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Guide to Water-Saving Toilets

Guide to Water-Saving Toilets

An old toilet uses about 5 gallons of water per flush. Consider that an average person flushes the toilet about 7 times per day. This adds up to 12,775 gallons of water use per year! Federal regulations in the US now require modern toilets (called “low-flow toilets”) to use 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This adds up to a savings of9,855 gallons per year. You can even find toilets which are more efficient, using 1.28 gallons or less per flush.

Many homeowners are reluctant to upgrade to a low-flush toilet because they think that it will not have as powerful as a flush (which can create some obvious problems). This used to be the case, but most modern toilets are very effective at removing waste without using a lot of water. Here we will go over your options for water-saving toilets so you can be an informed shopper:

Types of Toilets

  • Gravity-flush toilets: These are conventional toilets which use water from the tank to flush waste down the drain. They aren’t as effective at removing waste, but they are the cheapest option and easiest to repair.
  • Pressure-assist toilets: These toilets have compressed air in the tank which helps push the water into the bowl and down the drain. They are louder, but much better at removing waste.
  • Dual-flush toilets: These toilets are very popular in Europe and Australia. They have two flush buttons which let you select the water volume of the flush. Generally, the volume selections are 1.6 gallons (for solid waste) and 0.8 gallons (for liquid waste). This is a huge improvement over the 5 gallons used by most old toilets! Dual-flush toilets can be gravity-flush or pressure-assist.
  • Vacuum-assist toilets: These are the most efficient toilets and best at removing waste. They have a vacuum chamber in their tanks which pull water into the bowl. The toilet is quiet but still has power like a pressurized toilet.

MaP Toilet Testing

If you are wondering how well a toilet performs, it is easy to find out thanks to a man named Bill Gauley. In the 1990s, he set about the task of testing his new low-flush toilet to see how much water it really used. His testing found that the toilet really used more than its 1.6 gallons per flush rating. This led to the formation of the Gauley firm which tests and rates toilets under a system called MaP. You can go to their website ( and perform a search for your toilet to see how well it flushes and how much water it uses.

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