Ask a plumber

Low-profile toilet concerns

 
 
Water-saving toilets can still be low-profile and have flushing power, thanks to an assisted flushing system. Shown here is the San Raphael low profile toilet from Kohler.
Water-saving toilets can still be low-profile and have flushing power, thanks to an assisted flushing system. Shown here is the San Raphael low profile toilet from Kohler.
HANDOUT / Kohler

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Q: We have an old water-guzzling toilet with a low-profile toilet tank that needs to be replaced. Since we have a built-in shelf just above the tank lid, we need to install a new toilet with a very short tank as well. But, I’ve heard that the new water saving low-profile toilets lack flushing power because of the short tank, and the reduced amount of water. Can you please address this issue?

Jack, California

A: A toilet is one of the most used plumbing fixtures in a home. Switching over to a high-efficiency toilet is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of water. New high-efficiency toilets have been redesigned to flush with increased power, but use less than 1.3 gallons per flush.

The extra flushing power can come from taller toilet tanks that generate more “head pressure” for a faster flush, or “assisted flushing systems” can also be used to make less water flush with more power. So, if you’re looking for a water-saving low-profile toilet, I would look for one that operates with the new “pressure vessel” technology.

Pressure vessel flushing systems store air pressure and water inside a closed vessel located under the toilet tank lid. When this type of toilet is flushed, the compressed air pressure helps deliver the extra flushing power.

Bottom line: Even with a low-profile toilet, with an assisted flushing system you can still get a high-profile flush.

Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of “Ed Del Grande’s House Call.” Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com.

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