Whether you are looking to save money on utility costs, or you’re wanting to be kinder to the environment, low-flow fixtures can be a great option. While they are becoming increasingly popular, are they really worth it?
When considering whether low-flow toilets are worth the investment, there are a few factors that should be taken into account. Our plumbing pros at Integrity Home Solutions explain.
- Use less than 1.6 gallons per flush – compared to up to 8 gallons for other models.
- Utilized two methods to clear waste: gravity and pressure assisted.
- These toilets can last up to 30 years without needing to be replaced!
- A drawback is that a second or third flush is sometimes required to flush waste and some older homes are not equipped for their installation.
What is a Low-Flow Toilet?
Low-flow toilets, also called water-efficient toilets, can use less than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, as opposed to traditional models that can use up to 8 gallons per flush. The purpose of these new designs is to help conserve water and save homeowners money on their monthly bills.
Some estimates show up to 70% savings for households that
switch from old technology to newer low-flow models.
In addition to reduced water costs, water-efficient toilets are also beneficial for the environment since they require much less energy and resources for production compared to regular toilets.
How Do Low Flush Toilets Work?
Low-flush toilets usually use one of two methods to clear waste:
- Gravity: Gravity-drive toilets clear waste when the flapper in the tank moves and water is released. Water flows down from the tank into the toilet bowl, flushing the contents, while gravity carries the waste through the pipes.
- Pressure-assisted: Have a pressure tank that works like a water balloon. Water fills the tank and is held there under pressure. When the flush valve opens, pressure and gravity combine to flush waste.
What Are Some Problems with Water-Efficient Fixtures?
Common complaints about low-flush toilets include extra noise, and flushing or water pressure issues.
- These toilets rely on a pressure-assisted system that makes a distinctive “whooshing” sound which can be louder than a regular toilet flush.
- If they aren’t operating properly, they might not force waste far enough down the drain, which can lead to clogs and other issues.
- If the water pressure in your home is not sufficient for the operation of low-flow fixtures, they likely won’t be able to work as intended, sometimes requiring more than a single flush.
Regular Toilets Vs. Low-Flow Toilets: What’s Right for You?
Whether you are required to install low-flow toilets due to local ordinances or are simply interested in saving money and helping the environment, here are some pros and cons to consider.
Whether you install a gravity-or-pressure-assisted model, these kinds of fixtures significantly reduce the amount of water needed to channel waste through your plumbing system and away from your home.
The best part? You can begin saving money right away.
It is estimated by the EPA that homeowners can save as much as
$100 a year when switching to low-flow toilets.
It is important to keep in mind that while water-efficient toilets are more costly than traditional toilets, they can last up to 30 years without needing to be replaced. Plus, they can also add to your home’s resale value. Nice!
Because they use a reduced volume of water and may apply less pressure than a traditional toilet, low-flow toilets do not always flush waste as well. A second or third flush might be necessary, requiring more water, and rendering the toilet less efficient.
Further, low-flow fixtures may not work with your existing plumbing system if you live in an older home. And because low-flush toilets operate on gravity or pressure, the pipes to which they are connected have to be positioned at a specific angle and slope.
Homes built in the last two decades can usually accommodate low-flow fixtures without significant alteration to the existing plumbing system.
The older the house, the greater chance your plumbing may require adjustments to be compatible with water-efficient fixtures. This can lead to their installation being more expensive than anticipated.
Learn More > How to Handle Bad Toilet Etiquette
Talk Low-Flow Toilets with Tampa Bay’s Best Plumbers
Depending on your home, low-flow toilets can be an effective way to reduce water usage and save money on utility bills. Although the initial installation cost may be slightly higher than a conventional toilet, the long-term savings from reduced water consumption will offset that expense quickly.