Understanding Toilet Flushing Systems: A Comprehensive Guide

The flushing mechanism of toilets holds a significant place, dictating efficiency, water usage, and maintenance needs. This guide delves into the intricacies of toilet flushing systems, distinguishing between tank-style and flushometer-style mechanisms while shedding light on the innovative Flushmate system. Whether you’re a homeowner seeking insight into your toilet’s functionality or a commercial establishment aiming for optimal restroom management, this comprehensive overview will navigate you through the complexities of toilet flushing actions.

Tank Style Flushing Actions

In the history of plumbing, there are two different kinds of flushing actions in all toilets. There are tank style flushing actions and there are flushometer style flushing actions.

Tank-Style Toilets

In a tank-style toilet, the most common type installed in residential homes, the water is stored in the standing toilet tank. When you are ready to use the flushing action, you press the trip lever that lets the water release. All of that extra tank water goes into the bowl and flushes it out using a downward gravity system.

Flushometer Style Flushing Actions

A flushing method was also developed for commercial toilets. That mechanism uses a combination of water and compressed air pressure to rapidly flush the toilet, making a whooshing sound. These are often seen in commercial settings.

Flushmate: The Hybrid Flushing System

Around 25 years ago, as people became more environmentally conscious and considered using less water, an engineer developed something between the two types of flushing actions. It has the characteristics of a tank toilet, and it also has the characteristics of a flushometer. It can be used in both regular residences and commercial settings. The brand is called Flushmate.

Identifying Flushmate Flushing Systems

When they refill after a flushing cycle, they refill the water that would typically be in the holding tank. They have an inner tank, and that inner tank is pressurized. When the tank refills with water, it also builds up pressure in the tank, so like a regular flushometer, they are flushing with both compressed air and water. You would identify a Flushmate flushing system if you took the top off your toilet’s tank and saw a large black plastic inner tank inside. Then you would know you have a Flushmate rather than seeing a tank full of water. Typically, you don’t see the water in the tank.

Maintenance and Repairs

Each of these apparatuses will eventually need service, parts do wear out, and the toilet parts are unique to each type of flushing system. That is one of the things that St Paul Pipeworks plumbers do is when they come to look at a toilet, they can tell instantly which type of flushing action it contains, and they carry all of the parts necessary to repair each of those flushing systems on their plumbing trucks. Even within the tank-type toilets, parts like the instrument you lift up to let the water go out vary greatly.


If you have any questions about your toilet flushing system or are just looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.

Yours Truly,

Matthew Dettwiler

Social Media Manager


What are the main types of toilet flushing systems?

There are primarily two types: tank-style flushing systems commonly found in residential settings, and flushometer-style systems often seen in commercial environments.

How does a tank-style flushing system work?

In a tank-style toilet, water is stored in a standing tank. When the flush is initiated, pressing the trip lever releases water into the bowl, utilizing gravity to flush waste away.

What distinguishes a flushometer-style flushing system?

Flushometer-style toilets use a combination of water and compressed air pressure to quickly flush the bowl, making a distinctive whooshing sound. These are typically installed in commercial spaces.

What is the Flushmate flushing system, and how does it differ from traditional designs?

Flushmate is a hybrid system combining features of both tank-style and flushometer-style toilets. It operates by pressurizing an inner tank, utilizing compressed air and water for efficient flushing.

Why is understanding toilet flushing systems important for maintenance and repairs?

Different flushing systems require unique parts and maintenance procedures. Familiarity with your toilet’s flushing mechanism allows for timely repairs and optimized performance, ensuring efficient water usage and functionality.

Toilet Flushing Actions: Ask a plumber…