You’ve heard the saying, “we’ve come a long way baby.” That’s certainly the case when it comes to water closets available to homeowners. For nearly a century, the functionality of the toilet did not change dramatically. Then in the 1990s, the U.S. market saw the introduction of the bidet seat and since that time, toilet technology has evolved to offer an array of options that are more closely associated with smartphones than they have been for plumbing fixtures.
- Intelligent (smart) water closets offer advance technology that enables:
- The toilet can clean itself
- Lids open automatically as users approach
- Hands-free flushing
- Illuminated seats
- Remote control operation
- Personal cleansing/bidet functions
- Temperature controlled heated seats
- Users can play music
- Seats automatically close softly (soft close)
- Connection to a personal digital assistant that users can command to lift the seat, prepare the bidet, play music, shop, change lighting and flush, among other smart home functions.
One intelligent self-cleaning water closet sprays a mist on the bowl as the user approaches, which enables the water closet to perform 80% better in removing waste than a dry bowl. After the toilet is flushed, it releases a second more acidic electrolyzed mist that works in conjunction with the bowl’s nonstick glaze to remove waste completely. The bowl is cleaned by an ultraviolet light in the seat lid that triggers a photo catalytic process that breaks down organic substances which are removed when the toilet is flushed.
Another intelligent model uses a cleaning mechanism built into the tank lid that contains a cartridge filled with a cleaning solution, a battery and control panel. Once a cleaning cycle is selected, the system dispenses a dose of the cleaning solution into the bowl. The solution is then mixed with water from the tank and flows out into the bowl through the bowl channel.
As technology advances, more manufacturers are expected to introduce self-cleaning technologies to provide added convenience and luxury options to homeowners.
Heated toilet seats continually gain in popularity because of their functionality and the comfort they provide to customers who have to use the water closet in colder climates and/or in the middle of the night. There are a range of options and price tags. At the lower end, a heated seat simply warms the surface. At the higher end, there are seats that can be programmed to an exact specification for different family members. An additional benefit to heated seats is that they tend to glow or act as a night light, making a trip to the bathroom safer and less likely to wake a partner after the sun goes down.
Electronic bidet seats are one of the smartest and hardest working innovations in the intelligent water closet arena. These seats function as a bidet and may include other comfort features such as air dryers, seat warmers, deodorizers, automatic lid openers and closers, automatic flushing and remote control operations. If the customer recognizes the benefit of owning a bidet seat, it is important to know that a 120V GFI electrical outlet box needs to be wired into the wall close to the water closet bowl.
Additionally, advances in glazing technology make water closets more slippery and therefore better able to remove waste without a trace. Some manufacturers also offer antibacterial glazing.
Europe is expected to see the introduction of the biotracer water closet that will send an analysis of glucose levels, leucocyte counts and blood proportions, among other data, to the user’s smart phone.
The technological advances in water closets continue a trend that transforms the bathroom from a utilitarian space to a wellness zone in the home.