ASK THE PLUMBER: Under pressure to update loud toilets

By Ed Del Grande | McClatchy-Tribune Published:

Q: We have three "air-pressurized" toilets in our home. They flush great, but they are older models and when flushed sound like a jet engine taking off! Everyone knows when anyone in the house is using the toilet, especially at night when we're trying to sleep.

I would like to know if I can remove the pressure systems and install regular flushing systems in these toilets?

A: An "air-assisted" toilet uses compressed air to quickly flush the water through the bowl. Originally they were popular in commercial applications. However, when water restrictions came into play some contractors started using them in residential bathrooms as well.

It sounds like you do have some of the older air-pressure toilets because a common complaint was about the flushing noise. The good news is that over the years most air-assisted toilets have been redesigned and they now flush at a much lower noise level.

I would not recommend trying to rebuild or convert your existing toilets. Replacement with a modern "high efficiency toilet" should be your best option.

But, since you are dealing with three toilets, I know that replacing all of them at once can be costly. So, try changing just the toilet(s) used in the bedroom area and leave the toilet(s) used mostly during the day in place. Reducing the loud "jet-flushing" sounds at night should give you and your family a first class ticket to snoozeville.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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