Best Low Flush Toilet

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Toilet bowlThink about how many times during a day you go to pee. The average person pees about 9 times each day. That’s 9 toilet flushes, not counting the occasional #2 😉 What does that mean in terms of water used per person per day just for going to the bathroom? If you take a look at your toilet, you may see behind the lid an indication of how many gallons per flush it uses. Toilets from the 1950s and earlier averaged 7 plus gallons per flush. Those from the 1960s were built to use 5.5 gallons, and the new 1980s toilets brought the water used in a single flush down to 3.5 gallons. Today, a new toilet is designed to use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. Therefore, if you’re using an old toilet you may be flushing as much as 63 (7 gallons per flush times 9 flushes per day) gallons of water per day!

How much water does a toilet use compared to overall water use?

Your clothe washing machine (washer), dish washing machine, toilet, and shower use the largest amount of water. But which uses the most? You probably guessed it – your toilet. Therefore it’s crucial, not only for your water bill, but for the environment, that you ensure your toilet is a low flush toilet and is not wasting water.

Is your toilet a low flush toilet?

How to find out if your toilet is a low flush toilet? It’s usually written somewhere on the toilet how much water (how many gallons per flush) your toilet uses. You shouldn’t be above 1.6 gallons per flush, and even that can be vastly improved upon.

What is the best low flush toilet?

How to optimize your toilet’s water use? Depending on your toilet, it’s usually not too difficult to tweak the valve and float in your toilet tank to reduce water consumption. In most cases all you need is a Phillips screwdriver and a flat head. You should be able to adjust when the toilet valve shuts on, letting water into the tank, and you should be able to adjust the toilet float, which will determine when the water flow shuts off, and the tank is considered full. Simply tinker with it a bit and see if you can get it to flush less water.

The poor man’s method for creating the best low flush toilet

If you’re having difficulty, a poor mans way of creating a low flush toilet is to place an empty jug or bottle or other container into the toilet tank. When the tank empties, the container will stay full of water. In essence what this does is decrease the overall volume in the toilet tank that is dedicated to holding water, thereby reducing the amount of water used in each toilet flush.

The pocketbook’s method for the best low flush toilet

If you don’t have time or don’t feel like tinkering with your old toilet, there’s an easier way to getting a very low flush…buy one :). We recommend the SeaLand 510+, which can run on a mere pint of water per flush!

How to Conserve Even More Water with Your Toilet

Whether or not you opt for a low flush toilet, there are still ways that you can conserve water that you use through your toilet. A low flush toilet is a fantastic option, but it should not be the place that you stop in your quest to conserve water while dealing with your waste. You should always keep in mind that technology is just a start to conservation. You should never really solely on the tools you use to conserve water, but should also always be looking for ways that your own habits can change as well.

Understand How a Toilet Works

For many people, the knowledge of how a toilet works is limited to the idea of pushing the lever. Beyond that, most people only know that the waste goes down the drain. The toilet actually works on a weight-based valve. When the bowl of the toilet fills up, it contains enough weight to open the valve. Once the valve opens, the matter inside the bowl is released through the bowel into the drain pipe. As soon as the water in the bowl begins to drain, the water tank begins to fill. This is why you don’t always have to push the lever in order for the bowl to drain. It is important to understand how the toilet works so that you can avoid inadvertently flushing it.

Have you ever wondered what makes the tanks that filling? If you lift the lid from your toilet tank, you’ll notice something that looks like a rubber ball. When the tank empties, this piece drops. As the tank fills, this rubber piece floats on the top of the water and moves up. Once the rubber piece reaches the correct level, the tank stops filling. This is why you don’t always have to push the lever in order for the bowl to drain. It is important to understand how the toilet works so that you can avoid inadvertently flushing it.

Reduce the Amount of Water It Takes to Fill Your Tank

Since the ball inside the tank is the thing that tells your tank stop filling, all you have to do is make the ball go higher faster in order to reduce the amount of water it takes to fill the tank. You can do this by attaching another floater to the bottom of the ball. A light, empty water bottle or jug of some kind can be attached to the bottom of the ball. Instead of the ball floating on top of water empty water bottle or jog will. This will make the ball reached the top faster. As a result the tank will fill sooner with less water.

Use the Toilet for Bodily Waste

Toilets were made to replace things like outhouses and chamber pots. They were not meant for mop water and other liquid waste. You may be pouring the waste in the toilet to avoid clogging your drains, but at the same time, you are wasting water. If you use your toilet only for bodily waste, you will find that you flush it less often and therefore, you use less water. As noted in the information above where you learned how a toilet operates, when you fill the bowl, the toilet automatically flushes. This means that filling the bowl with a bucket of dirty water that doesn’t really need to be flushed is going to cause a flush, whether you want it to or not.

Think about Your Septic System Every Time You Flush

Anyone who has a septic system will tell you that the main goal of a septic system is to limit the amount you put in the system. The less you put in the septic system, the less you have to worry about it. Septic system owners have to have their tanks drained periodically. This can be expensive. For this reason, if not for ecological reasons, septic system owners tend to be more considerate of their waste management. That means they may not flush every single time the toilet is used. In fact, some septic system owners do not even flush the toilet every time it is used. Not only does this avoid wasting water, it also forces septic system owners to be more considerate of waste in the form of tissues and toilet paper. If you do not have a septic system and use city water instead, hence use city sewage, just imagine that you have a septic system and operate under the same premise.

Make Use of Your Compost Pile

When most of us think of compost piles, we think of waste in terms of vegetables and other kitchen scraps. Just like you might use your compost pile in order to reduce waste that eventually ends up in the local dump, you can also use your compost pile to reduce the waste that goes in your septic system. Tissue paper and toilet paper breaks down easily and can be used in the compost pile. Naturally, the best tissues to use are the tissues that are made to break down easily.

Instead of using the toilet to hold your used tissues and toilet paper, consider placing a small trash receptacle with a lid next to your toilet. This will make it easier for you to remember to use the small trash receptacle instead of using your toilet to continue your tissue waste. The reason you want to use a small receptacle so that you can remember to empty it daily into the compost pile.

Even if you are not concerned about the amount of tissue and toilet paper that goes into your waste system, consider the fact that most people flush the toilet as soon as they put anything at all in it. That means that the more ways you can avoid putting in the toilet will naturally lead to less flushing of the toilet.

About The Author:

Sadie is a vegetarian and an avid recycler who loves riding her bike and practicing yoga. She is passionate about the planet, conserving life’s precious resources and making the world a better place for generations to come. A big fan of up-cycling, Sadie loves yard sales and vintage stores to find new uses for old things. She loves to cook, clean and enjoy the many parks and outdoor spaces in DC where she currently resides with her husband.

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Old toilet lover
June 12, 2017 10:32 am

I was thinking a lot about the theme of this article. There are so many ways to save the energy and the water, and we do not see it. I will apply what I read in my future habits.

May 31, 2012 11:38 pm

I think that almost everyone today is aware of the need to conserve water use. This article deals with a topic of water savings that most of us have probably never even considered. Saving water based on using a low flush toilet. I actually learned quite a bit from this article. Did you know that the average person uses the bathroom 9 to 10 times per day? This was a huge surprise to me, but after tracking my own habits for a few days I can certainly believe this stat.

The author also talks a great deal about the amount of water which is used by a toilet, on a per flush basis. Of course, over the years, toilets have become much more efficient. Those from around 1950 used about 7 gallons per flush. The next generation used about 5.5 gallons and then 3.5 gallons. The toilets of today use around 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

The whole point of this article is that we should really take a look at the toilet we are using. If it is an older model, it may be time to upgrade to a new model.

Kathy Faust
May 30, 2012 2:38 pm

Americans have a sick obsession with sanitation. We probably waste more materials to sanitize our world than the waste we produce that cause us to sanitize. Think about it. Every animal on the planet has to release its waste, yet they do it without creating more problems for the planet. Am I suggesting we go out in the woods to do our business? No, but a little common sense would go a long way.

First off, you don’t have to flush every single time you go. Think about a small child. They might release a few tablespoons of liquid waste, and we make them use at least a gallon of water to dispose of it? That doesn’t even make sense.

Something to consider is a no-flush toilet. It looks like a regular toilet, but you mix things with the waste so that the waste can even be used in compost later on. Barring that, yes, please do buy a low flush toilet or modify your own so that you aren’t using as much water. I love the idea of putting a jug of water in the tank to reduce the amount of water you use! Even a child can do that. And you don’t have to explain anything to anyone because they can’t see it unless they lift the lid of your tank!

May 28, 2012 9:56 pm

I really liked this article because I am always trying to find ways to make my home more efficient. The toilet in my house is very old and I know for a fact that it uses a lot of water per flush. I wish I could afford a new lower volume flush toilet but it really just is not a feasible concept right now. I liked that there was a suggestion on how to make a regular toilet more efficient by using a milk container or something like it, I definitely will try that.

Other things I have done to make my house more efficient is change all of my light bulbs, I switched my shower heads out for more ecologically responsible ones, and I also had my attic properly insulated. Altogether, I think this saves me somewhere in the neighborhood of about twenty or thirty dollars a month. It may not seem like much, but over the course of a year it totally adds up to a few hundred dollars that I can reinvest in the home. I like that kind of return on my investment.

May 26, 2012 2:36 am

Low-flush or high efficiency toilets are definitely becoming more commonplace in the market and with good reason. We waste an incredible amount of water every day thanks to wasteful toilets and showers. This creates a great deal of extra wastewater on our city water systems that depreciates the infrastructure and increases the cost of water treatment significantly.

High efficiency shower heads have been pretty commonplace now for a while. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. High efficiency or low-flush toilets are obviously more of an investment than a simple showerhead. They are also quite a bit more difficult to install and would likely require a professional. Therefore they are much less common in American households and are still playing catch-up to the other devices out there.

They are well worth the investment though. With the statistics available about water savings and the overall dollar savings that can be achieved, it really is a no brainer. I suspect that some government subsidies either exist or will exist in the near future. It benefits us all.

May 25, 2012 1:05 am

I really like seeing articles like this for a couple of reasons. Obviously, anything that helps educate people on how they can be more ecologically responsible I think is well worth the time and effort put in to writing and distributing the piece. I also like it because it opens up new discussions on ideas for people to do it on their own.

I know a friend that has a doctor that built a new home a few years ago that was designed from the ground up with the intent of being ecologically responsible in every single way. Not only do they have low-flush toilets in every bathroom, but the home also generates enough electricity from its solar cells and other devices that it actually contributes back to the power grid when there is a surplus of power. It is a marvelous example of just how efficient we can be when we put our minds to it. This is just one home, and yes it cost a lot more than a home of similar size, but imagine hundreds just like it. It could be amazing.

Kathy Faust
May 23, 2012 9:10 am

I live in a rural area. That means I have a well and septic system. Anyone who has ever had a septic system knows you don’t want to fill it any sooner than you have to. After all, the sooner you fill it up, the sooner you have to empty it. A toilet that uses less water is certainly a great option, but there are other ways you can conserve on the water that you don’t even think about.

As bad as it sound to us clean freak Americans, you don’t actually have to flush the toilet every time you urinate. You don’t want to wait until it’s packed with toilet paper before flushing, but even if you only flush every other time you go, you’re saving half the water you would have used if you had flushed every single time. And that’s only one method of saving water.

I have a habit of blowing my noise and throwing the tissue in the toilet. There’s no need for that. I don’t really need to use gallons of water just to blow my nose. I can simply throw it in the garbage can instead of wasting water to dispose of it. And my son, well being a boy he prefers to pee outside with the pup. What can I say? He’s a country boy!

May 3, 2012 12:21 am

As of 1994, United States Federal Law restricted toilets to 1.6 gallons. This paved the way for new energy efficiency research, as the first models of this tended to need more than one flush, thereby negating the purpose of having such high water efficiency. Today’s toilets feature re-designed fill pipes and higher water pressure levels, which will give the necessary inertia for a full flush with much less water needed.

The American Standard Compact Cadet 3 Flo Wise is one such efficient design of the modern era. This will enable you to lower your water consumption to just 1.28 gallons per flush without compromising on performance with this toilet, which won the Best Water Saving Toilet award by Consumer Reports. There is a reason that American Standard is one of the top-selling brands in America, and even more reasons why it has won over so many consumers on Consumer Report. The Compact Cadet 3 also won over the Alliance for Water Efficiency, whose toilet testing engineers used soybean paste and wadded bathroom tissue to ensure quality and functionality. The special one-piece design is coated with EverClean, a silver-based anti-microbial that serves as a natural inhibitor of bacteria and mold growth. Plus, the seat is included and the unit is available in five colors, is approved for use by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and comes with a five year warranty.

If you are looking for a low flush efficiency toilet that will work with your composting system, RV, septic system, or holding tank, look no further than the Sun-Mar Sealand 510 Plus Ultra Low Flush Toilet. Pressure-assist means that the system has no tank and therefore is completely compact, fitting into any outhouse, RV, or water closet, with just a seat and a foot pedal. The unit operates using the foot pedal, which will open the water valve when pressed and fill the bowl when lifted. Water caught from a gravity tank on the roof or elsewhere is sufficient in inertia to generate a flush, but the unit can also be flushed manually by throwing a container of water into the bowl with the water valve open. While the Sun-Mar Sealand comes only in white, it is probably a safe bet that if you are opting for this model, color schemes are less important to you than overall functionality and size considerations.

The Niagara Power One 1.0 GPF Pressure-Assist High Efficiency Round Low Flow Toilet is the clear winner, however, for using the least water per flush of any toilet on the market. As the name implies, the Niagra Power One uses just one gallon of water per flush. The Sloan Flush Mate air-pressure assist valve generates more than sufficient force to thoroughly clear the bowl, and is quiet on top of that, which is a rarity among pressure assists. All flushing parts are made in the USA, and the tank is sweat-free. Plus, the Niagara Power One comes with the ten year warranty included.

April 30, 2012 12:23 am

For an excellent, pressure-assist toilet with dual flush capabilities, look no further than the Gerber Ultra Dual Flush Elongated ErgoHeight DF-21-318. The solid waste flush option is 1.6 gallons and is completely reliable, while the liquid and paper waste flush option is just 1.1 gallons per flush. These add up to substantial water savings. Although some users believe the pressure-assist to be noisy, the Dual Flush Elongated ErgoHeight is at a minimal noise level on the spectrum, according to Consumer Reports. Offered in three colors, the tank and bowl combine to create a two-piece unit, and each of these comes with a standard ten year warranty. (The other parts all come with a five year warranty.) The seat is sold separately, though this expands the seat choices and allows you to better mix and match the style of your bathroom.

The Eago TB108 One Piece Ultra Low Flush Eco Friendly toilet boasts that it saves ten thousand gallons or more of water every year. With a sleek look, 1.6 gallons per flush and a siphonic flush system, it works quietly and efficiently in addition to looking pretty, and you will never have to navigate a broken chain or half-sealed valve. Plus it comes with a soft closing seat and lid. Although the bowl has a wide water surface, which is great for cleaning and keeping odors down, it does not feature a dual flush and comes only in white. Still, a highly-rated efficiency model.

April 29, 2012 2:10 am

Each time you flush, three to seven gallons of water are consumed. This can add up to a lot of water used in one home in just one day. Multiply this by every household in America and you do not even need to be a math whiz to see that this equates to heavy water usage. Fortunately, there are some solutions to this, including low flush toilets. Low flush toilets may sound inefficient, but with today’s technology they are actually anything but. Compared to inefficient, loud, and wasteful traditional toilet tanks, low flush are the way to go.

Using low flush toilets are a great way to save on water and even put more money in your pocket. I was kind of lost when I went out to buy one of these things though. I did not really know what to look for. After my excursions, I actually came away with a lot of knowledge about toilets in general and what the best brands in the low flush category are.

Just how does a toilet work, anyway? Toilets flush based on the principals in Newton’s Second Law, the Law of Inertia: That an object in motion will stay in motion, while an object at rest stays at rest. In the case of the toilet, the tank is kept full, and when the handle is pushed for a flush, the water from the tank rushes into the bowl by the pull of gravity. Because the water from the tank is already in motion, it stays in motion as it pushes the water in the bowl, along with any bowl contents, over the weir and down the drain pipe. Traditionally, toilet tanks needed five to seven gallons of water to create the necessary inertia to generate a flush. Tanks also were positioned high above the bowl to so that the water could be pulled faster by gravity on the way down.

March 15, 2011 6:56 am

They don’t cause pollution at all. They simply use a lot of water. That is not pollution my friend. I thought you might have known that since you do consider yourself an environmentally conscious drifter.

February 25, 2010 3:38 am

I agree that toilets should use less water because of the pollution they cause.