Leach Field Septic System vs. City Sewers

When it comes to your waste removal, it’s important to choose the right septic system. Finding the system that suits your home will require some digging… and then more digging.

The two most popular systems are leach field systems and city sewer systems. We hope this comparison article helps guide you in the proper direction, and leads you to sewer system success.

Leach Field Septic System Explained

A leach field is a system of permeable pipelines with pierced lines running underground, carrying and breaking down waste from your home. Generally speaking, leach field systems are a good bet for homes and residences. Leach fields are affordable and, with proper maintenance, last for years.

How Leach Fields are Constructed

When you flush, solid waste remains in the septic tank to continue breaking down. The liquid waste that makes it through the filter then flows into the leach field. Lying under gravel, soil and sand, the system pipes have small holes along the side and on the bottom, where the waste can filter out.

 Pro Tip:   Leach fields are good for the environment, and do not harm any surrounding wildlife as the waste breaks down underground.

How Do Leach Fields Work

The journey from toilet bowl to leach field is pretty simple. The waste travels from your toilet to your septic tank. Microorganisms begin to break down the waste. Solid waste sinks, and sludge forms. The waste continues to break down, and eventually liquid waste heads through the underground pipes towards the leach field. Once this waste reaches the leach field, it seeps into the surrounding ground to be naturally filtered into the earth.

For a more detailed explanation of the processes involved in leach field waste treatment, check out the video above which explains how and why leach field systems fail, which can be prevented through proper maintenance.

Maintain your Leach Field

Maintaining your leach field is of the utmost importance. Luckily, leach fields are pretty low maintenance. A little TLC will go a long way in extending your leach field’s lifetime. One of the most common maintenance mistakes is neglecting to pump your septic tank and letting the sludge build up excessively.

 Pro Tip:   We recommend pumping your septic tank every two years or so, but this varies from household to household.

A quick septic care trick is to use a leach and drain field cleaner. We recommend the septic saver pods from Green Gobbler for their reliable, easy-to-use flushable pods. Along with regular septic system pumping, using a pod a month will keep your tank in tip-top shape. If you’re looking for a cleaner that can be applied directly to the drain field, you can’t go wrong with Roebic K-570 Leach and Drain Field Treatment. These options are both effective and eco-friendly.

Your pipes and leach field are sensitive to damage from construction or displacement of the earth around the leach system. The same goes for uncontrolled tree roots, which over time may grow to impact your system. Be careful not to place anything heavy or park vehicles on your leach field, and avoid construction in the area.

The amount of water running through your system can also impact your system’s functionality. Trying to break down too much waste and water, exceeding the system’s capacity, will cause an overflow. This is also the risk with heavy rain or snowfall. You can help prevent this, however, by diverting runoff and limiting your water usage. Fewer loads of laundry, shorter showers, and watering your garden in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is at its dimmest, all contribute to a healthy septic system.

What are City Sewers?

When it comes to city living, the practicality of a leach system goes down drastically. In areas with limited space and a seemingly limitless amount of people, it’s likely that there’s a city sewer system in place. Like a leach field system, every time a person flushes a toilet, takes a shower, or uses the sink, that waste needs to be removed.

City sewers may sound like they are reserved for apartment blocks and high rise buildings, but this is just a misconception. In fact, city sewers connected to your home carry waste from your septic tank directly to the manhole, or under your yard to the street, where it joins the rest of the neighborhoods waste.

 Pro Tip:   City sewers require far less maintenance on your side!

City sewer systems are owned and managed by the city, often through the city’s municipality or public authority. This system needs to be regularly maintained by those in charge in order to keep up with the demands of so many people and meet the municipality’s standards.

How City Sewage Systems are Constructed

City sewers are built using excavation techniques. Nowadays, city planners use mainly three construction techniques to build city sewer systems. These techniques are; trenching, micro tunneling and tunnel boring, depending on the layout of your home. Each of these excavation techniques have differing benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered before the construction process.

  1. Trenching: the easiest and most inexpensive excavation technique, trenching is the digging of deep trenches into the earth using a trencher. This is a great technique to use if the ground around the trench can be disturbed without risking any nearby structures. Once the pipes have been laid, the trench is simply backfilled with dirt and paved over.
  2. Micro tunneling: a better technique in the case of high-density neighborhoods and busy roads. Two pits, the jacking pit and the receiving pit, are dug. A micro tunnel boring machine (MTBM) will be placed into the jacking pit and begin tunneling towards the receiving pit. This small tunnel is drilled without disturbing the surrounding ground. MTBMs use a laser guidance system operated remotely by the contractor which avoids sending in a team or larger equipment. Once the tunnels have been drilled, the MTBM is removed from the receiving pit and the system’s sewer pipes can now be laid.
  3. Tunnel boring: this technique is used when installing larger pipes in sensitive areas. These populated, bustling areas need to remain as undisturbed as possible, even in cases where the pipes are several feet in diameter. A tunnel boring machine will clear earth from the entry pit. Then, a hydraulic jack pushes segments of pipe into the bore, coming together piece by piece.

How Do City Sewage Systems Work?

The system of a city sewer is made up of a collection of connected underground pipes or tunnels that transport the sewage to the sewage treatment centre. The fundamental principle behind how this system works is gravity. All drains are connected to downward sloping pipes, forcing waste to flow directly to the centre.

However, this is not always possible due to inconsistent sea levels and substantial excavation costs. In these cases, lift stations, otherwise known as pumping stations, are then installed at certain low points to raise the elevation of the wastewater and allow it to continue flowing downhill.

The waste produced can generate various chemicals, like hydrogen sulphide, and bacterias that could be very harmful or even deadly to the environment if incorrectly treated. Correct management of city system waste is crucial for the wellbeing of a community.

In Conclusion

Both leach field and city sewer systems are ingenious and reliable, with specific designs to make waste removal as easy as possible. Deciding which system suits your needs is crucial for a well-working septic system. After reading our guide, some careful consideration will be all you need to make the right decision for your home!

Round vs. Elongated Bowls (Explained)

Modern bathroom with elegant cabinet and toilet

If you look closely, you’ll notice there are two types of toilet bowl types: round and elongated. Though this may seem like a random design choice, the type of toilet bowl you have can greatly affect your comfort level and user experience.

Your toilet bowl decision also affects the individuals in your household that may need ADA-compliant features in the bathroom. Comfort is the most important aspect that buyers look for in a toilet, alongside the price. Why not take the extra step and look into models that are truly comfortable and accessible for all?

To learn more about the core differences between round and elongated toilets, see our guide below.

Round vs. Elongated Bowl Differences Explained

The Design

The size of your bathroom will help you decide which type of toilet to buy. If your bathroom is small, then a round model may be the best choice because it takes up less space than an elongated bowl would.

Elongated toilet bowls take up the same amount of floor space as round toilet bowls, but they are longer. Think of them as oval-shaped, compared to their more circle-based counterparts. Their length tends to be more than two inches longer than their widest point horizontally. Though specific measurements will vary, round-shaped toilets will have less of a drastic difference between their widest horizontal and vertical lengths.

Elderly individuals who have trouble sitting and standing up will benefit from an elongated toilet seat because of the added stability. Smaller children will have an easier time with a round toilet.

The elongated toilet is available in a range of sizes, including compact models that will fit into smaller bathrooms.

Size and Comfort

Girl browsing on phone while sitting on toilet

Round toilets come with a smaller bowl and seat compared to their elongated counterparts, making them ideal for small bathrooms or those with limited space.

As the opening of an elongated toilet is wider than that of a round one, larger people can use them with ease. The elongated nature of the bowl disperses the user’s body weight, making them a great choice for those with mobility issues as well.

The elongated bowl also makes the toilet easier to clean, since there are fewer places in the bowl where dirt can get trapped. However, both types of toilets have models with skirted trapways, which also cuts down time on cleaning and maintenance. Without a crevice for dust to settle, the only thing the trapway needs is a gentle wipe down once in a while.

Price Tag

In general, the price of a round toilet is lower because it requires less material to manufacture than an elongated one. This means that the labor cost will be lower as well. Both bowl types use the same amount of water resulting in the same annual water bills.

Square Toilets

Yup, you read that right. Although less common, square toilets are also a design option when it comes to modern toilet bowls. Don’t worry – we were confused too. But after a few test tries, we have the information you need regarding this avant-garde bowl shape.


Square toilets have a futuristic feel to them, due to their clean lines and angular structure. Naturally, their toilet bowls take up a bit more room than their elongated and round counterparts. However, if you have the space, a square toilet can be a fun addition to your bathroom. They are solid, durable units that can become a staple piece in any space they occupy.

Installation may be a bit more difficult for square toilets due to their weight. Users have reported they opted in for professional help to avoid any complications down the road.

Square toilets don’t require any additional maintenance or cleaning techniques. In fact, most square toilets have a completely solid base due to their structural support needs. Similar to a skirted trapway, this means dust and grime don’t have any place to hide. Every once in a while, just use some mild soap and water, with a gentle wash cloth and you’re done – quick and easy, with no headache.

Size and Comfort

Surprisingly, square-shaped toilets are very comfortable! This is because the square toilet bowl provides extra support for your entire body by evenly dispersing your weight.

The large size of the toilet also reduces the chance of your body hanging off the sides while sitting. There are multiple square toilets on the market that are also ADA-compliant, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice accessibility for a funky and fresh design.

Price Tag

Square toilets tend to be slightly more expensive than round or elongated toilets. They are also less prevalent on the market so finding one that meets all your personal preferences and requirements may be a bit difficult.

Final Thoughts

Deciding whether a round or elongated – or maybe even square – toilet bowl best suits your needs comes down to personal preference and bathroom space. For compact spaces, round toilets are a better fit but keep in mind that elongated toilet bowls tend to be more accessible for different kinds of users.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, consider a square-shaped toilet as well. Though unconventional, you might find that these models are more comfortable for you. Preferences are dependent on your personal experiences. When you get a chance, try sitting on a variety of models in a bathroom-fixture store. Only by testing out the difference can you truly know what works for you.

Single vs. Dual Flush Toilets

Modern bathroom with elegant cabinet and toilet

Flushing a toilet is an everyday occurrence, but not everyone knows the ins and outs of this basic bathroom fixture. There are two main types of toilets on the market: single flush and dual flush. When buying a toilet, you’ll be faced with many models that offer one or the other.

While it may seem like a random decision, the type of flushing style you choose can make a huge difference in your home’s water bills and maintenance.

Take a look at our basic guide to figure out what type of flushing mechanism best suits your needs.

What are Single Flush Toilets?

A single flush toilet has one button or lever that releases all the water in the tank at once. This means that all of the waste is flushed down with the same amount of water regardless of its size or consistency. Over time, these types of toilets can be more expensive than other options because they require more water per flush.

Some models even come with an anti-jam feature that prevents clogs from forming in the pipes by allowing only small amounts of waste into the bowl at one time; if more water is needed, you just simply press the lever again.

What are Dual Flush Toilets?

A dual flush toilet is a toilet that uses two different amounts of water depending on the amount of solid waste being flushed. The two most common types of dual flush toilets include:

Two-Button Push System

This type of system has one button for the larger flush and another button for the smaller.

Single Lever With Two Levels

If you need a larger flush, push the lever fully down. For a smaller load, the lever only needs to go halfway.

So, how does a half flush work? Imagine a straw in a cup of water, but the straw only goes halfway into the cup. Once the water drops below the end of the straw, the straw won’t be able to suck any more water, and everything below that level will be unreachable. At that point, the straw will only be able to suck air instead of water, cutting off the water supply. This situation is actually very similar to how the dual flush mechanism works.

Most toilets achieve a half flush by breaking the water suction midway through the siphon action. Basically, the siphon usually has extruded cuts at the bottom which allow air to enter and break the air-tight seal. The breach in the seal results in emptying only half of the tank instead of the full tank.

Comparisons of Single Flush vs. Dual Flush

Price Tag Winner

 Dual Flush  Coins bouncing on a table

Dual flush toilets tend to cost more upfront but will save you more money down the road through your water bills. A dual flush toilet gives you the ability to drastically cut down on gallons per flush by choosing water usage based on your waste load amount. Some dual flush toilets have relatively lower water consumption even for their greatest water usage option.

For example, a dual flush toilet with a .8/1.28 gallons per flush will save you money regardless of the flush size compared to a single flush toilet that always uses 1.6 gallons per flush. 

Maintenance Winner

 Single Flush  plumbing tools for bathroom

Single flush toilets require fewer parts than dual flush toilets thus making them easier to fix in case of breakage. Replacement parts for dual flush toilets tend to be more expensive than their single flush counterparts.

Investing in a quality brand will reduce the likelihood of breakage, making maintenance costs far and few. Additionally, keep in mind that the cost savings on water usage in dual flush toilets can also offset the occasional need for replacement parts. However, if you’re looking purely at maintenance costs with no other considerations, you’ll find single flush toilets win this round. 

Environmental Winner

 Dual Flush  Hands holding some soil with a plant on it

It’s no surprise dual flush toilets are more environmentally friendly than single flush toilets. The option to use less water per flush can make a huge difference. In fact, WaterSense toilets, which are certified by the EPA, can reduce your water usage by 20 to 60 percent.

There are plenty of eco-friendly toilets that are single flush too that offer 1.28 gallons per flush or less. However, with the dual flush toilet, you have the option to slightly increase the water usage for loads that may be difficult to flush. 

Style Winner


Toilet styles are all about preference. In terms of functionality, both buttons and levers work reliably well. Dual and single flush toilets both come in a variety of designs that can even be personalized through different finishes and colors.

If you’re looking for an ADA-compliant toilet, it is important to pay attention to the toilet’s handle accessibility. ADA-compliant toilets cannot have their flush handles higher than 44” and cannot require more than five pounds of force to flush the toilet. Flushing handles need to be easily reached, with no uncomfortable maneuvering or straining of the body.

Luckily, both single and dual flush toilets have ADA-compliant models that will fit your needs. The only thing you need to decide is how you prefer your flushing handle to be designed.


What is the standard height for a dual flush round toilet?

The comfortable height for a dual flush round toilet should be between 17 and 20 inches high, around the height of the average comfortable chair. This is higher than a regular toilet, which usually stands at around 15 inches high.

Are dual flush toilets worth it?

Yes, we think so! Dual flush toilets are a short term investment with long term cost benefits. Daily, your dual flush toilet will use up to half the amount of water a traditional toilet uses in the same time frame.

What is the most budget friendly dual flush toilet?

he American Standard H2Option is the most cost effective dual flush toilet on the market right now.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to toilets, there are a lot of terms and phrases that are thrown around. Ultimately it comes down to environmental and financial benefits. Ask yourself what are the main things you are looking for in your new toilet. Is it cost, flushing efficiency, or design? This question will help narrow down what to look for in your search.

If you’re able to see your toilet as a long-term piece, consider investing in a dual flush mechanism and reap the benefits of monthly savings. In addition to being stylish, these models are comfortable and energy efficient, making them an all-around great investment.

Comfort vs. Standard Height Toilets

Image of aesthetic bathroom

When shopping for a new toilet seat, you’ll find that there are two main types: standard and comfort height.

Standard toilets are the ones you’re probably most familiar with as they’re the style that most homes were built with before comfort height toilets took over. Comfort height toilets gained popularity in the last few decades as companies created more accessible models to accommodate all user needs.

Check out our FAQ down below to better understand the core differences in standard and comfort height toilets.

Standard Height Toilets

The standard height toilet is the most common type of toilet in the United States, which means that most people are accustomed to using it. The standard toilet has a bowl height of 15 to 16” from the floor to the top of the seat, whereas a comfort height toilet has a height of 17 to 19”.

This may not seem like much, but when you’re sitting on the toilet for a prolonged period of time those extra inches can make all the difference.

Comfort Height Toilets

Comfort height toilets have their seat higher off the ground than the standard height toilet seat, usually with a height between 17 and 19”. Comfort height toilets were created as a more accessible option for users with difficulties sitting or standing up, by alleviating the pressure that’s usually put on the knees in standard units.

Which Type is Better? 

Toilet preferences depend on the user. Standard and comfort height toilets tend to have the same installation costs, though some market comparisons show that some comfort height toilets may cost slightly less than their standard height counterparts.

The best way to decide what height type is the best for your home is to take a look at your needs. If bathroom users in your home tend to be on the shorter side, such as children, a standard-height toilet may be easier for them to use. For taller users, as well as ones with disabilities, the comfort height option is more accessible to use.

Comparison – Comfort Height vs. Standard Height Toilets


Standard height toilets are great for shorter individuals, but for anyone over about 5’4″, they can start to be a real pain. The reason for this is that the bowl of a standard toilet is about 15 to 16” high, which means if you’re 5’8″ or taller, you’re going to have your knees bent uncomfortably far up when you sit down.

With a comfort height toilet, the seat is 17 to 19” off the ground, making it easier for taller individuals and those with disabilities to sit and stand up. For a toilet to be ADA-compliant, it must be at comfort height.


Many brands offer both a standard height and comfort height version of their units. This makes it easy to find something that suits your bathroom aesthetic as you won’t need to sacrifice good looks for comfort.

Final Thoughts

If you want your home to be comfortable as well as safe, then it is important that you choose the right kind of toilet that will fit in with your budget and aesthetic preferences.

Keep in mind who typically uses your bathroom, such as guests and family members in need of special accommodations. While the height type may not make a difference to you, it can be a pivotal factor in other people’s bathroom experiences.

Toilet Wiping Comparisons

choosing a bidet or toilet paper

While bidets have been around for hundreds of years, they actually grew in popularity during the 2020 pandemic due to the lack of accessible toilet paper. As a result, many people started wondering whether bidets are a better alternative to toilet paper.

Most people that use bidets say that bidets are much better than toilet paper, and even feel much cleaner. In this article, we’ll discuss the main differences between using a bidet and using toilet paper – but first, what exactly is a bidet?

What is a Bidet?

Although you won’t find bidets in every household, these types of toilets are quite popular around the world. Originally, a bidet was a separate appliance within the bathroom that looked similar to a toilet but had a different seat which allowed users to clean themselves with a stream of water.

Nowadays, you can also find bidet attachments to use with your existing toilet, making bidets even more accessible. You can also find bidets with additional features like remote control, built-in dryers, and adjustable water temperature.

Overall, people use bidets as a hygienic and sustainable alternative to toilet paper when cleaning themselves in the restroom.

Which Option Is More Effective?

Although many believe that a bidet would be more effective at cleaning than the regular toilet paper, which is more effective can actually depend on several features.

Furthermore, there is no hard evidence that either a bidet or toilet paper is more effective at clearing all waste. Instead, the best and the most effective method is actually a combination of both by using a couple of squares of toilet paper after first rinsing off with the bidet.

Which Option Is More Hygienic?

The best thing about bidets is that it offers a hands-free method to wash. While you can still use a couple of squares of toilet paper after the bidet if you’d like, it’s not necessary, and many choose to go completely hands-free with just the bidet. We touch dirty things and objects every single day, so using a bidet can help you reduce the spread of germs after using the bathroom. To take hygiene to another level, some brands like Tushy have an additional feature called “nozzle wash”. This feature means that the bidet will self-clean the outside of the nozzle regularly, ensuring the full system is regularly washed. With all these factors, the bidet is definitely the more hygienic option.

Which Option Is Better For The Environment?

Hands holding some soil with a plant on it

As bidets still use water, they are not zero-waste. However, they are still better for the environment than toilet paper. An average bidet consumes about 1.5 gallons of water per week. On the other hand, it takes about 35 – 40 gallons of water to make just one roll of toilet paper. Aside from that, we shouldn’t forget the carbon emissions produced by transporting and manufacturing toilet paper, let alone the trees needed to produce the paper itself.

Are Bidets Cheaper?

When it comes to bidets, the initial cost will be bigger than a roll of toilet paper, but in the long run, bidets are much more cost-effective. Therefore, switching to a bidet is one of the best investments you can make. Luckily, you can find bidets nowadays at very affordable prices. Not only that, but you will most likely recoup the initial investment in less than a year as you won’t need to regularly purchase toilet paper anymore.

Which One Is Easier To Use?

Once you install a bidet, it is very simple to use. All you need to do is to turn the water on by twisting the knob or using the remote. While some bidets may not be entirely hands-free to operate, they are definitely more accessible than toilet paper. As such, bidets are also a much better option for people with limited mobility. Another advantage of using a bidet is the fact that you won’t have to deal with a clogged toilet from too much toilet paper, which is one less stress when using a bidet.

Do Bidets Take Up A Lot Of Space?

A lot of people give up on buying a bidet because they don’t have enough space in their bathroom. However, nowadays not all bidets are separate units that duplicate plumbing and take up a lot of floor space. Instead, you can easily find a great alternative known as a “bidet seat”.

This great invention allows you to replace the toilet seat you already have with a seat that includes all the features of a regular bidet. If you want to keep your toilet seat, there is also a bidet attachment that can be installed directly under your toilet seat.

Do You Need to Use Soap?

One thing that comes to mind when you think about a bidet is whether you should use soap to effectively clean yourself or not. If you do choose to use soap during cleaning, make sure to select a gentle formula specifically made for sensitive parts to avoid any abrasion or inflammation. In general, however, simply using warm water should be effective for cleaning while using the bidet.

Final Verdict

All in all, bidets are getting increasingly popular and are one of the best investments you can make in the long run. They are also quite pleasant to use and when used properly won’t cause any type of irritation or inflammation. Further, they are way more environmentally friendly than regular toilet paper while being simple to use and doing an amazing job of cleaning.

If you are not sure whether a bidet is right for you, keep in mind that they can also be space-efficient as you can buy a bidet attachment or a bidet seat that can easily be installed on your toilet. Therefore, you can find an affordable option to test it out, and with all the benefits explained in this article, we’re sure you’ll agree that bidets are the better option.

Plunger Comparison Guide

sink plunger vs toilet plunger

Let’s face it: a clogged toilet or sink is a real pain in the drain. And when it happens, most of us will grab any plunger within arm’s reach and hope for the best. But what if we told you that not all plungers are created equal?

That’s right, folks – using the wrong plunger for the job can leave you feeling like a total DIY dud, when in reality it’s the plunger that’s to blame.

In this article, we’re going to give you the scoop on sink plungers vs toilet plungers and what makes them so different.

The Flange Factor

When you compare these two plungers, you’ll notice that the only major difference is in the flange. The flange is a fancy term for a rubber piece that sits inside the rubber cup of a toilet plunger and comes in all sorts of shapes. It may not look like much, but it serves a crucial purpose: to seal the drain pipe and create a more powerful suction force.

Now, the flange is something you’ll only find on toilet plungers. Why? Because it’s what prevents the plunger from getting filled with toilet water. And let’s be real, nobody wants that. If you’ve ever turned a flange inside out after a few pumps, you were actually using a sink plunger.

Sink plungers don’t have flanges, but their design allows them to form a seal on a flat surface, making them perfect for sinks but not so much for toilets.

Plunge Like a Pro Tip: It’s always a good idea to keep multiple plungers on hand. Sink plungers won’t do the job for a toilet, and using a toilet plunger for a sink isn’t exactly the height of hygiene. Plus, having separate plungers for each job will prevent any accidental mix-ups. Bonus points if you buy them in different colors – your future self will thank you.

How to Unclog Sinks and Toilets Using a Plunger

We know that clogged sinks and toilets are no laughing matter, but let’s face it, plungers can be funny-looking things. So, while we’re here to help you learn how to properly use a plunger, let’s have some fun with it, shall we?

Sink Clog? No Prob

The good news is that unclogging a sink with a plunger is pretty straightforward.

Find the overflow opening, which is that small hole near the sink. Now, let’s be real, we’re not talking about an emotional overflow (although that could be a contributing factor to a sink clog, right?).

Cover that hole up, so your plunger gets a good suction, and place the plunger over the clogged drain. Get some water running until the rubber cup is fully covered, and then start plunging.

A few up-and-down strokes should do the trick, but keep at it until the water starts draining smoothly. To make sure everything’s clear, run hot water for a few minutes.

Toilet Clog? We’ve Got You

Let’s face it, no one wants to deal with a toilet clog, but it happens to the best of us. Here’s how to unclog your toilet with a plunger like a pro.

First things first, turn off the water supply to the toilet to avoid any nasty overflow situations. Now, position the plunger over the drain, making sure to cover the rubber flange with water.

Make sure you’ve got a good seal, and then start plunging. Don’t be afraid to give it some force, but make sure you don’t break the seal. The suction should do the trick and eventually remove the clog.

Repeat this a few times until the water drains freely. If you used any chemicals to help unclog the toilet, make sure to wear some gloves and safety glasses.

After a few rounds with the plunger, flush the toilet to make sure it’s working properly.

Accordion Plunger? Accordion to Who?

Okay, let’s talk about accordion plungers.

They may look fancy, but they’re not always the best option. The plastic material doesn’t fit as snugly as rubber does, and it could even scratch up your toilet bowl. So, be gentle with it and don’t force it.

Final Words (and Sounds)

Remember, the sink and toilet plungers may look alike, but they’re not interchangeable. It’s a good idea to have both on hand, and to keep them in separate colors to avoid any mix-ups.

Follow the steps above, and you should be able to fix any clog with ease. And, if all else fails, just remember that the sound of a plunger is basically just a funky beat waiting to happen.

Flush Mechanism Comparison Guide

If you want to buy a new toilet, you might need to decide whether you want a unit with a canister flush valve or with a flapper. Since these are among the most important parts of the toilet, we will go through everything you need to know about these parts. In the end, both parts have their pros and cons, so the final choice will depend on your preferences.

Flush Valve Overview

A flush valve is an important part of the toilet, located in the toilet tank. When you press the flush lever, the valve lets the water flow to the bowl, causing the flush. Flush valves can be either a flapper or a canister style.

Toilet Flappers

blue toilet flapper in white background

Toilet flappers can usually be found in older toilets. Flappers are mostly made of rubber or plastic, and they sit in the tank preventing water from going down to the bowl. The flapper is attached to a chain that is directly connected to the flush lever. When you push the lever, it pulls the chain and the flapper pulls up, allowing water to release from the tank and activate the flush.

Canister Valves

black canister valve in white background

Toilets that have canister flush valves usually have a long, vertically-positioned cylindrical valve in the tank. When you push the lever, the valve goes up and releases water from the tank. They are usually large and force the water down with amazing power.

However, they are also complicated and require lots of tiny components to work. Despite many components, canister flush valves require almost no maintenance and can last for a long period of time.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Regardless of which you choose, both flush valve options have pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the main upsides and downsides of both systems.

Canister Flush Valve – Pros & Cons

✅  Very efficient, providing a fast and powerful flush
✅  Durable and can last for years without issues
✅  Allows a large amount of water to enter the bowl, meaning you typically won’t have to flush more than once
✅  Buttons instead of levers adds to the toilet aesthetic, especially for a modern look
Challenging to fix or replace

Toilet Flapper – Pros & Cons

✅  Simple and effective mechanism
✅  Cost effective
✅  Simple to fix or repair
Breaks often, especially when it comes to the chain
Flushes slower
Less effective flushing

Main Features to Consider

Now that you know the main differences between the canister valve and the flapper, let’s go a bit more into the details.

Here we list five important features to consider when choosing you next flapper or canister flush valve.

1. Diameter

wooden ruler in yellow background

Basically, the longer the diameter, the more water gets released from the tank, which directly results in a more powerful flush. For example, a flapper usually has a diameter of two inches (on rare occasions, models can go up to 2.5 inches). By comparison, canister valves usually have a three-inch diameter, which can sometimes go up to 3.5 inches in high-end models. Thanks to their larger diameter, canister valves can release water at a faster rate.


2. Flush Power

Ice blue water being flushed down

When it comes to flushing power, consider two aspects: the size and the shape of the trapway. In most cases, if the trapway is bigger, the toilet will have a more powerful flush. Like with the diameter, canister flush valves usually have a larger trapway, which is often the case with newer toilets.  Flappers have smaller trapways, but in the end, the smaller trapway doesn’t have a huge negative impact on their performance.

3. Efficiency

After testing many models, we can conclude that canister valves and flappers are both efficient. However, there is one detail to note: while systems with flappers can have only one type of flush, systems with canister valves can have two different types of flushes. These dual-flush toilets allow you to choose a flush intensity based on your need to dispose of either liquid or solid waste. It might not seem like a big difference, but having these options can easily save you money in the long term.

4. Repair and Replacements

plumber at work in a bathroom with tools on the ground

No matter if you choose a toilet with a flapper or with a canister valve, they both tend to wear down over time. Flappers are much easier to break, but unlike a canister valve, they are also easy to fix. On the other hand, a canister valve is difficult to repair, but it will last longer.

If your flapper breaks, in most cases, you would only need to replace the chain. Rarely would you need to change seals, too. However, a canister valve has a cylinder, a seal, and buttons. No matter the quality of the materials, they all tend to wear eventually.

5. Costs

hand resting on top of calculator on table

Regardless of which option you buy, you should always consider potential costs. When it comes to flappers, their mechanisms are pretty simple and don’t have many parts, meaning they’re usually more affordable than canister styes. That being said, always compare between products because the total price could only differ by a small margin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Flush Valve Need to be Fixed?

There are three symptoms of a bad flush valve: first, the valve might be broken if the toilet runs constantly. Also, if you flush and notice that the power has decreased, or if the toilet won’t flush at all, it’s likely time to replace or fix the valve. The third symptom of a bad valve is that it takes too much time for the toilet to refill after flushing.

How Do I Upgrade From a Flapper to a Canister Valve?

It depends on the toilet – in most cases, unfortunately, you will likely be unable to switch from one type of flush valve to the other.

How Long Should a Flush Valve Last?

A general rule of thumb is that a flush valve should last around six or seven years. On the other hand, it also depends on the quality of water and on how often you use the toilet. With this in mind, a valve might not last as long in a large family compared to a toilet used by only a couple of individuals.

Final Thoughts

What would be your final choice? Obviously, a flapper is easier to repair and is also more affordable – which makes it an ideal choice if you want to shop on a budget. However, if you need power and efficiency, buying a toilet with a canister flush valve would be an excellent long-term investment.

Gallons Per Flush Comparison (1.28 vs. 1.6 GPF)

Clean modern bathroom

Toilets vary in the amount of water they need per flush. GPF, or gallons per flush, is the unit used to measure and indicate the amount of water each toilet uses. The difference is less than half a gallon, however, choosing one style of toilet over another can have a lasting impact.

GPF often leaves consumers wondering about their BMs – does less water per flush lead to needing to use more than one flush? Do high efficiency toilets erase the evidence left behind? With changes in environmental legislation and advances in toilet technology, consumers need not flush their dreams away of being both efficient and effective.

1.28 GPF Low Water Consumption

white toilet for low 1.28 gpf consumption toilets, 3 photos one with blu water in bowl

1.28 and 1.6 GPF toilets are classified as low-water consumption units. These units were introduced in 1994 when American President George H.W. Bush signed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into law. This law demands that toilets not use over 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

Historically, toilets required as much as 4 gallons of water or more (epa.gov), which leads to a waste in both water and money.

This new restriction motivated many toilet manufacturers to rethink their current designs, as most toilets used over 1.6 gallons per flush at the time.

As some toilets required more than one flush to remove all waste, manufacturers need to find a solution to make low water consumption more effective and efficient.

Manufacturers met EPA guidelines by creating a toilet that uses less than 1.28 GPF by implementing larger flush valves and by redesigning the bowls. 

Changes in Technology and Design

white toilets that are high efficient water consumption, text included

To meet EPA guidelines, manufacturers added a larger flush valve to their units. A larger flush valve creates greater force, which directly improves flush efficiency. Toilet bowls have also been redesigned to feature technologies that help maximize the flush itself. Instead of having rim holes, newer models have two nozzles at each side of the bowl to create a powerful siphon action.

Toilet flapper flush valves have also been swapped out for canister flush valves. These allow water to flow to the tank from an angle of 360 degrees. 

Some toilets also have pressure vessels, which compress air and force water at a higher rate of speed.

1.28 vs. 1.6 GPF Differences

The primary difference between these two types of units is their flushing power. However, the flush volume does not necessarily mean that 1.6 GPF units are more powerful.

differences of 1.28 and 1.6 gpf toilet images with text in the middle, all three white toilets

Two Models Compared

To highlight the differences in these two types of units, let’s compare the TOTO Ultramax (1.28 GPF) and the American Standard Champion 4 (1.6 GPF).

TOTO Ultramax II American Standard Champion 4
GPF (gallons per flush): 1.28 1.6
Flushing System: Dynamax Tornado Flush Champion 4 Flushing System
Flush Type: Single Single
Style: One-Piece  One-Piece

While very similar, the TOTO Ultramax II is more efficient, saving 0.32 gallons of water with each flush. In doing so, you will use 20% less water. You can save over $100 per year using a 1.28 GPF toilet over a 1.6 GPF model. With the Ultramax II, you can save both money and water without compromising performance.

Several Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons to both styles of toilets – 1.28 GPF units, and 1.6 GPF units. Each has their benefits and downfalls. Let’s take a closer look at the two. 

white toilets 1.28 or 1.6 gpf, brown toilet lid, white colored toilets

1.28 GPF Toilets

Pros Cons
Use less water May require more maintenance 
Cost efficient 

1.6 GPF Toilets

Pros Cons
Effective, strong flush Can be loud
Maintenance less common Uses more water 
Increased cost 

Use caution when looking to purchase a 1.28 GPF toilet, as only the most popular brands (TOTO and American Standard) carry the most efficient models. Other manufacturers do not typically implement high-end flushing technologies, meaning you may need to utilize two flushes to eliminate all waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are 1.6 GPF Toilets Allowed in California?

1.6 GPF toilets are not available in California, due to the California Energy Commission. All units sold within the state must use 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less.

What’s the Highest GPF Toilet?

Most toilets today use up to 1.6 gallons per flush. However, some older models can use as much as 4 gallons or more, which leads to lots of money wasted at the end of the year, especially if you live in a large family.

Do High-Efficiency Toilet Save Money?

Yes – as discussed, by consuming 20% less water with each flush, you’ll save on your water bills every year. Further, depending on your location, you could be eligible for additional rebates through the EPA’s WaterSense program.

Final Verdict

1.28 GPF toilets have several advantages. If you are in the market for a quiet, eco-friendly toilet that uses a minimal amount of water without sacrificing performance, a 1.28 GPF model is an excellent choice.

If you are unable to find a 1.28 GPF model from a top brand (TOTO or American Standard), it may be worth considering a 1.6 GPF model if flush efficiency is not a priority for you.

Flush Action Comparisons

Toilets are one of our most used home appliances and choosing one to fit our needs demands special consideration. Considering the flushing system should be at the top of your list. Most systems are either siphonic jet or gravity-fed, but which option is better?

Siphonic Jet Models

Siphonic jet units are common in households. With a specific “siphon” method that moves the waste down the tubing and a big water surface and high water level, these have become a standard model used everywhere.

Functions of a Siphonic Jet

toilet with siphonic jet

When you press the flush button, water is released from the tank and enters the bowl. This is why the water first rises and then quickly goes down, taking the waste with it down the pipe. During this process, water entering the bowl comes in faster than it can retreat, creating a powerful vacuum, which rarely leaves any trace of waste behind.

Water Consumption

Ripples of water droplet

Water consumption depends on the model, but on average, siphonic jet toilets use around 4 gallons of water per flush. However, according to new water usage laws, toilets are not allowed to use more than 1.6 gallons of water, which is why most manufacturers had to re-design the way their models work.

Siphonic Jet Toilets rely on high water levels to function. This not only helps keep any odors and gases trapped, but the powerful flush means you spend less time cleaning. In addition, siphonic jet toilets are usually pretty quiet.

Gravity-Fed Models

Gravity-fed toilets are quite popular in Europe and are slowly gaining popularity in the United States, too. These models are an excellent option since they conserve water and help to reduce monthly water bills. Gravity-fed toilets are also eco-friendly, which is another big plus.

Functions of a Gravity-Fed System

Toto gravity fed toilet flushing As the name suggests, these toilets take advantage of gravity to aid the flushing process. The working principle is quite simple. When you press the flush button, water is released from the tank which then passes through the bowl. These models have straight trapways that use water to create enough gravitational force to thoroughly remove matter quickly. Because of this design, these toilets rarely get clogged.

Water Consumption

Unlike siphon jet toilets, these units are designed to minimize water waste. Most units feature a dual-flush design, which gives you the choice of either 0.8 or 1.6 gallons per flush. This ensures you don’t have to empty the whole tank for liquid waste.

Buying a Gravity-Fed Unit

Besides minimizing water waste, these toilets are also small and ideal for compact bathroom layouts. Even better, clogging these models is virtually impossible. The price difference between the siphonic jet and gravity-fed units mainly depends on the style and features you prefer.

Match Up – Siphonic Jet vs. Gravity-Fed

Both types of toilets have their pros and cons, so we couldn’t pick a clear winner. They are both good in their own specific segments.

Siphonic jet toilets have a very powerful flush that leaves the bowl perfectly clean. They are also much simpler to maintain and are pretty decent at preventing odors. On the other hand, these toilets are also prone to clogging and usually take up a bit more space in your restroom. These toilets also use much more water than gravity-fed toilets.

Gravity-fed models are almost impossible to clog and do save water. These toilets are also more compact and lightweight compared to siphonic jet units, which makes them ideal for smaller bathrooms. However, they are not so great at preventing odors and can also surprise you with unsightly waste streaks in the bowl.


The choice between these two types of toilets depends mainly on your needs. Be sure to carefully check the pros and cons of each and clarify exactly what you prefer in a commode. Also, never choose the cheapest unit—although it might look tempting, buying a high-quality toilet is a much better long-term investment.