If you’ve ever dealt with a 1990s-era low-flow toilet, you’ve probably ditched all your water conservation concerns and sworn never to install one again—with good reason. First-generation design operated so badly that it was often necessary to flush twice, using more water than traditional toilets, in order to restore a clean bowl.
Fortunately, a lot has changed since those early days. If you’re looking to remodel or install a new bathroom, check out these three benefits of high-tech, low-flow toilets.
Because of growing water conservation concerns, low-flow toilets became the norm after the 1992 Energy Policy Act made 1.6 gallons the maximum flush volume allowed for new installations. The policy certainly worked to save water: It’s estimated that the change in the law saves the city of San Francisco about 20 million gallons of water per year.
For homeowners, the water conservation benefits are easy to calculate. If you have a 40-year-old toilet that uses 7 gallons of water per flush and you replace it with a standard low-flow version, you’ll be saving about 5.4 gallons with every use.
If you’re interested in further water-saving perks, dual-flushing technology has been popular overseas for years. These toilets provide two flushing mechanisms, one for liquid and another for solid waste, further reducing your eco-footprint.
Lowering the amount of water you use with each flush can make a difference in your wallet, especially in parts of the country where water is scarcer and thus more expensive. Toilet flushing accounts for about one-third of all the water use in your home, so some county or municipal water management bureaus offer rebates for water-efficient upgrades.
Even if your water bill is minimal, you can still experience considerable savings by changing to a low-flow toilet. Recent technology has allowed for new designs that only require 1.2 gallons per flush without giving up power or effectiveness. The EPA estimates that the average homeowner, using one of these high-efficiency toilets, can save about $110 per year in costs, and $2200 over the lifetime of the toilet.
Lastly, installing a new low-flush toilet doesn’t require any changes in your plumbing configuration, so you can shop for something that looks funky or something as traditional as your old toilet without worrying about higher installation costs.
Low-flow toilets are a great option if you’re looking to replace a larger, older toilet in a small powder room or are grappling with how to squeeze a sink and toilet into a small space in a remodel or new construction. Because they use less water, most low-flush toilets have much smaller tanks than traditional toilets. Their size also makes them easier to install for DIY-ers.
Whatever type of low-flow toilet you choose, you can feel confident that new-millennium fixtures will do their job superbly while saving you water and money.