Types of Toilet Flushing Systems

While you might not think about how your indoor toilet works very often, you may be surprised to know that a number of different systems and models are available. Whether you’re more interested in a quiet flush or something more environmentally friendly, here are some of the most common toilet flushing systems available on the market today.

Gravity Flush

Traditional flush systems are powered by gravity, using the weight of the water itself to create flushing pressure. While most water tanks sit directly on top of the bowl itself, some gravity systems include an elevated cistern to increase the distance water must travel to the toilet bowl and maximize the pressure produced. Water from the tank is forced into the bowl, cleaning it and removing waste at the same time.

Gravity flush systems are one of the oldest mechanisms for flushing toilets, but their timeless simplicity has kept them around for centuries. Because they contain few moving parts, they’re also one of the quietest flush systems available.


Pressure-assisted systems work similarly to gravity flush systems, but contain an extra mechanism used to force water into the toilet bowl even harder. A plastic tank containing an air-filled balloon is pressurized every time water begins to refill in the toilet’s ceramic tank.

During a flush the compressed air inside the balloon pushes water into the bowl at a higher flow rate than would be possible in a gravity tank. This allows a system to use less water and still be as strong as a gravity flush system, or use the same amount of water more effectively.

Because of the extra force applied during the flush, pressure-assisted toilets are louder than other flushing systems. Some people might prefer a slightly less powerful system that runs quieter.

Dual Flush

Dual flush systems are quickly becoming popular due to their environmentally conscious design, allowing you to use more or less water depending on the waste you need to flush. Two levers or buttons are installed on the same toilet unit, allowing you to make a “full” or “partial” flush. The full flush works just like any other toilet, using roughly 1.6 gallons of water to remove a mixture of solid and liquid waste.

A partial flush, on the other hand, is designed for only liquid waste and uses 1.1 gallons of water. Many countries have adopted the dual flush system and mandate its installation in new constructions because of its impressive water-saving capabilities.

Double Cyclone/Tornado Flush

Toilet manufacturing company Toto recently created what it refers to as the “Tornado Flush” toilet system. Instead of the traditional rim holes, the Tornado Flush releases water into the bowl using two large nozzles on either side to create a centrifugal, cyclonic rinsing action. The high-efficiency system uses only 1.28 gallons per flush for both solid and liquid waste.

Plumbing in Seattle and the Surrounding Areas

Toilets are one of the largest consumers of water in the home. If your toilets aren’t working properly, you could be wasting gallons of water each day! South West Plumbing is here to handle all of your toilet and plumbing needs in Seattle and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a service appointment!