Watersense water-saving toilets are critical when you consider their wasteful use of water and that water is the most important element on earth. Of all plumbing fixtures, the toilet is the water use heavy hitter. There’s been a good deal of attention paid to how much water goes down the drain with every flush.
So much so that in 1994 the U.S. government established EPA watersense toilet flush standards to increase toilet flush efficiency. Before 1994, the average American toilet consumed about 3.5 gallons a flush.
As it turns out that’s way more water than needed. In 1994, the EPA set a toilet water flush standard all U.S. toilets must meet. That rating was 1.6 gallons per flush to be considered a water-saving toilet.
1.6 gallons per flush was the 1994 standard every water-saving toilet had to meet. Here in Texas, where we think of water more because we already don’t have a lot of it, we figured toilets should flush with a measly 1.28 gallons per flush. And Texas toilets do just that.
The Texas standard so impressed the EPA, they adopted it as the new water flush standard.
Water-saving Toilets and MaP Watersense Toilet Flush Ratings
While water-saving toilets are now the standard, you need to know how to choose a water-saving toilet you’re thinking of buying. For that information you turn to the Maximum Performance rating of a toilet, or MaP.
MaP is an independent organization that tests WaterSense toilets to see how efficiently they use water. They do it by depositing a certain amount of soybean paste and toilet paper in a toilet bowl, and, well, see if it flushes. The tests are done until the toilet fails. After the toilet fails to flush anymore, technicians look at all the data generated and issue the toilet’s water-saving toilet grade.
What’s important to note about MaP is that it is not a compulsory program. Toilet manufacturers are not required to submit their designs for testing. Fortunately, MaP maintains a list on their website cataloging water-saving toilets according to their rating.
Water-Saving Toilet Technology
We described how plumbing systems rely on gravity to keep waste flowing through the system. Older toilets, and some of the newer water-saving toilets use the principle of gravity to flush the contents of their bowls down the drain.
When you repair a leaking toilet, one of the things you look at is the toilet flapper at the bottom of the toilet tank. When you push the toilet handle or button, the toilet flapper is lifted of its seal and gravity does its trick. The contents of the toilet get pushed into your home’s main drain.
But there are other technologies that improve water-saving toilet efficiency even further. When you look at these ultra-efficient water-saving toilets, you’ll find they use compressed air to forcibly push the toilet bowl’s contents into the main drain. These ultra-high efficiency toilets (UHT) use a measly .8 to 1.1 gallons of water per flush. You’ll also find the bowls and jets have been highly engineered on some models to improve the toilet flush efficiency.
Should You Consider Replacing a Low-Efficiency Toilet?
Well, Texas requires that you install a high-efficiency toilet in new construction or during replacement. So, the question really becomes is it time.
Sometimes this question could be answered easier than other times. For example, if you’re sitting in a bathroom circa 1945, it’s time for a remodel. It’s unlikely the flush police will turn up at your door if you have an old, outdated inefficient toilet. But your guests may compliment you on fixing up that old bathroom.
As an incentive some municipalities offer a tax credit if you replace your old inefficient toilet with a new high-efficiency one.
Do Water-Saving Toilets Actually Flush?
Early water-saving toilet designs did have problems clearing waste from the toilet bowl. But the technology has come a long way. Today, if you purchase a MaP compliant toilet, you can be assured that your toilet will clear 600 to 1000 grams of material from the bowl with a single flush. The acceptable minimums are in the 250 to 350-gram range.
The good news is there are currently over 3,800 toilets listed as MaP compliant on the MaP site. So, it shouldn’t be hard to find one.
Fountain Plumbing in Tyler, Texas. Serving the community with integrity and pride for over 20 years!
If you’re looking at a remodel or any other type of plumbing project, be sure to give us a call here at Fountain Plumbing. We’ve been earning our customers’ trust for years and we look forward to making you one of the Fountain Plumbing family of friends.