If you're wondering whether installing a high-efficiency toilet is a good way to say money, the answer is a resounding yes. The less water used by your plumbing system to operate at its most efficient level, the less costly it's going to be for you to pay the utility bill. However, while the solution is simple, getting there is not as simple as picking one out and installing it; there are still considerations for you and your home that need to be taken into account when seeking a high-efficiency toilet. Older toilets in some home may use anywhere from 3 to 7 gallons per flush. Modern toilets use less than two gallons per flush.
When deciding on high-efficiency toilets, also try to look for a WaterSense label. The certification, endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, assures consumers of the toilet’s efficiency standards and technical details. According to the EPA, WaterSense-labeled toilets can reduce single family water usage 20 to 60 percent, which could equal savings annually of $110. However, not all high-efficiency toilets are WaterSense toilets, and cost and aesthetics are often defining factors in deciding which toilet to buy. Still, the EPA notes that WaterSense-labeled toilets are on the medium to low end of the cost scale and are usually quite affordable.
There are two common types of efficient toilets: Ultra-Low Flush Toilets, which use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush (GPF) and High-Efficiency Toilets, which use 1.6 GPF. The difference is not that one is efficient and the other isn't, but rather to what degree of efficiency. HETs have been an industry standard for some two decades, while ULFTs were developed as a voluntary standard not long after. So, while HETs are measurably efficient, ULFTs surpass even those levels. A less common option is the dual-flush toilet, which allows a user to choose between two flush buttons. Users can push a button specified for solid waste that delivers a full 1.6 gallon flush or they can push the other button for a half power flush (.08 GPF) suitable for flushing away liquid waste. Since most toilet flushes are for ridding the bowl of liquid waste, you’ll conserve a great deal of water over time by using the half flush setting.
It’s worth mentioning that your existing toilet can be modified and turned into a dual-flush toilet using specially designed dual-flush retrofit kits. These have proved to be very effective and are certainly a lower cost option than having an all new toilet installed.
While it may not take a second thought to use chemical cleaners on a toilet, avoid using them in the tank of your high-efficiency toilet. Corrosive detergent agents can actually wear away at the toilet's hardware. This also means avoiding the use of chlorine or bleach tablets in the toilet tank, as they can have the same damaging effect as cleaners that are abrasive.