Toilet Flush Volume
How much water is used during a toilet flush
How to determine how much water a toilet uses at each flush
TOILET FLUSH VOLUME - CONTENTS: How to calculate or measure the water volume used when a toilet is flushed. What are standard toilet flush volumes? How much water is used when a water-saving toilet is flushed?
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Flush volume of water used in toilets:
This article explains how to calculate or measure the water volume used when a toilet is flushed. We also give standard toilet flush volumes? How much water is used when a water-saving toilet is flushed?
This article series describes the different types and models of toilets: historical or old toilet types, wooden high wall-tank toilets, conventional reservoir tank toilets, low-flush toilets, water saving toilets, back-flush toilets, up-flush toilets, and even chemical toilets. Here we explain how to diagnose and repair problems with toilets, leaks, flushes, odors, noises, running and wasted water.
When water-saving toilets were first introduced in the 1980s, they reduced water usage from 5 to 6 gallons per flush (gpf) to 3.5 with little effect on performance.
However, when Congress mandated in 1992 that manufacturers had two years to reduce water usage to 1.6 gpf, the engineering challenges were much greater.
Most early toilet models were essentially 3.5 gallon designs hastily modified with smaller tanks and narrower trapways intended to increase the flow rate. Most did not work well and required two and sometimes three flushes, negating much of the benefit to water conservation.
How to Calculate the Flush Volume of an Installed Toilet
Reader Question: 12/16/2014 Anonymous said:
Is there a way to quickly identify the gallons per flush of commercial toilets (flushometer style) without taking them apart or metering flow? I know most newer toilets list the rate on the back of the bowl, but I’m not sure all do and older models do not. So, how do you know if you have an older 3.5 gpf (or more) unit or a newer 1.6 that just isn’t marked?
Reply: how to calculate toilet flush volume
If the toilet has no manufacturer's brand or model number we're in the dark on what it's doing for flush quantity. Worse, depending on the toilet's age, its flush mechanisms may have been modified from original, so a factory spec may not apply anyway.
Flush volume also may vary from one flush to the next depending on the cistern or tank fill rate and flush frequency.
How to calculate toilet tank volume, flush volume, in-fill volume
For a reasonable approximation of the toilet flush quantity, measure the internal dimensions of the tank. If we're lucky the tank is roughly rectangular. You want to measure the tank width and breadth. But for depth, measure just from the tank bottom to the top of water after the cistern has re-filled and the fill valve has stopped operating.
Calculate the toilet cistern or tank volume in inches:
Width X Depth X Water_Height = TTWV Cu-In = Toilet Tank Water Volume in cubc inches.
If you are in the U.S., convert the cubic inches to gallons by dividing:
Tank Water Volume (U.S. Gallons) = TTWV Cu-In / 231
That's the tank "full" volume.
If the tank is not absolutely square you can make some approximate adjustments to width or depth or height to get reasonably close. If the toilet tank is an oval we'd need to use a different formula for volume, or we'd take a simpler approach as follows.
How to estimate the volume of non-rectangular toilet tanks
Turn off water supply to the toilet.
Note the normal "full" level of water height in the tank.
Flush the toilet and hold the flush lever until the toilet is fully empty.
Using a container of known size such as a measuring cup. Pour water into the toilet tank, counting cups, until the tank has been filled to its full-line. Calculate the tank water volume as follows:
Tank Water Volume (U.S. Gallons) = Number of measuring cups / 16
Flush the toilet and watch what happens.
IF the tank empties fully before the tank flapper valve closes then the "full" volume is also the "flush" volume.
Subtract volume left at end of flush
IF the toilet tank flush valve closes BEFORE the tank has emptied fully then you need to note the depth of water in the tank, calculate that volume and subtract it from the "full" volume to get the "flush" volume. Also with the in-flow during-flush water volume I already explained.
Add fill-during-flush water volume
Actually I'm lying a little. Because the toilet fill valve will start sending water into the tank as soon as the flush starts, the true flush volume is a bit more than the tank volume. You'd need to catch that fill water for an interval - say a minute - and measure the volume entering the tank and multiply that by time that the flush valve sent water into the tank during the flush - before the flapper closed. You'd add that volume to the "full" or "flush" volume if you wanted to be more accurate.
Continue reading at TOILET REPAIR GUIDE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Or see TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR. This toilet buy, install or repair guide article series discusses the cause, diagnosis, and repair of toilet problems (water closet problems) such as a toilet that does not flush well, clogged toilets, slow-filling toilets, running toilets, loose wobbly toilets, and odors at leaky toilets.
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"Story: Rock, limestone and clay Part of page 8 – Ceramics and pottery ", TEARA, The Enyclopedia of New Zealand, Video retrieved 9/18/14, original source: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/video/5254/clay-toilets, Te Ara, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, PO Box 5364, Wellington, New Zealand, Tel: +64 4 499 4229, Email: TeAra@mch.govt.nz
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OSHA toilet standards: OSHA's sanitation standard for general industry, 29 CFR 1910.141(c)(l)(i), specifies that employers shall provide toilet facilities for their employees. Web-search 5/10/12, original source:
 Toilet Manufacturers' Product literature or websites were consulted for the following:
American Standard brand toilets (illustrated in this article), includes these additional plumbing fixture & component brands: Jade, Porcher (see below), Crane Plumbing, Eljer, Fiat, American StandardsProSite, Safety Tubs, http://www.americanstandard-us.com/
Atlas International brand toilets, Atlas USA, http://atlasusa.net/
Glacier Bay brand toilets, [Home Depot brand] porcelain, made in china, top flush control low-water ADA-height unit shown in this article. Cf. Globe Union Industrial Company of Canada, China, elsewhere. Also see Pegasus, Danze, Gerber. Glacier Bay Faucets and sanitaryware,
2455 Paces Ferry Road NW,
.Atlanta, Ga. 30339-4024,
Hastings Tile & Bath toilets, includes "hatbox" and wall mount sinks, bidets, & toilets, 30 Commercial Street Freeport, N. Y. 11520, Tel: (516) 379-3500. http://www.hastingstilebath.com,
Herbeau Creations brand toilets, Herbeau Creations of America
3600 Westview Drive
Naples, FL 34104, Tel: (800) 547-1608, (since 1857), http://www.herbeau.com/Products.aspx?Item=5501
Inax brand toilets, 15 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011, Tel: 855-823-4434, http://www.inax-usa.com/gallery-ny/
Neo-Metro Collection brand toilets, Neo-Metro
15125 Proctor Ave
City of Industry CA 91746
U.S.A, Tel: 800.591.9050, Website: http://www.neo-metro.com
Panasonic brand toilets, (e.g. Panasonic toilet bowl with warm water flush system for washing user beauty cabinet de toilette W moment-type pearl ivory DL-WD60-CP; also the Zaraku portable toilet - http://ex-blog.panasonic.co.jp/exhibition/en/2008/09/hcr08_400.html)
Porcher brand toilets, originally a French brand, acquired by American Standard Companies in 1992, Website: http://www.porcher-us.com/
ProFlo brand toilets (e.g. Proflo PFCT 103WH)
Rapsel brand toilets,RAPSEL Spa
Via Volta 13 - 20019 Settimo Milanese (MI), Italy
Tel. 0039 02 3355981 Fax. 0039 02 33501306, Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org Italian company, offices in Milan & New York, Website: http://www.rapsel.it/ or in the U.S. http://rapsel.wordpress.com/
Samuel Heath brand toilets, US & UK, USA Customer Service
111 E. 39th St. 2R
Tel: 212 599 5177,
UK Head Office
Samuel Heath & Sons plc
Tel: +44 121 766 4200,
Email: email@example.comWebsite: http://www.samuel-heath.com/
St. Thomas Creations brand toilets, St. Thomas Creations
3A South Middlesex Avenue
Monroe Township, New Jersey 08831 USA,
Tel. (800) 536-BATH (800-536-2284)
Fax (609) 655- 2421, Email: E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.stthomascreations.com/
Toto brand toilets (e.g. Toto Drake CST744S, Neorest Hybrid, ) Brazil & USA, TOTO USA, INC.
1155 Southern Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260,
Tel: 888-295-8134, Tel: 1-888-295-8134, Email:
email@example.com, Website: http://www.totousa.com
Villeroy & Boch Bath & Kitchen brand toilets, International, offices in Canada, Mexico, United States, Villeroy & Boch AG
P.O. Box 1120
D 66688 Mettlach, Phone +49 (0) 68 64 - 81 - 0, Website: http://www.villeroy-boch.com/, Company founded 1748.
VitrA USA brand toilets, International, Brazil?, USA contact: Shawnee North Business Center
305 Shawnee North Drive Suite 600
Phone : +1 770 904 68 30
Fax : +1 770 904 68 91
www.vitra-usa.com, Website: http://usa.vitra.com.tr/
Whitehaus Collection brand toilets, Whitehaus Collection - 589 Boston Post Rd. West Haven, CT 06516 USA, Tel: 800.527.6690, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://whitehauscollection.com
 Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative.
"Flush Toilet", web search 5/10/12, original source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flush_toilet#Tank_style_with_flapper-flush-valve
"Japanese bidet toilet", web search 5/13/12, original source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_toilets
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Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual [online copy, free] Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm Onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems,
Richard J Otis, published by the US EPA. Although it's more than 20 years old, this book remains a useful reference for septic system designers.
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Manual of Septic Tank Practice, US Public Health Service's 1959.
Onsite Wastewater Disposal, R. J. Perkins;
Quoting from Amazon: This practical book, co-published with the National Environmental Health Association,
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Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, Bennette D. Burks, Mary Margaret Minnis, Hogarth House 1994 - one of the best septic system books around, suffering a bit from small fonts and a weak index. While it contains some material more technical than needed by homeowners, Burks/Minnis book on onsite wastewater treatment systems a very useful reference for both property owners and septic system designers.
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf
Septic System Owner's Manual, Lloyd Kahn, Blair Allen, Julie Jones, Shelter Publications, 2000 $14.95 U.S. - easy to understand, well illustrated, one of the best practical references around on septic design basics including some advanced systems; a little short on safety and maintenance. Both new and used (low priced copies are available, and we think the authors are working on an updated edition--DF.
Quoting from one of several Amazon reviews: The basics of septic systems, from underground systems and failures to what the owner can do to promote and maintain a healthy system, is revealed in an excellent guide essential for any who reside on a septic system. Rural residents receive a primer on not only the basics; but how to conduct period inspections and what to do when things go wrong. History also figures into the fine coverage.
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm
Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook, R. Dodge Woodson. This book is in the upper price range, but is worth the cost for serious septic installers and designers.
Quoting Amazon: Each year, thousands upon thousands of Americans install water wells and septic systems on their properties. But with a maze of codes governing their use along with a host of design requirements that ensure their functionality where can someone turn for comprehensive, one-stop guidance? Enter the Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook from McGraw-Hill.
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Wells and Septic Systems, Alth, Max and Charlet, Rev. by S. Blackwell Duncan, $ 18.95; Tab Books 1992. We have found this text very useful for conventional well and septic systems design and maintenance --DF.
Quoting an Amazon description:Here's all the information you need to build a well or septic system yourself - and save a lot of time, money, and frustration. S. Blackwell Duncan has thoroughly revised and updated this second edition of Wells and Septic Systems to conform to current codes and requirements. He also has expanded this national bestseller to include new material on well and septic installation, water storage and distribution, water treatment, ecological considerations, and septic systems for problem building sites.
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