How to pick a Low Flow Toilet

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    1 piece toiletOver 10 years ago back in 1994 a Federal Law mandated the use of 1.6 Gallon per flush Low Flow Toilets. This meant that companies had to rush to market designs that were less then up to the task of the standard 3.5 gallon tanks that most home owners were use to but today there have been many advancements.

    As a matter of fact there are many companies that are surpassing that 1.6 Gallon requirement and offering 1.4 even 1.2 gallon flushes saving home owners tens of thousands of gallons of water each year.

    The reason this is so important for our environment is that less water has to be sent to homes for flushing. The water that comes into a house doesn’t know how it is going to be used so all of it has to go through treatment meaning chemicals. This is not only costly on our environment but it is also costly in our pockets as our local water treatment plants have to be expanded to provide more water when new homes are built.

    As a consumer and not a conservationist you can look at it this way… They build a larger water treatment plant = higher taxes, you use more water in your toilet = higher water bill , They treat the sewage leaving your house = higher taxes.

    No matter which way you look at it someone is getting paid every time you flush.

    So, what things should you look for when picking a low flow toilet?

    The first and most important is the flush volume needed: Toilet flush needs range from about 1.6 to 1.2 gallons and you must take into account the number of people in your house and ages when you factor if you should select an ultra-low flow toilet because even though technology has improved if all other factors are the same you will see less clogging in a 1.6 gallon unit then in the ultra low models. 

    The second most important design feature is the width of the waste trap. The Toilet waste trap is the built into the bottom of the bowl and is the pipe that the waste exits. If you look down into your toilet you can see the initial opening and if you look on the side of some toilets you can see the S Snake of the Trap. What you want is the largest opening that is available in the selection you choose from. So if you have the choice between a 1-7/8ths inch trap and a 2-1/4 inch trap width you want to pick the larger size.

    Trap Glazing When you look on the outside of your toilet you will see a ceramic glaze which is shiny and colorful. This is the same stuff that is on a ceramic dish or vase.  Glaze is actually colored glass. What happens is a paint type slurry made of Silica sand and other additives is painted on the outside of the toilet and then it is placed in an oven and baked at thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. This turns the Silica into a Glass and it give the Ceramic piece a smooth surface that is easy to clean. This is the same idea in toilets and many brands even the higher priced ones do not have a fully glazed trap. This causes clogging due to friction and whatever model you choose you should always go for a fully glazed trap unless you enjoy using a plunger.

    Power assisted flushing mechanisms are relatively new to the market and may or may not aid in the flow of your toilet. The basic idea is that a bladder or air pump forces the water through the toilet at a higher rate. They are showing up in the lowest flow models but they add substantial costs to the initial purchase and also for repairs later. Choosing a non conventional flush mechanism also means the lack of parts to repair your toilet so you can expect to have to order parts instead of just picking them up at any and every store that has plumbing supplies.

    These are the basics when you are looking at conventional low flow toilets other types of toilets are available for cabins and remote locations that actually use no water at all and simply burn the waste in a small furnace. Eventually we might all end up using such systems but for now a 1.6 or lower flow toilet is a great solution for your remodeling or new building needs.

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