Kevin Cook for Idaho Senate Ribbon

When it comes to plumbing, we all have a basic understanding of what a toilet does. But have you ever wondered how it does it? How does it work behind the scenes? Understanding how a toilet works can help you identify when something isn’t right and avoid costly repairs. So, if you’re interested in learning how a toilet works, from the moment you press the flush button to the water filling the bowl, this post is for you!

The first thing you need to know about a typical toilet is that it works with gravity. When you flush, the lever triggers a chain that opens a flapper valve in the tank. This allows the water to quickly drain from the tank into the bowl, and the sudden movement creates the suction that pulls the waste and water out of the bowl and into the pipe below. The weight of the water and gravity do all the dirty work for you.

The Mechanics

Once the waste has been removed from the bowl, the tank’s float ball lowers from the weight of the water, triggering the fill valve to open. Water then fills the tank via the supply valve on the wall. As the water level rises, the float ball rises. Once it hits a preset level, the fill valve stops the flow of water. The flapper valve at the bottom of the tank closes, and the toilet is ready for another flush!

Styles & Mechanisms

The mechanics of a toilet may seem straightforward. However, there’s more to it than just water and gravity. Toilets come in various styles, and each one has its unique mechanisms for flushing. Some toilets have pressure-assisted systems that use air pressure to force water into the bowl, and some have flushing systems that use more or less water depending on the type of waste you’re flushing. Understanding your toilet’s unique characteristics is key to keeping it in good working order.


Clogs are one of the most common issues with toilets, and they’re usually caused by flushing things that shouldn’t be there (hard objects, feminine hygiene products, etc.). But other issues can arise, such as a worn-out flapper valve or a broken fill valve. When these problems happen, it’s best to call a professional plumber. Trying to fix the issue yourself can lead to more significant problems or even damage to your bathroom’s plumbing and fixtures.


Now that you understand how a toilet works, you’ll know when to call a professional plumber if something’s not quite right. Remember to avoid flushing anything that isn’t specifically labeled as toilet paper and dispose of feminine hygiene products in a sanitary bin to prevent clogs. With these handy tips, you’ll be able to keep your toilet in top working order for years to come. Happy flushing!

If you ever encounter any plumbing issues or need professional assistance with your toilet, don’t hesitate to reach out to S3 Plumbing. Our team of certified plumbers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to handle any issue, ensuring that your toilet functions optimally. To schedule a service or if you have any queries, contact us at S3 Plumbing. You won’t be disappointed with our quality service and commitment to customer satisfaction.