As part of her bathroom renovation, Sarah is going to get a new toilet. No matter what toilet she chooses it will save quite a bit of water (estimates range from $50 to $100 a year in water/sewage savings) and it will be more attractive. Old toilets can use as much as 7 gallons of water per flush. This was first lowered to 3.5 gallons and then in 1992 it was lowered to 1.7 gallons. When this first happened there were a lot of issues with low flow toilets. The good news is that now most low flow toilets work just fine. We have two 1.7 gallon toilets in our house and we haven’t had any issues. However now there are also a number of toilets that use even less water!
When I am designing institutional building we almost always use dual-flush toilets. These are toilets that have 2 option when you flush (1 for #1 and 1 for #2). The ones I use in institutional settings typically have a green handle (maybe you have seen this somewhere) and if you pull the lever up it uses about .7 gallons and if you push down it uses about 1.5 gallons.
In the last couple of years a number of residential dual-flush toilets have come on the market. Even Home Depot and Lowes carry some in stock. Unfortunately, not all of them have great track records. A number of architects and plumber recommend Toto (a Japanese company) for their low flow options. However I know someone who is not happy with hers, so I thought I would look at what else is out there.
For Sarah I selected the American Standard H2Option Siphonic Dual Flush Round Front Toilet. I found a few reviews that were generally positive and the price was about the same as for a nicer regular low flow toilet. For more extensive reviews from a plumber I recommend Terry Love’s website. He gives a rundown on a bunch of toilets.
Also look for the WaterSense logo from the EPA. This means the toilet uses at least 20% less water than the current guidelines of 1.7 gallons and has met a number of standards and tests.