Ask Pete: Are Low-Flow Toilets A Good Idea To Save On Water?

We have all heard the strong opinions people have about low-flow toilets, but what is the reality? People want to know if low-flow toilets are a good idea to save on water. Let’s ask Pete and find out!

Pete, Which Type of Toilet Uses the Least Amount of Water?

The fact is almost all toilets now are low-flow and they all save a good amount of water. You see, starting in the mid-1990’s toilets were required to use less water because they were really big water hogs. They used to use about 20 gallons of water per person every single day. It was by far the most water used by any appliance in the house, more than showers or anything else. It was about 3 and a half gallons of water every single flush. But now, all toilets on the market are low-flow, they use 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less.  And now, they are making great strides creating even lower use toilets. The EPA has a standard called Water Wise and those only use 1.28 gallons or less per flush. If you are worried about those, we’d suggest you choose reliable brands and then you should have great results. These kinds can save 20 percent more water so you are saving even more than with a standard low-flow toilet.

How Much Water Can You Save with a Low-Flow Toilet?

According to the EPA, you can save $2000 over the typical lifetime of the toilet, or about $90 per year, per toilet for a standard low-flow toilet. That is great, but using less water is also really good for the community and the environment, so as long as you select a good one, we think it is a win/win. Just so you know, they have lots of cool innovations, too. Like there are “dual flush” toilets so you can choose whether to use a full flush or a flush for just the lightest use. 

Do Low-Flow Toilets Clog More Easily?

People definitely reported that low flow toilets gave them some problems when they first came out in the mid-1990s, but generally speaking, they have resolved all those issues and we find they work just as well as the old ones.

There are some guidelines that will help make sure your toilet doesn’t clog. First of all, have a good relationship with a good plumber. If you do regular checks you can get ahead of any potential issues. But also, if you’ve followed our stuff at all you know the basic rules to follow; no tampons, pads, etc down the toilet, nothing that isn’t toilet paper. That means no baby wipes, q-tips, tissues; ONLY toilet paper.  And if your toilet is one of the first generation types then you really want to use simple, ordinary toilet paper, no heavy or super-absorbent types. Also, have a plunger handy, have regular drain cleanings, and consider replacing it, since it is probably nearing the end of its useful life anyway. Give us a call if we can help and we always offer free estimates for any work.

So that’s the details from Pete about low-flow toilets. Reach out to us if you have any questions you want to be answered in an “Ask Pete” section or feel free to call us directly at 480-388-6093 with any of your plumbing questions or issues; we are happy to help.