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Low-Flow Toilets

Technology Snapshot & Benefits:
Low-flow toilets are specifically designed to use less water during each flush. This is an important feature in an increasing number of areas throughout the country where water is limited. In all parts of the country, low-flow toilets make simple sense by conserving a natural resource used for routine and mundane tasks. To gain an appreciation of what a low-flow toilet can mean to you and your community, take a field trip to your local sewage treatment plant and look at the effort and expenditure required to treat sewage and reclaim water. Low-flow toilets make sense, particularly in water-constrained areas.

Estimated Cost Savings:
Water is still an under-valued resource but general understanding of its importance is growing. Mark Twain may have had it right when he commented "We know the worth of water when the well runs dry." A state-of-the-art low-flow toilet may consume less than two gallons of water per flush compared to five or more gallons with "old" technology toilets. The new toilets can cut your expenditure for flushing in half, or more. Yet flushing is only part of your annual water budget and you should pay some attention to the performance of your clothes washer and dishwasher as well.

For new homes, getting a low-flow toilet may not be an option – it may be required by local building codes. Like most consumer items, retrofit models can vary in their design and effectiveness. For a good coverage of issues, see Consumer Reports, October, 2002, page 52.

Regional Issues:
Toilet options may depend on local building codes and sources of supply.

Installation (Getting It Done):
Be sure to get bids from two or three (or more) plumbers to gain immediate perspective on the true value and costs of low-flow toilets in your area.

Videos On This Topic:

How to Install a Dual-Flush Toilet (4:20) - This Old House - An easy way to save water is to install toilets that use fewer gallons per flush.  New technology has allowed for dual-flush toilets that provide multiple flushing options, thus reducing the overall water use significantly.  In this video, find out how to install a dual flush toilet into your home to start experiences savings today.

More Articles on This Topic:

U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Toilets and Urinals

U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program: Energy Cost Calculator for Urinals and Toilets


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