Home: Toilet: Flush
Smelly Flush   (+2)  [vote for, against]
Odor detector for public bathrooms

This just happened today. Sometimes after a long night of drinking and carousing, your waste products can be quite pungent. This can lead to discomfort in a public restroom situation. Why not create an odor sensor in the public restrooms that will flush the toilets when the methane level reaches an intolerable amount. Obviously, there would have to be another sensor that would not allow a flush on a clogged toilet. This could be rigged to page the maintainance crew, so that they would be alerted of an uncomfortable situation immediately. This would be especially good for very large buildings such as the Empire State or Sears Tower. The crew could prioritize bathroom cleaning by the amount of disorder each individual bathroom is in.
-- pnewp, Mar 13 2001

Why would flushing the toilets do anything about the odor? Or is the notion here that people would have forgotten to flush their smelly "waste products"?

Note also that methane is odorless, though it may be that methane concentration is correlated with the other gases that you do smell (like hydrogen sulfide).
-- egnor, Mar 14 2001

Three words: Toilet Spark Plug
-- Amishman35, Apr 04 2002

At work here the toilets have an overhead extractor fan which effectively 'flushes' the smells out of the building. It's manually operated from a switch on the wall, but I suppose it could be rigged to fire up regularly on a timer, or to detect pressure on the toilet seat (kicks in for a given length of time after pressure is removed from seat).
-- Saveloy, Apr 04 2002

random, halfbakery