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Low Flow Toilets

Low Flow and Dual Flush Toilets

 

Chances are if the toilets in your home were installed in the early 90s or before, you’re probably sending money down the drain every time you flush.  Older models are highly inefficient when compared with today’s more eco-friendly toilets.

In 1992, the Federal Energy Policy Act was introduced which made it mandatory for all new toilets installed in America to use no more than 3.5 gallons of water per flush.

The first generation of low-flow toilets weren’t as effective as current models today are.  Often, they required a second flush, diminishing their water economy. Fortunately, since then, low flow toilets have improved a great deal.

Offering even better water consumption rates than low-flow toilets, dual flush models are the latest addition in the eco-friendly toilet market.  These models have two buttons on top of the tank. The larger button flushes 1.6 gallons of water to eliminate solids, while the smaller one uses only 0.8 gallons to eliminate liquids. 

While traditional models use on average 3.4 gallons per flush, the leading low flow toilets save you close to 2 gallons of water per flush.

There’s really nothing not to like about low-flow toilets. To the naked eye, there’s absolutely nothing that differentiates them from the traditional toilets we all know and love( Hmmmm?  Not really sure I “love” my toilet). 

 

For the most part, they’re identical — same size, same shape, same plumbing fittings, same flushing apparatus. But the inner workings are newly-designed and more efficient — which is what really matters. 

 

Low Flow Toilets Save You Money

Low flow toilets are designed with a smaller tank and greater efficiency of water use than traditional toilets.  When you switch to a low-flow toilet, you will achieve a 50% reduction of water usage per flush. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that can represent a savings of $100 annually on your utility bills. 

For homeowners with numerous family members in the home throughout the day, this can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings over the entire year!  In the average American household, the toilets are flushed five times per person, per day.

Because your annual water bill will decrease by about $100 (or more with a dual-flush), investing $100 to $300 in a high-efficiency toilet is actually a money-saving endeavor.  And when you take into account that installing a low-flow or dual-flush toilet is no more difficult than installing a traditional toilet, the decision becomes even more of a no-brainer.

Low Flow Systems Help Save the Environment

In addition to saving money on water, you’ll also play a role in helping to conserve the local water resources when you choose a low flow system. Low flow toilets are designed so they don’t extract a large amount of water from the local pipes.

This means there are more resources available for applications such as sustainable farming and ensures there’s enough water available for all residents.  It’s a commitment to conservation that can help protect your local region for many years to come.

Another benefit of high-efficiency toilets is that they divert water from treatment facilities, alleviating the strain on those plants.  As such, some county and city water management companies are offering special rebates and incentives to homeowners who choose to update their toilets.

Dual Flush Systems Give Users Options

Dual flush toilets bear their namesake because of the two (dual) setting mechanism that drives their operation. This two setting mechanism is usually a button or a lever on the toilet that allows you to flush either a low volume flush or a high volume flush. 

Low volume flushes are designed for liquid waste, while high volume flushes are designed for solid waste. Unlike standard toilets designed with only one flushing option, the low volume flush of dual flush toilets allows for the conservation of water when using the liquid waste setting. 

As such, dual flush toilets are high-efficiency toilets (HET) and are in compliance with the National Energy Policy Act of 1994, using no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) compared to older toilet models that use as much as 3.5 to 5 gpf.  Lower volume flushes on new dual flush toilets do not use more than 1.1 gpf.

 

Older, “one flush” toilets simply use a pressure siphoning system to dispose of waste.  Dual flush toilets are generally designed to utilize gravity to dispose of waste down a large trap-way. This design typically cuts down on clogging and saves you the headache of an undesirable plunging expedition.

Rebates and Incentives

With utility savings in the neighborhood of $100 for low-flow toilets and even more for dual flush toilets, it makes the investment in a slightly higher priced toilet quite worthwhile.  If you do have to buy a low-flow toilet — either for a new home or as a replacement for an older model — many municipalities offer rebates and incentives for them, usually in the neighborhood of $100 each. 

So if you’re still watching 7 gallons swirl down the tubes every time you flush, there’s really no reason not to switch.  Contact your local water management company to find out if the offer a purchase rebate program for your area.

The benefits issue is basically moot, anyway, because we don’t exactly have a choice about toilets these days.  You can’t buy gallon-guzzling models anymore, so our purpose here is not to convince you to buy a low-flow toilet.  

The low-flow law was decreed long ago, and now it’s the only option out there. So unless you live in an older home with original toilets, low-flow it is — and low-flow is good.

There’s really no downside to dual-flush toilets, either. We actually wonder why it took this long to implement them.. The American Water Works Association says that the average dual-flush user flushes 4.8 gallons per day, as opposed to 8 gallons for traditional toilets that use 3.5 gallons per flush. 

When you compare a dual-flush to a conventional low-flow toilet, the dual-flush uses about 25 percent less water.

So, now that you know the ins and outs of low-flows and dual-flushes, there’s really no reason not to take the plunge and buy one.  Although these models deliver unbeatable savings through advanced technology, their installation is no more complex than traditional toilets. 

Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to have a professional and licensed plumber take care of the installation to ensure it’s done properly.

Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

Our home toilets are not trash cans made for dumping personal care and hygiene products. There are only three things that you can flush down the toilet – urine, feces and toilet paper. 

There are certain things you know you shouldn’t flush down the toilet, but for every obvious pick, there are a few we’re all guilty of tossing in, just because we had no idea it would cause an issue down the road.  That is, until we had to call the plumber … You’re not only damaging plumbing but also polluting your local water resources.

Instruct your household members to follow good practices in the bathroom. Avoid flushing the following items down the toilet:

1. Paper Towels and Tissues

They’re simply not designed to break down the way toilet paper does.

2. Cosmetic Wipes, Baby Wipes and “Flushable” Wipes

They don’t break down like toilet tissue. Even the ones that say they’re flushable don’t disintegrate the way toilet paper does, which can eventually cause plumbing issues.

3. Condoms

They’re also non-biodegradable, so flushing them can cause clogs in toilets and septic tanks, and causes severe problems in the sewer network.

4. Tampons and Pads

They’re products that are meant to absorb water, not break down in it, meaning they’ll only expand when you flush them — and that’s no good for your plumbing.

5. Dental Floss

Dental floss is usually made of Teflon or nylon. When flushed down, it mixes with wet wipes, paper towels, hair, and other items, catching and holding onto other debris — it can even wrap around parts of your septic system and burn out the motor. 

6. Contact Lenses

Discarding used lenses down the drain contributes to the creation of trillions of microplastics in the sewers and eventually the oceans, one of the major environmental concerns in today’s world.

7. Cotton balls, cotton pads, and Q-Tips

They’re small and flexible, block drains, and don’t break down quickly.  All they really do is clump together in your pipes and cause problems.

8. Diapers

Modern baby diapers are made from materials that will expand when in contact with water. They will expand and get caught in your pipes.

9. Medication

Expired medication or recently used pharmaceuticals should never be flushed down the toilet. Toilet water doesn’t break them down properly, meaning the medication gets into the water and can cause toxic environmental effects.

10. Cigarette Butts

A cigarette butt is comprised of a filter made from cellulose acetate, two layers of wrapping made of paper and/or rayon, nicotine, carcinogens, and hundreds of toxins.

11. Hair

Like dental floss, hair forms a sort of net when you flush it down the drain and gets caught on basically everything — plus, it floats, and it never dissolves in water no matter how long it’s in there.

12. Chewing Gum

As a cohesive substance, gum is a bit like glue.  It gets stuck in the pipes, blocking the natural flow of wastewater.  And chewing gum doesn’t exactly break down in water, either. It’s sticky and can easily adhere to the inside of your pipes and cause a clog. 

13. Cooking Grease and Oil

When fat solidifies, it becomes hard as a rock.  Now, imagine the impact of that scenario in your plumbing system. 

14. Bleach

Pouring bleach in our toilet is a disastrous idea.  Not only can it be extremely corrosive and damage your pipes, but it can also react with other substances in your plumbing, creating and releasing toxic fumes. You can get the stains in your toilet out by using vinegar instead.

15. Band-Aids

Band-aids are primarily made from non-biodegradable plastic, and they shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. 

 

16. Paint

Paint is a complex mixture of pigments and extenders, binders, solvents, and additives.  Some leftover house paints can even be considered hazardous waste. 

17. Cat Litter

Cat waste may contain the Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that affects humans with compromised immune systems.  And because many water treatment plants can’t handle these kinds of pollutants, dumping parasitic infections into the waterways represents a threat to public health.

18. Fish

It seems pretty standard that people flush pet fish when they die, but this is actually not a good idea — they don’t break down in water, so flushing a fish or anything like it down the toilet can absolutely cause a clog. 

 

19. Food

This one might surprise you because human waste is basically just broken-down food anyway, but flushing food that hasn’t been digested can cause problems for your plumbing, too. Sure, it’s biodegradable and will break down eventually, but it can cause clogs until that happens.

Read this for more about toilet clogs.

If you need help choosing the right toilet, or with installation, do not hesitate to call the top local plumber in the area, So Cal Services.  Our customers trust and love us as indicated by our 5-star reviews. So, for help or any questions, call us at 951-926-1978.

Tags: Low Flow Toilets, dual flush toilets, cost saving toilets, environmental friendly toilets