It is unlikely that too many people these days have one of the older toilets that, literally, flushed away vast amounts of water wastefully. In older homes there do exist a few and it would be wise to replace them as soon as you can for both the money savings as well as the environmental benefits.
In the early 1990’s water usage laws were passed that, among other things, required certain plumbing fixtures to meet water usage standards. While the goal of the laws were very well intended and very much necessary, the result was anything but a success in the early going. The first generation of low flow toilets did not perform well.
The problem with the first attempt at introducing low flow toilets was that while the amount of water was lowered from up to a whopping seven gallons per flush down to the more environmentally friendly 1.6 gallons per flush that is commonplace today, there was no real change to the design of the unit and the results were less than desirable.
But that soon changed when people started using them and they weren’t really up to the task. They did not do a great job at flushing the waste down the drain line. So, engineers made some changes and they now perform to the same performance standards as the older wasteful models.
So now you are probably wondering what is the big deal with these devices and just how much can we expect to save? Well, there are some estimates available that suggest the total volume of water being used for flushing toilets, in residential dwellings, accounts amounts for roughly 75% of the total amount of water that is being used in urban area. That means almost 5 billion gallons of water is said to be flushed down the drains each day in the United States alone. On an individual level, it is therefore estimated that American homes use 9,000 gallons of water per year for their toilets.
The numbers are pretty staggering and not meant to suggest that actual amount of water is being wasted but serves to illustrate the amount that would be wasted if no one used low flow toilets. Just multiply by 4 and you will get a good idea. Thankfully, most people use low flow toilets these days. When you opt to install low flow toilets, you will be cutting back significantly on the amount of water that you use per year. That is also why the government mandated the changes that led to the current low flush toilets which will do the same job as before but only uses 1.6 gallons of water every time you flush.
Chances are you are already taking advantage of modern low flow toilets in your home to save water and save money in the process. Not because you made a conscious decision to do so, but because it is the standard that manufacturers have had to meet for almost two decades. But if you recently purchased an older home, or you have had you toilets since before the water usage laws took effect and are using one of the older toilets, now is the time to change out your old one for a money-saving eco-friendly model.