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How Does a Bidet Work?

Posted by Brian Inami on Oct 21st 2021

Even if your bathroom isn’t the fanciest, you might know some bidet basics. For instance, you can probably answer the question “What does a bidet do?” (Even if you need an in-depth “ bidet how-to” in order to really understand how to operate one.)

But even a loyal bidet aficionado might not fully be able to answer a more complicated question: how does a bidet work, anyway? In fact, most bidet users probably don’t stop to ask how a bidet works on a mechanical level. Is electricity involved? Where does the water come from? The answers actually aren’t too difficult to understand, so let’s take a deeper look at how a bidet works.

How do bidet attachments work?

A bidet attachment is a simple little device that connects to your existing toilet. Most bidet attachments don’t use electricity, so the mechanism that allows for their spray is quite simple: it’s powered by the water pressure in your home’s pipes! A bidet attachment redirects water from the pipes to a nozzle that you control. The water source is the same one that your shower and sink use. (Contrary to some worries, a bidet doesn’t use “toilet water!”)

A basic bidet attachment gets you nice and clean using this simple setup, usually with an option for you to control the pressure with the same dial that turns it on and off. That dial controls the valve through which water flows, widening the opening in the valve to provide greater water pressure.

If you’d like a more advanced attachment, temperature-controlled bidet attachments also allow you to choose if you’d like warm or cool water. The basic mechanism for the water spray is the same. But in this case, warm water comes from your sink’s hot water line. The same type of t-valve that connects to your toilet's water supply line hooks up to your sink, allowing for warm water on demand. As with a basic bidet attachment, the whole system is non-electric.

How do bidet toilet seats work?

A bidet toilet seat is a more high-tech bidet option that can come with a variety of features to make your bathroom experience comfortable, convenient, and clean. Fresh water still comes from the same source, but a big difference is that this type of bidet requires electricity.

Electricity in a luxury bidet toilet seat powers features like the air dryer, heated seat, water temperature selection, and use of the remote control. Different mechanisms located throughout this sophisticated throne activate as necessary to bring you the comfort and cleaning you want on demand.

For instance, a process called resistive heating or Joule heating is required for the bidet’s dryer feature and heated seats. The electric current passes through coils made of conductive material, much like the ones you see in a toaster or hairdryer. These coils serve as the resistor, heating up and releasing that heat. In the case of the dryer feature, a fan is activated to get that heat aimed at you. A motor turns a fan and forces air to flow past the coils as they heat up, sending warm air out of the air dryer flap in seconds. As for the heated seats, the electric current runs through a wire that winds through the inside of the seat. Foil on top of the wire spreads the heat to the seat, where it can warm your buns as needed.

A slightly different system is used to heat up water on demand. Omigo and Omigo SL offer the option of four different water temperatures, so an instant heater is needed to precisely and quickly calibrate the water to the temperature you choose. As water flows from your bathroom’s pipes, a flow sensor triggers ceramic plates to warm up. These plates quickly reach the specified temperature, heating the water as they go.

Perhaps the most complex system at work is the one that provides optimum water pressure from this bidet toilet seat. That’s because an air pump assists in the process to allow for more pressure without requiring more water. The air pump sends air to the multiway valve, the place where air and water meet before getting sent out through the bidet’s nozzles. Depending on the desired water pressure, a small door on the multiway valve opens a little or a lot to create the exact spray you prefer.

All of these settings are selected by a remote control that operates via infrared technology. This means that pulses of invisible light send signals to a device inside the bidet to activate different controls. Each button on the remote sends a different combination of pulses of infrared light, and a microprocessor decodes the combination. The remote must be near the bidet to send the light directly to it, and that’s a good thing: it means that the remote can’t be used through walls or around the corner, so no one can prank you by switching on your bidet from another room when you’re not expecting it!

The bottom line

Hopefully bidet newbies and experts alike learned something new about how a bidet works. But the good news is that operating a bidet isn’t hard to understand at all. All of that technology works together to make sure that using your bidet is actually simple and straightforward!