Designing Toilets

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few days now, but we are visiting family in Eastern Oregon now and my wife mentioning the cold toilet seat just pushed me over the edge.

I would like to file a formal complaint that the people that design toilets don’t know what they are doing. Sure they usually work fairly well and sometimes they have fancy features like “auto flush”, but come on. There’s so much more that could be done to make the toilet a more pleasure fixture in a house.

It seems obvious to me that the people that design toilets never had any kind of digestive problems nor were they big “toilet readers”.

Here are some of the problems that I see with toilets and some ideas about them:

  • They get cold–We can heat floors in the dead of winter, but we can’t figure out how to make a toilet seat that doesn’t freeze you. The best alternative out there is a plastic one, but those often get scratched up and gross. I’m sure there are materials out there that are “warmer” and resistent to wear and tear.
  • Some have too much water in the bowl and some have too little. The former can causes splashes and the latter can cause things put in the toilet not to be flushed down (especially when combined with a weak flush mechanism). This latter one is more of a problem for me now with my being “re-plumbed” and emptying in the front.
  • They are usually too weak to conserve water or so strong they splash.
  • Generally speaking, they aren’t all that pleasant to sit on.
  • They are a real pain to clean–has anyone ever really stuck there head in to make sure that under the ring around the bowl is really clean?

That isn’t to say there aren’t ANY good toilets out there. I have seen a few. But they are very rare. I would think that a device that every human in the industrialized world uses should be better designed. I guess the companies that make them figure they have the market cornered. I’m sure there are ways to design the bowl to still keep the aesthetics and physics associated with the current designs on the outside and the inside to allow minimal water to flow around the entire bowl without splashing. And I’m sure there are more ergonomic designs for the seat.

Anyway, I’m just putting that out there as someone who has spent more than his fair share of time running for and sitting on toilets.

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