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Planning Retirement Online

Flushed with success. 

 July 2011

toilet The smallest room in the house is one of the most important. We might all be able to live without the ensuite shower or the added on conservatory, but everyone needs a loo!

Like everything today, toilets are no longer a simple matter although most are still made around the basic theme of a cistern and a toilet bowl. Today there is a vast selection of toilets to suit every need and every home. The newest developments, the washlets, are already reasonably commonplace in Japan, are gaining ground in America and no doubt will soon be over here in the UK. These high tech toilets are the ultimate in hygiene and do away with any need for toilet paper because it incorporates a wash and dry system within its normal operation.

The system is activated when you press a cleanse button on the side of the toilet. A small wand moves out from its hidden position below the seat and sprays a carefully aimed aerated stream of water for a few seconds. This wand then rinses itself and disappears, only to be followed by a vigorous stream of warm air for complete drying.

Probably the biggest developments that has been adapted around the world in recent years are the dual flush and low flush toilets. Most people will have come across these now, when you can choose between a full flush and half a flush. These toilets make great water savings and are already mandatory in some parts of the world such as Australia and Israel.

Water saving is key and it is occasionally good to check your cistern is not leaking into your toilet. To do this, simply add a few drops of food colouring into the cistern and don’t flush the toilet for at least one hour. If the water in the toilet bowl becomes coloured, then you know there is a leak.

In our modern water saving era, composting toilets are very useful and in fact are growing in popularity because they use almost no water at all. Instead, they use an aerobic processing system to break down waste and a process of evaporation to eliminate liquid waste. However, there are only certain locations where these can be used.

Away from the practicalities, the design of toilets has also changed in recent years.

High level toilets, where the cistern is mounted high on the wall and is operated by a long chain, used to be the standard design and has made a bit of a come back thanks to the fashion for retro. However, most people prefer the modern look toilet with the cistern immediately behind the toilet at a low level. Hidden cisterns, when they are completed concealed behind a false wall, are popular but it is important to ensure easy access for maintenance.

Hung toilets are a fairly recent innovation, where the toilet pan and seat is suspended off the floor by heavy duty bolts which are fixed onto a steel frame built into the wall. This allows for easy cleaning under the toilet and gives a very modern look, but is more expensive than the traditional stand on the floor models.

Today you can buy square shaped toilet seats as well as the traditional oval styles; seats that have a preventative fitting within them so they close slowly and you can’t bang them down; toilets that are designed specifically for use in the corner of a room rather than against a flat wall (usually with slightly reduced cistern volume); toilets with a handle or button push operation and even special taller versions for people who have back problems.

Really today the choice of toilets is very wide and varied. When you consider that the average person spends around three years of their life on the toilet, obtaining the appliance that is right for you is clearly very important indeed.


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