“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

Mystery in the bathroom
Monday, April 13, 2009

I was recently in Nebraska and noticed that, when the wind blows, the water in the toilet bowl sloshes ever so slightly. On one occasion I witnessed this in a highrise hotel.

So, I had to wonder: How does the water in the toilet know when the wind is blowing?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The apparent "sloshing" is the result of the wind blowing the building to and fro. Tall buildings are designed to take account of the wind - they will and are supposed to sway.... the water however, doesn't know that and remains still .. ie stays level. Hope that solves that mystery.
Regards your,
Architect About Town :-)

April 13, 2009 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

I appreciate your ingenuity...but what can we say about the water sloshing in the toilet of a single family home?

April 13, 2009 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

This sent to me by a reader via email:

"ahhhh.....this is an age old mystery at our house as well. After a few cocktails a few years back, I phoned Kevin Herman to explain this phenomenon. He tells me that it is the wind blowing into the sewer vent that actually causes it. At last! An Answer! I still don't get it, but what the hell......I want to know nothing about plumbing or electricity....only that it works when I turn it on! Cheers!"

April 14, 2009 at 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the wind blows over your house, the air pressure changes because of the "Bernoulli effect". The Bernoulli effect says that perssure becomes lower when flow is faster. It's this effect that sucks loose objects out the car window when you open it while driving; it also creates the lift that allows an airplane to fly. As the wind blows over your house, the Bernoulli effect lowers the pressure at the top of the vent stack. This creates a slight suction throughout the plumbing system which pulls against the water sitting in the trap in the toilet bowel. As the wind strenghens and weakens, it produces more or less suction, which causes the water in the bowl to slosh! (Answer found @ Yahoo Answers:)

April 14, 2009 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

Finally, I hear from my friend, Dr. Science!!! Thanks for the great explanation.

April 15, 2009 at 5:43 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

These scientific answers are all well and good, but I can't help but fixate on the line above, "after a few coctails..."

I think that's the real explanation.

April 24, 2009 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

..cocktails - sorry to misquote you.

April 24, 2009 at 5:24 PM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

Now, Andy, it was not I who was imbibing in cocktails. I was stone sober when I witnessed this natural phenomenon.

April 25, 2009 at 7:07 AM  
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