Auto-Flush: Self-Reinforcing?

closeThis post was published 12 years 7 months 29 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.
How to Manually Flush a Self-Flushing ToiletImage by ancawonka via Flickr

I was at a rather spiffy library today with automatic everything in the restrooms. It wasn’t to the extent of some places (airports and mondo shopping malls are worse), but there were a lot of sensors in there. When someone else came, did his thing, and just walked to the sink without doing anything, it got me thinking.

What if automatic flush valves are a self-reinforcing product? Think about it. It used to be that one had to be very meticulous to always flush before leaving. Now, with all the automation, some people just ignore the whole valve and trust it to do its job.

If people ignore the valve, they might start assuming that every toilet has automatic flush and just walk away without checking to make sure it actually does (and if it has, checking to make sure it worked). So that could mean more unflushed toilets (yuck), which would spur the installation of yet more automatic flush devices.

With my reasoning, the very fact that automatic flush devices exist and are installed in restrooms across the country creates a demand for them as society becomes less aware of the existence of manual flushes. Granted it’s far-fetched—there’s no way people will really forget until auto-flush becomes a household fixture—but we could be on the way there.

Or am I just reading all kinds of stuff into a situation for no reason?

Update (04/06): Hmm. Today, I found one auto-flush that missed, and twice had it flush on me while I was just in there getting a piece of tissue paper for my nose. If nothing else, the sensors are a tad unreliable.

Enhanced by Zemanta


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.

One Comment:

  1. Margaret Sch.

    They are definitely a good idea . . . but it’s also a bad idea for people not to wait and make sure that they worked before leaving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail (or subscribe without commenting)

Comments are subject to moderation, and are licensed for display in perpetuity once posted. Learn more.