Which Low Flow Toilet is Right For You?

Posted by Haley B. on September 05, 2012
Which Low Flow Toilet is Right For You?
Over the course of your lifetime, you will likely flush the toilet nearly 140,000 times. If you replace older, existing toilets with WaterSense labeled models, you can save 4,000 gallons of water per year.

Whether you're working with a homeowner on an energy efficient remodel or simply trying to find ways for them to save money on their energy bills, introducing them to a low flow toilet can be an easy and effective way to meet their needs. Yet, with over 1,000 models on the market today, picking the right one for your client can be challenging. Consider the following questions before you install.

1. Is The Toilet Certified?

Since 1978, manufacturers, magazines, and 3rd party associations have tested toilets on how well they flush ¾-inch plastic balls. Unfortunately, this and other efforts to determine water efficiency have often led to inconclusive and conflicting results.

With that in mind, the Maximum Performance (MaP) test was developed to better simulate real-world conditions. Models capable of handling 350g of soybean paste waste per flush, while using no more than 1.28 gallons per flush are certified under the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program.

While WaterSense toilets are only required in a few states, many locations in the US are now offering sizable rebates to consumers who choose toilets that meet the criteria for High Efficiency. Although the financial incentives may vary from location to location, the WaterSense certification guarantees consumers that, no matter where they live, their toilet will be both effective and efficient.

2. What Are The Types of High Efficiency Toilets?

Since Water Efficient Toilets first appeared in the mid-1990s, plumbing technology has changed rapidly. Currently, several types of low flush toilets are available on the market, with the two main types being gravity-fed and pressure-assisted. Gravity-fed/gravity-flush toilets are the most popular residential toilet in the US. 

Typically quieter than their counterparts, gravity-fed toilets are similar to traditional toilets while relying on the weight of water to help push down waste. On the other hand, pressure assisted toilets can reduce water consumption at even higher rates. Since these toilets rely on compressed air, it is important that you check your home’s plumbing for appropriately high water pressure to make sure that they will work properly.

3. What About Price?

The first thing to know about the cost of a new High Efficiency Toilet is that a higher price doesn’t always mean a better purchase. It’s always a good idea to comparison shop and check the WaterSense ratings before you buy. Often the amount of money you shell out will relate more to brand name and aesthetics rather than efficiency. 

The next thing to keep in mind is that, while water efficient models generally cost more up front than traditional toilets, the purchase should show a return over time. According to the EPA, a family of four can expect to save about $90 per year on their water bill by switching to a WaterSense toilet.

4. How About Design?

Perhaps the most important element for most people is the design of the toilet. With so many models available, pick what works best for the home. Narrow your search by deciding on round or elongated bowls and standard height or comfort height. You can also choose two piece or one piece toilets, as well as single and dual flush models. In short, while you try to find which low flow toilet is right for you, remember that your bathroom can be both efficient and comfortable!

Haley B. works for Ben Franklin, a company that specializes in plumbing installation and repair in San Antonio, Texas.

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