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Does a Low-Flow Toilet Really Save Money?

If you’re a homeowner with older toilets, you could be flushing your hard-earned money down the drain. Regular-flow toilets can use up to seven gallons of water per flush. In comparison, a low-flow toilet is required to use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush.

When you start doing the math, you can see that with every flush, a few cents are added to your water bill. These cents can quickly turn into dollars. By limiting the amount of water you use per flush, it’s possible to drastically reduce your water bill.

By replacing old, inefficient toilets with WaterSense labeled models, the average family can reduce water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent. They could also save more than $110 per year in water costs, and $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilets, according to the EPA.

Can your home and wallet benefit from a low-flow toilet upgrade? We’ll help you do the math.

What Is a Low-Flow Toilet?

In 1992, the Energy Policy Act mandated that all new toilets sold in the U.S. must be limited to 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less. With these new restrictions aimed at environmental conservation, low-flow toilets became mainstream.

Modern low-flow toilets employ one of two methods to remove waste from your home:

  • Gravity. When you remove the flapper from the tank drain, gravity forces water out of the tank and carries away waste from the toilet bowl.
  • Pressure-Assisted. These toilets compress a pocket of air, which then accelerates the water to forcefully clear waste from the bowl when you flush.

High-efficiency toilets are available to help increase your cost savings even further. These toilets have multiple flush controls that differentiate between removing liquid and solid waste.

Liquid waste can be flushed using as few as 0.8 gallons of water, whereas solid waste usually requires the maximum 1.6 gallons per flush.

When averaged out, your water usage will most likely fall well below the standard 1.6 gallons per flush, which is typical of standard low-flow toilets.

How Much Money Can a Low-Flow Toilet Save?

The short answer to “Does a low-flow toilet really save money?” is “yes.” However, the actual dollar amount is more difficult to calculate. Depending on your usage, you may be able to offset the cost of a new low-flow toilet in a matter of months, but it may take years.

The amount of money you can expect to save by upgrading to a low-flow toilet depends on multiple variables, including:

  • Age. If you’re upgrading from a pre-1992 water waster that drains seven gallons per flush, you’re going to see substantial savings on your water bill immediately. If you’re upgrading from a low-flow toilet to a high-efficiency toilet, your monetary savings will add up more gradually throughout the toilet’s lifetime.
  • Number of toilets in the home. The more toilets you have, the more they’ll cost to replace. If you’re replacing multiple regular toilets with low-flow models, you’re probably going to see greater overall savings on your water bill.
  • Household size. Your initial water bill savings will be greater when you’re used to seeing more flushes. Single-person households will see the savings add up over time, whereas large families should notice significant cost savings immediately.
  • Type of water. Homeowners who are connected to municipal infrastructure and pay a water bill will notice greater initial savings than homeowners with private wells. However, newer low-flow toilets will put less strain on your well equipment and supply.

Additional Savings Potential

In addition to ongoing monetary savings, low-flow toilets can provide environmental benefits and potentially, depending on your city or municipality, one-time rebates.

With a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush, you’ll be conserving water and have a smaller environmental footprint. According to Mother Earth News, low-flow toilets now save the average U.S. household (2.64 people) about 25 gallons of water per day.

As a bonus, many cities and municipalities offer rebates or tax incentives for replacing old regular toilets with new low-flow or high-efficiency toilets. Contact your local public works department to learn more.

Are You Interested in Saving Money by Replacing Your Toilet With a Low-Flow Toilet?

We get it, replacing your toilet isn’t the most fun job in the world. Leave it to the experts at Althoff Industries. We can help you choose the right low-flow or high-efficiency toilet for your home. We can even install it for you, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty. Give us a call today at (815) 455-7000.

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