Pimp my potty
July 23, 2007 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I want to fear my toilet. Have a seat and grab the sports section while I explain.

My neighbor's toilet was, and mine is, the kind where you have to be really careful what you try to flush, as the water swirls down the drain very beautifully, softly, and ineffectually. They had a plumber come and "do something" to theirs, and apparently now you could lose a shoe in there if you're not careful, and the kids are so afraid of the sound that after they flush they run away holding their hands over their ears. It's like a jet engine.

I want this. Anyone know what the plumber did? Anyone know if I could do it myself, with very modest handyman skills?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
He could have increased the flow rate by increasing the amount of water in the cistern. A bigger "head" of water should give you a more powerful flush.

Depending on what your cistern insides look like, there is a pipe that comes up from the base, with a screw on the top. Slacken the screw to allow more water in, but do it slowly and gently. You'll know if you're going the right way by whether water enters the cistern or not - it will do if you're doing it correctly.

If you aren't sure of what your doing, get someone in. It's unlikely you'll flood your bathroom, but it's possible.
posted by Rabulah at 1:03 PM on July 23, 2007

Sounds like a pressure-assisted toilet.
posted by adamrice at 1:25 PM on July 23, 2007

Sounds like you have a low-flow commode: the Toilet That Makes You Flush Twice! Mandated in new home construction since 1995, low-flow toilets use a 1.6 gallons per flush, in contrast to the older toilets that could flush away up to 7 gallons of water at a go (OK, 7 gallons was in the 1950s, by the 1980s, most toilets flushed away approximately 3.5 gallons).

Everyone hates them, but there you go.

Plumbers have devised several tricks to get around the double-flush problem. Some of these modifications DO NOT MEET CODE and MAY BE ILLEGAL. That said, there are things you can do to increase that giant sucking sound that scares the kids.

Rabulah notes that increasing the amount of water in the cistern will increase the amount of flush, and while that is true, it won't make the waste water drain any faster. One way to do that is with a larger-diameter drain line, a potentially demoralizing and smelly home-improvement job best left to the pros, unless you know what you are doing. Alternatively, a power-assist or pressurized tank will do the same thing, and it won't use any more water than normal, but these can be expensive and tricky to install, and how well they function depends largely on the existing water pressure in the line.

If you have an older commode that you are sure is not a new-fangled low-flush model, it may be that your drain line is partially clogged. You can snake the line yourself with either a hand-cranked snake (affordable, and you should own one anyway) or you can rent a power snake if you have a really long line or a particularly stubborn clog.

So, yeah, you should probably call a plumber.

Here's a PDF on low-flow toilet technology that might be helpful.

On preview: damn, I'm long-winded.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:32 PM on July 23, 2007

You don't need to hack your current toilet. I take it you don't want the noise, per se, but the effectiveness that corresponds to the noise.

What you need is a new toilet. New toilets are surprisingly high tech and very effective, even if they are low flow models. And a new installation can be done with basic handyman skills.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:59 PM on July 23, 2007

Check this out - toilet reviews. Covers low flow standard, pressure assist, etc.
posted by true at 2:11 PM on July 23, 2007

I just remodeled my house and replaced both of my toilets. Both of them are Toto toilets. They are different models, but they both use the same flushing technology (I think it is the G-Max). They are magnificent. They are light-years better than the toilets they replaced.
posted by bove at 2:18 PM on July 23, 2007

The newer low-flow toilets are vastly superior to the ones from 10+ years ago when they were first mandated. I have been impressed with my new $50 toilet, so a $200 toilet should blow your mind.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 2:20 PM on July 23, 2007

I just love those jet flush toilets!
posted by DieHipsterDie at 3:10 PM on July 23, 2007

Yeah, but do you really want one next to your bedroom?
posted by bink at 4:13 PM on July 23, 2007

Why don't you ask your neighbor who the plumber is - and then call and ask?
posted by eleyna at 4:16 PM on July 23, 2007

You're looking for the FLUSHMATE. A pressurized tank holds air that becomes compressed when water is added. To flush, another valve is opened and the air expands, forcing out a jet of water.

But don't hack the FLUSHMATE. Too much pressure and it could explode, sending porcelain shrapnel everywhere.
posted by reeddavid at 6:04 PM on July 23, 2007

Pressure assisted is neat, as it uses a LOT less water and gets the job done. More water != better flush. Also, no running sound after the initial KERSWOOSH.
posted by TomMelee at 6:08 PM on July 23, 2007

You could try attacking the problem from the other ... end.
posted by rob511 at 6:20 PM on July 23, 2007

the kids are so afraid of the sound that after they flush they run away holding their hands over their ears

I don't have an answer for you but this is hilarious. This is exactly how I feel when I have to use the head on an airplane. I'm 27 years old, travel frequently, and still, every single time, the airplane toilet's powerful flush scares the ever living daylight out of me. Seriously. I have goosebumps and shudders just now thinking about it.
posted by Brittanie at 12:53 AM on July 25, 2007

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