Toilets: We all use them, but are we using the most water-efficient models possible? Over the years, toilet efficiency has come a long way and a newer, more efficient toilet can pay for itself in the first two years of use, and save hundreds of dollars over its lifespan.
Until 1994, toilets used up to seven gallons per flush. For an average family of four who each use a toilet four times daily for a total of 16 flushes, that used over 100 gallons of water per day.
With the new guidelines, toilets must use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. For the same average family of four who each use a toilet four times daily, the same 16 flushes now use only about 26 gallons of water.
Over the course of a year, that family will save about 10,000 gallons of water with their low flow toilets, and around $100 in water costs.
When the low-flow toilets were first introduced, there were performance issues that sometimes required a toilet to be flushed twice to remove waste, but those issues have been resolved in recent years.
When you’re ready to replace a less-efficient toilet, there is more to consider than just its efficiency. Every toilet on the market today meets the 1.6 gallons per flush requirement, so check that off your shopping list first.
- Look for the EPA’s WaterSense label on models you’re considering. These can be up to 20% more efficient than the minimum requirement, saving you even more water and money.
- Check with your water company to see if there are any rebates available on low-flow or high-efficiency toilets. They may have specific brands and models that qualify.
- Check the model’s efficiency rating from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. This will give you a basis of comparison of each toilet’s effectiveness and efficiency.
- Check the model’s flush performance, as rated by the Maximum Performance (MaP) test. This measures a toilet’s capacity to remove solid waste. The MaP should be a minimum of 150 grams, with 350 grams being more than sufficient for households. All WaterSense toilets will have a MaP of 350 grams.
- Decide if you prefer round or elongated bowls, and if you prefer standard or comfort height.
- Ensure your new toilet will fit in the same space as your old toilet, especially if it has an elongated bowl and the bathroom is small.
The best way to ensure that your new toilet is efficient, effective, comfortable, and will fit your existing space is to work with a professional plumber. A professional will also ensure that it’s installed correctly; installation is not as easy as it may seem, and improper installation can do thousands of dollars of structural damage to your home if the toilet leaks.
Inefficient toilets can account for up to 30% of your home’s daily water usage. Replacing your old toilets is one of the best things you can do to reduce both how much you use and how much you spend.