While range closets are not to be compared with individual water closets as sanitary fixtures, the high-grade modern range closets represent a great step in advance of the old-style range. The great objection to the range water closet is that soil entering one of the compartments is not carried away at once, as soon as the use of it has ceased, but must remain until the flush for the entire range operates. During this interval it is throwing out into the room foul odors, and when this same thing is occurring in the case of a number of compartments it can plainly be seen that the range water closet is not so conducive to the maintaining of a clean, sanitary toilet room as is the individual water closet with its immediate flush. The flush of the individual water closet, moreover, is more effective than that of a range, and there is less liability of fouled surfaces in the former. The range water closet consists in general of a long trough, directly into which the several seats open. In the modern range this trough may be above the floor or below it. In the latter case, the bowl of each compartment has the appearance, to those not familiar with the subject, of being an ordinary individual water closet. A closer investigation, however, will show that it is not what it first appears to be.
The range closets now used are generally automatically flushed, the flush operating at stated intervals. This interval may be made longer or shorter by operating the valve on the supply pipe to the tank.
Most ranges are now provided with an automatic siphon which is started when the flush enters the range, and continues until the water in the flush tank drops to such a level that air is admitted to a pipe communicating with the crown of the siphon. This breaks the siphon, and the rest of the water that enters the range remains there until the next flush.
This water prevents the surface of the range trough from becoming fouled.
The action of the automatic flush and siphon is strong, and very satisfactory.
The best feature of the modern range water closets, however, is the local vent which is provided with many of them. At the end of the range a 12 or 14-in. opening is provided with a collar to which the local vent pipe is attached, and the latter carried into a heated flue. Such a flue should not fail to be heated throughout the year.
The action of the local vent under a strong draught is very effective in the use of the range water closet. The draught draws impure air into the range through each seat opening, not only carrying it out of the toilet room, but preventing the odors occasioned by the use of the fixture from rising into the room.
The range water closet should not be used without a strong-acting local vent. Modern range water closets are generally of enamel-lined or porcelain ware, which is far more cleanly for the purpose than cast iron, such as was formerly much used. Of the modern styles of ranges, the type in which the seat opens into the range trough through a short bowl attached to the trough is preferable to the longer bowl, which presents greater opportunity for fouling. The latter is a serious matter in connection with the range water closet, as there is no flush around the bowl as in the individual water closet. Many cities prohibit the use of range closets, and this is a proper regulation, as the toilet rooms of schools, factories, etc., where the range is mostly used, are difficult to maintain in a cleanly condition at best, and the use of individual water closets reaches the desired end much more satisfactorily.