does a flushometer valve need to work properly, and what diameter water supply piping is required. What goes wrong with flushometer valves and their installations: troubleshooting inadequate flush water, too much flush water, noisy or leaky flushometer valves. We also introduce and recommend use of waterless urinals.
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Flushometer Valves Used on Toilets, Water Closets, Urinals: troubleshooting, installation, diagnosis, repair advice
Question: Installing a pressurized system & Flushometer Valve Toilets & Urinals on a Well & Pump Water Supply System
I have a well system at a marina and would like to install commercial flushometer toilets and urinals. It is old and is currently served by a standard residential system.
I have space above the rest rooms and would like to install a stand alone pressurized system that is fed by the existing residential system, but would provide the gpm and pressure to function the commercial units. Likely to be a total of 3 toilets and two urinals.
Any ideas or plans available? Thanks, Bill
Reply: Be sure that your well water supply system, pressure tank, pressure, and water supply piping diameter & flow rate can support flushometer valves; consider waterless urinal fixtures.
Bill, there is no technical reason why one could not install flushometer type toilets and urinals at a property served by a standard pump and well system, but the cost and trouble may be more than first meets the eye. Where we find flushometer type toilets and urinals installed it's usually at a building served by municipal water supply and employing larger diameter water supply piping than the 1/2" pipe usually found at residential type properties.
Take a look at the flushometer valves produced by Sloane (William Sloane was the inventor of the flush-o-meter valve in 1906), Kohler, or Sloane-Regal for examples of these controls and to check out the required supply water flow rates. A properly-adjusted flush-o-meter valve uses about 1/6 gallons per flush.
That's why the standard water supply pipe diameter to the fixture is 1 1/4" rather than the common 1/2" or 3/4" water supply piping found in residential and light commercial buildings using conventional tank-type toilets.
Flushometer Valve Installation Notes
Watch out: Be sure to obtain and follow the installation instructions for the specific brand and model of flushometer valve you are installing. Links to several flushometer valve manufacturers and their installation guides are provided below at References.
Proper Flushometer vacuum breaker valve location height
For proper flushometer and plumbing fixture operation, the flushometer vacuum breaker must be a minimum of six inches (6") above the highest part of the plumbing fixture that it serves.
Flushometer Toilet (water closet) or Urinal Valve Troubleshooting & Adjustment Advice
Our photo (left) shows a flushometer valve operating a toilet in a single family residential home in Poughkeepsie, NY. You'll notice that the piping supplying this flushometer valve is larger in diameter than the common 1/2" or 3/4" diameter water piping used in one family homes.
Water Closet (toilet) or Urinal Flushometer valve does not flush - does not send water into the appliance
No Flush Water or Inadequate Volume of Flush Water at Toilet (water closet) or Urinal with a Flushometer Valve
Sloane Regal defines an inadequate volume of flush water as "inadequate volume of water to siphon the fixture" - that is, to cause the waste in the fixture to be totally evacuated [and in our opinion the working sides of the fixture to be washed down for aesthetic reasons]. 
At least some of the flushometer valve specifications that we reviewed, particularly from Sloan-Regal and others listed below, are capable of operating satisfactorily at a water flush volume at (an average of) 1.6 gallons or 6 liters per flush, at a flowing water pressure of 25 psi (172kPa).
The requirement for this flowing water pressure and volume for satisfactory flushometer valve operation and toilet or urinal flushing explains our earlier comments about the practice of supplying flushometer-operated toilets and urinals with 1 1/4" water piping.
We have arranged the flushometer valve diagnosis and repair instructions in this order no flush water, too little flush water because flush time is too short, and too little flush water for other reasons, problems with over-flushing volume or time, and other flushometer problems such as noises or leaks.
No flush water for the toilet or urinal
Too-short flush cycle for toilet or urinal - flush water flow rate seems adequate but too brief
Inadequate volume or rate of flush water: If the flush volume is inadequate at the toilet or urinal you may be able to correct the problem by
How to Determine if Water Pressure is Adequate at a Flushometer-Toilet or Urinal
Regal gives an interesting procedure for cases in which you are unable to measure the water supply pressure at the plumbing fixture. The flushometer valve is opened, the relief valve is removed from the internal parts, and the flushometer is reassembled without those parts in place. The flushometer water flow control stop is opened to its wide-open position. If the fixture siphons, that is it flushes, more water volume is needed. The manufacturer describes how to change-out internal parts or make other adjustments to the flushometer valve to obtain adequate water flow and pressure to adequately flush or siphon the urinal or water closet.  
Watch out: adjusting the flushometer valve to use a greater volume of water per flush may provide satisfactory water closet or urinal flushing but at the expense of violating water consumption limitations required by local or other plumbing codes in your area. "Low Consumption Water Fixtures" regulations require that the toilet (water closet) use not more than 1.6 gallons per flush and urinals not more than 1.0 gallons per flush.
If none of the steps above cause the toilet or urinal to siphon (flush out its contents successfully) then you will need to take one of the steps we list below to improve water pressure and volume.
If you cannot obtain a satisfactory flush by increasing the flushometer water volume per flush, or if you are trying to obtain a more aggressive and cleansing flush without significantly increasing the volume of water consumed you may want to consider the steps below:
Flushometer Valve Sends Too Much Water into the Toilet or Urinal or Flushes for Too Long a Time
Watch out: cleaning the bypass orifice of a flushometer valve should be done gently so as not to enlarge the factory-set diameter of the part. Soak a mineral-corroded part in vinegar and gently brush it with a soft brush like a toothbrush. Or just replace the part. If you gouge or otherwise damage the bypass orifice the flushometer will no longer work properly.
Leaks at the Flushometer Valve or Flushometer Handle
Inspecting bathrooms in several countries including the U.S., Mexico, Morocco, France, and Italy we have often seen leaks at the flushometer valve handle and we suspect this is the most common leak source. Other leaks around water supply piping or flushometer connections are also found on occasions due to sloppy workmanship. Regal points out three common causes of flushometer handle leaks:
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