Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Whistling Toilets

As you may recall from a previous post, we have interesting toilets. No handles. No discernible tanks. Just the big flush/little flush control panels.

When we first moved into our apartment, I was a little distressed to realize neither bathroom had fan. A bathroom without a fan is like a room that’s on fire without an exit. But after several weeks we realized these bathrooms have one of the most efficient ventilation systems I’ve ever seen. But in addition to being very capable, it’s also very musical.

In the photograph, notice the shelf behind the toilet. That’s not just cosmetic. I don’t have the schematics, but somehow air is being continually sucked into it the vents behind this shelf. I removed the iFlush panel and held up a piece of paper for confirmation. Air is being sucked out of these cracks at a impressive rate.

The good news: These bathrooms are virtually stink-proof.
The bad news: These bathrooms whistle. Sometimes quite loudly.

With the panel in place, the air that’s sucked through these cracks sounds like a 1950’s B-movie UFO landing. It’s worse when the toilet seat is up. Something about the bowl amplifies the sound. Remove the iFlush panel entirely, and it sounds like there’s a tornado behind the shelf.

The best solution I’ve found so far is to keep all but one of the iFlush panel corners secured. This leaves a large enough crack between the panel and the wall for air to pass through without becoming a high C.

Thus, my pre-bed routine has become:
  1. Detach the panels.
  2. Lower the toilet lids.
  3. Shut the bathroom doors.
  4. Lie in bed wondering if anyone else in Switzerland has this problem.

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