An Expert’s Guide to Toilets
A close coupled toilet is where the toilet cistern is connected directly to the pan, i.e. no flush pipe between the cistern and pan. They look neater and more stylish, there are also fewer components to leak.
What is a Cloakroom toilet?
A cloakroom toilet is a smaller version of the standard size WC. These smaller versions are designed for use in more confined spaces, like your downstairs toilet (cloakroom). These small spaces can be used to their fullest potential - be compact but beautifully designed.
A back to wall (BTW) pan is where just the pan section of the toilet is visible in the bathroom. It is designed to be connected to a ‘concealed’ cistern (the bit that flushes). In most homes, it is usually installed within the WC base unit against which the BTW pan is fitted and sealed. The cistern can also be placed behind a false wall, like in most hotels.
Traditionally, a toilet seat consists of a hooped seating area and cover, typically white in colour and joined by a standard hinge. These old-style seats can be prone to free falling and banging on the seat pan. This can be very noisy, especially in the middle of the night, or if little hands are at work! If you have a heavy seat and lid, you also risk cracking the pan. So, the advantage of a soft close seat is self-explanatory, they have a built-in spring to enable the seat to slowly drop down, they come to a gentle close with very little noise and are unlikely to damage your loo.
A low-level flush toilet is one where the pan is connected to the cistern by a short flush pipe. This type of toilet is still available today but has waned in popularity due to production of the modern ‘close-coupled’ design. Looks aside, the advantage of low-level flush toilet is an all-around better flush. This is due to the cistern being a little higher, letting gravity do its job.
A high-level toilet is similar to the low-level flush, in that it has a flush pipe which connects to the cistern. The difference is that the ‘high-level cistern, as the name suggests, is mounted much higher up the wall. The added height makes for an excellent flush as the water has to fall further and picks up speed before reaching the pan. This traditional design still looks stylish in today’s bathrooms due to the high-quality chrome finish of the flush pipes.
A ‘comfort height toilet’ can either be of the close-coupled or the low flush type. The difference is that the pan is normally slightly higher than a standard pan. A standard height pan is normally around 400 to 420mm high, whereas ‘comfort height pans’ range from 440mm to 485mm high. The extra height helps reduce the amount of stress your joints experience when sitting down or getting up. Ultimately, this can aid a much better bathroom experience.
What is a push button flush?
A push button flush has replaced the more traditional side-mounted lever flush. It consists of one or two buttons situated on the top of the cistern. The two-button versions give the option of a half or full flush; this enables users to use less water if they choose to, which is both economical and environmentally friendly. It is also worth noting that the government has recently restricted the volume of water allowed within new cisterns to a maximum of 4.5 litres. This could mean that more than one full flush per use may be necessary. There are many designs available, including push buttons that stand proud of the cistern for ease of use for the visually impaired or for ease of use for the less able.
Why has the government reduced the amount of water that can be stored in a toilet cistern?
The government has recently reduced the amount of water held within new toilet cisterns to a maximum of 4.5 litres in an attempt to save water. Previously, the water content of a toilet cistern could be as much as 8 litres. A lot of wasted water when you think if how many loos are flushed across the country!
What is a lever flush?
A lever flush is usually recognised as the original, more traditional flush handle we all grew up with. Simply pushing down on the handle/paddle causes the mechanism to flush the water from the cistern into the pan. Some lever flushes have the option of half or full flush. This is usually achieved by simply flicking the lever for a half flush and by holding down the lever for a longer flush. A lever flush is traditionally fitted to low level and high-level WCs.
Traditionally many of us shoot vast amounts of bleach up under the rim of the toilet pan as this is where the majority of bacteria hide. To combat the need for this, manufacturers have now begun to produce toilets without a rim. This means that the area around which the flush water flows is easier to clean. The theory is that fewer germs will be able to congregate; thus, we will use less bleach and therefore pollute the planet less. This is excellent news for both users and the environment; designers also say the rimless design looks more aesthetically pleasing.