The Green Machine: Saving Money and Water with High-Efficiency Toilets
Is it time to replace that old toilet?
Do you want a way to save money and water at the same time?
If you do, there are many options available out there.
According to Environment Canada, toilets are responsible for 30% of total water usage in a home. New high-efficiency toilets can, on average, reduce water usage from as much as 24 litres to 4.8 litres or less per flush! This not only saves you money but also helps the environment. Here is a guide that explains the main types of high-efficiency toilets and their pros and cons.
Gravity Feed Toilet
Most toilets use the power of gravity to flush. Flushing opens a valve that forces water and waste down the toilet and into the sewer system. The advantage with this type of toilet is that it is the least expensive and the simplest to maintain out of all high-efficiency toilets as it has been around the longest. The disadvantage is that cheaper store-brand toilets don’t have a powerful flush leading to frequent clogs and using more water.
Pressure Assist Toilet
The pressure assist toilet relies on extra pressure to generate more power for a flush along with a larger valve. As a result, pressure assist toilets not only use less water (around 4 litres) but are also more powerful than the gravity feed toilet. Unlike other high-efficiency toilets, clogging is not an issue. However, the added power comes with higher initial cost, a little more maintenance, and a louder flush.
As the name implies, dual-flush toilets have two flushing options depending on the type of waste. The liquid waste option only requires 3-4 litres per flush, while the solid waste option uses the more normal 5-6 litres. The advantage to this toilet is that you can save a lot of water and money if used correctly. If not used correctly, you can actually use more water because you flush more than once. Also, this toilet is more expensive to purchase and install as it has more moving parts. This also means more maintenance and usually requires a plumber to fix to keep it efficient.
When it comes to choosing a toilet, a lot of different brands are out there. Basically, you get what you pay for. Better quality name brand toilets, such as Toto, are engineer-designed to outperform most other toilets. You may pay more for a good quality toilet initially, but it will save you money (and frustration) over the long run.
Is it Worth Changing Toilets?
High-efficiency toilets are a great way to save money and help the environment. Environment Canada estimates that the savings for both the combined water and sewage bill is around 50%. If you have a home with an older toilet, then a low-flush toilet is definitely something to consider. On average, a new good quality toilet will pay for itself in less than 2 years and then after that you’re saving money with every flush.
Quick Fact: Did you know that if you replace your existing worn-out flapper or fill valve with the incorrect/cheaper replacement part, you will actually waste more water with every flush? To save water (and money), install the correct parts. Pay the extra and get original manufacturer parts that are made specifically for your toilet make and model and follow instructions carefully. When in doubt, call a plumber.