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From the Australian perspective, why does the toilet water swirl in the opposite direction in U.S.?

On my trip to the U.S., a friend of mine told me that if I drop a compass into the toilet bowl and then flush, I will see an intriguing phenomenon. Not only will the water swirl in the opposite direction from how it would in Australia, but the needle of the compass will also point in a reverse manner from how it would in an Australian commode, as well. He turned out to be right, but my follow-up question is three-fold. Why does the water behave this way, does this also occur when running sink water from the faucet to the drain, and how best can I get into the toilet plumbing to remove the compass? Your responses are greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time, everyone.

2 Answers

  • Daniel
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The coriolis effect has no bearing on the direction of the swirl of toilet water. It has to do with the construction of the toilet itself. If you look carefully, you can see that the water that comes from the tank flows into the bowl at an angle from tubes in the ceramic that are built to direct it that way. That directionality of the streams starts the water swirling that direction. It's a myth that it is the coriolis effect.

    Water draining from a sink has no direction at all until nearly empty; and then, given no outside influence, it can go either way. A body of air or water needs about a five hundred meter fetch in order for coriolis effect to have any effect at all.

    As for the toilet and the compass, removing the toilet is not difficult, but remember to get a new wax ring to replace the old one. Otherwise, it may leak afterward.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Coriolis effect.

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