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How a Toilet Works by Elise Carlson (Grade 4)

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How a Toilet Works by Elise Carlson

There’s one in every bathroom. You use it multiple times each day. When you push the handle, it washes the waste away. It has a handle, a lid, and a seat. You should wash your hands after using it. Maybe one of your chores is to keep it clean and shiny. Do you know what it is?

It is a toilet! It’s necessary for everyone, but most people don’t know much about it. How does a toilet actually work?

Pieces of the Toilet

Most household toilets have two main parts: a bowl and a tank.

The bowl is the part you use each time you go to the bathroom. It is the part that is under the seat. It holds some water, and it’s where the waste enters the toilet. When you flush, the toilet pushes the wastewater out through a drain pipe, whisking it away through the pipes in the wall. Then it refills with clean water.

But where does the water come from? It comes from the tank!

The tank sits on top of the bowl. Inside the tank, there is a pipe that brings in water and fills up the tank. This is called the fill valve. There is also a hole that lets the water flow from the tank to the bowl. This is called the flush valve. But the hole isn’t always open. The hole is covered by a round piece of rubber, known as a flapper, which keeps the water inside the tank until you need to flush. A chain connects the flapper to the handle of the toilet — the part you actually use.

When You Flush

When you push the handle of the toilet down, it pulls on the chain and raises the flapper. The flapper opens the hole to the bowl. Swoosh! Gravity makes the water drain quickly. The water in the tank rushes through the hole and swirls around the bowl, pushing the waste out through the drain pipe.

When the Toilet Makes Noises

Has your toilet ever sounded like it is refilling the tank on its own, even though no one has flushed it? This is a common issue that is called “phantom flushing.” This means that there is a leak in the tank, so water is slowly draining out. When a certain amount of water has drained, the tank will automatically refill itself, making noise unexpectedly.

If your toilet is doing this, it is best to check it out and get it fixed; otherwise, you will waste water and money!
A toilet has two main parts. Choose all three.
  1. lid
  2. arm
  3. tank
  4. bowl
  5. bottom
What is the job of the flapper?
  1. to make the water dance
  2. to help the toilet fill up with water
  3. to push down and remove the waste
  4. to keep the water in the tank until you flush
What most likely causes phantom flushing?
  1. gravity working
  2. a leak in the toilet
  3. someone playing a joke
  4. a ghost in the bathroom
How does gravity help a toilet work?
  1. It creates phantom flushing.
  2. It makes sure the water stays in the bowl.
  3. It pulls the waste and water down quickly.
  4. It keeps the toilet from falling through the floor.
Where does the waste from the toilet go when you flush?
  1. into the water
  2. back to the tank
  3. under the toilet seat
  4. through the drain pipe
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