Are Self-Flushing Toilets A Good Investment?

23 January 2015
 Categories: , Articles


You are probably familiar with self-flushing toilets having used them in places like restaurants, retail stores and other public spaces. Though they account for 30 to 40 percent of commercial sales, manufacturers are now pursuing the residential market and selling self-flushing toilets to homeowners. Here's more information about these commodes to help you determine if they're a good investment for you.

How Self-Flushing Toilets Work

Also known as automatic flushing toilets, self-flushing toilets use motion sensors to determine when to empty the bowl. In commercial self-flushers, the motion sensor is typically positioned directly behind the person and uses a light to determine when someone sits down. The toilet flushes when the person stands up or otherwise moves away from the sensor. This is why the commode will flush if you lean forward in the seat even though you're still sitting in it.

Residential self-flushers work on a similar principal, except the mechanism is activated when a person waves his or her hand over the sensor which is located either on top of the tank or in the same place where the toilet handle would be.

Benefits of Self-Flushing Toilets

The main benefits of purchasing an automatic toilet are increased sanitation and convenience. One place that accumulates a lot of harmful germs is the toilet handle considering it's the first thing someone touches when they finish using the commode. Washing your hands after using the bathroom significantly minimizes your risk of falling ill, but using a touchless flusher can also help. It can certainly provide peace of mind to people suffering from germophobia or similar issues.

Self-flushing toilets may also be easier for the elderly and people with disabilities to use. Instead of trying to negotiate with an uncooperative or unreachable toilet handle, the person could simply wave his or her hand to empty the bowl. For this reason, this type of toilet would be a good option in the homes of people with mobility issues.

Disadvantages of Automatic Flushers

Contrary to popular opinion, touchless toilets do not save water. According to a study conducted by MaP Testing, automatic flushers actually increased water usage by 45 percent in the Florida office building the company was monitoring. The conditions in your home are a lot more controllable than they are in a commercial setting, but water consumption may surge if you have small children or pets in the home that develop a fascination with the motion sensor. Opting for a low-flow automatic toilet can help mitigate this problem though.

Another issue with automatic flushers is it may be easier to lose things that accidentally fall in the toilet. This is more of a risk with self-flushers that have motion sensors on the front of the tank. If an item falls in the bowl and you accidently trigger the flusher before you can retrieve it, you may lose it to the sewer system forever.

Cost of Self-Flushing Commodes

The price of an automatic flushing toilet varies depending on the manufacturer and model. The cost can be as low as $299 for basic models and up to $6,000 for luxury ones with heated seats that automatically open when you get nearby. If you're unable to or uninterested in purchasing a brand new toilet, you can buy a retrofit kit for less than $100 that will let you turn your existing manual commode into an automatic flusher.

While self-flushing toilets can be a beneficial asset in your home, it's important to consider all the factors before investing in the technology. For more information about automatically flushing toilets or assistance with choosing the best one for you, connect with an experienced plumber in your area.