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High Efficiency Toilets Save Money and Water – Worcester, Boston, MA

22 Jan 2014

Last week we discussed low-flow toilets, and how your home’s plumbing may not be able to accommodate them. However, if you can replace a toilet with a low-flow toilet in your home, you can shave as much as $90 off your annual utility bill and send thousands fewer gallons of water down the drain.

In 1994 low-flow toilets became popular. While they saved water, they weren’t great at actually flushing. Today’s low-flow toilets work better. Many are better performers and some also use even less water than the federal standard. If you’re in the market for a new toilet, it pays to consider high-efficiency toilets (HET). You’ll save a lot of money (and water).

Look for high performing toilets

The EPA’s WaterSense label identifies HETs that have been certified by independent laboratories. They’re rated according to Maximum Performance (MaP) testing protocols, which measure the toilets’ ability to remove waste. MaP scores range from 250 to 1,000.  The EPA has adopted 350 grams as its minimum performance threshold, and anything over 500 is very good.

Choose how to flush

Like standard low-flow toilets, HETs come with different flush options. The one you choose depends on how “green” you want to be, how much you’re willing to spend, and your tolerance for noise. Most residential toilets in the U.S. are gravity-flush, which relies on the weight of water flowing into the bowl to help remove waste. Pressure-assist toilets compress air at the top of the tank to increase flush velocity, so they can do the job with as little as 0.8 gallons of water. While this makes for a powerful flush, they are loud.

Some low-flow designs like the Kohler Hatbox is so streamlined that it doesn’t even have a tank and flushes with the aid of an electric pump. While it is efficient with less noise, it is a more complicated installation and costlier maintenance.

Your savings

Toilets account for about 27% of a household’s indoor water usage, so trading up to a high-efficiency toilet can yield big savings. According to the EPA, a family of four that replaces its home’s older toilets with WaterSense-labeled models will, on average, save more than $90 per year in reduced water bills and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilets. And, of course, you’ll be saving a lot of water. Pre-1994 toilets send between 3.5 and 7 gallons down the drain with every flush. For a family of four, that adds up to about 76 gallons a day.

For more information on replacing toilets in your home, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

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