Frugal Flushing

Toilet flushing is the single highest use of water in the average home, so it also presents a prime opportunity for water conservation. With the average person flushing five times a day, toilets make up about 31% of overall household water consumption.

There are lots of ways to conserve toilet water use, from habit changes and mechanical adjustments to replacement. Home Water Works gives you the information you need to maximize toilet water use efficiency in your home.

Toilet Water Saving Tips

  1. Install a new WaterSense labeled high efficiency toilet (HET) model to save water.
  2. Do not use the toilet as a trash can. Trash should be discarded in the garbage.
  3. If you hear the water running in the toilet tank for an unusual length of time, a simple adjustment can return it to normal operation.
  4. If your toilet has a water line indicator on the tank, make sure the water is at or below this line when the toilet refills.
  5. If your home has a dual flush toilet try to use the low volume flush mode as much as possible. Experiment to see how much the low flush can handle.
toilet paper

Potty Smarts:  Know Your Toilet

In a home with older toilets, an average flush uses about 3.6 gallons (13.6 liters), and the daily use is 18.8 gallons (71.2 liters) per person per day. In a home with ultra-low-flow (ULF) toilets, with an average flush volume of 1.6 gallons (6 liters), the daily use is 9.1 gallons (34.4 liters) per person per day. A family of four using an older toilet will use approximately 26,000 gallons (98.4 m3) per year in toilet flushes, while a family with a ULF toilet will use approximately 11,000 gallons (41.6 m3) per year in toilet flushes, achieving a savings of 15,000 gallons (56.7 m3) per year.

New, High Efficiency Toilets (HETs) use 1.3 gallons (5 liters) per flush (gpf). With an HET, a family of four will use approximately 9,000 gallons (34 m3) per year in total toilet water use. Look for the WaterSense label to ensure your new toilet has maximum efficiency and high performance.

Older Toilets

Toilets made from the early 1980s to 1992 typically used 3.5 gallons per flush (13.2 liters) or more. Toilets made prior to 1980 typically used 5.0 to 7.0 or high gallons per flush (18.9 lpf to 26.5 lpf). The oldest toilets can use more than 8 gallons per flush (30 lpf).

Ultra Low Flush Toilets (ULF)

An Ultra Low Flush toilet flushes at a maximum of 1.6 gallons (6 liters) per flush. Federal law currently mandates that all toilets manufactured in the U.S. must use an average of 1.6 gallons (6 liters) per flush or less. This law was enacted in 1992 and put into place in 1994 in an effort to improve water efficiency nationwide and coordinate various state standards.

High Efficiency Toilets (HET)

An HET is a toilet that flushes at maximum of 1.3 gallons (5 liters) per flush. There are more than 1,100 models of HET toilet on the market today. New fixture models have been introduced and the performance of HETs has improved dramatically. Today, HETs outperform their ULFT (1.6 gpf/6 liters) predecessors as well as the 3.5 gpf (13.2 liters) toilets that were installed in the 1980s.

WaterSense - meets EPA criteria

Dual-Flush Toilets

Dual-Flush toilets are a type of HET with a full flush and a half flush capability. The average flush volume of a modern dual flush toilet is 1.1 gallons (4 liters) or less.

WaterSense Labeled Toilets

The WaterSense label is used on toilets that are certified by independent laboratory testing to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency. Only toilets that complete the third-party certification process can earn the WaterSense label.

WaterSense labeled toilets are available at a wide range of prices and a broad range of styles.

Other Toilet Information

Toilet Performance Testing - Maximum Performance Testing (MaP)

Everyone wants a toilet that "does the job" in a single flush.  Maximum Performance Testing (MaP) of toilets was developed to identify how well popular toilet models flush, using a realistic test media, and to grade each toilet model based on this performance.  The test results list numerous toilet fixtures and the flushing performance of each fixture. This is essential information for anyone buying a new toilet.

MaP Testing of WaterSense HETs

Listing of High Effeciency Toilets

Are you in the market for a new toilet? The most recent listings of high-efficiency toilets are provided here:

Maximum Performance Testing of ecoEnergy toilets (Canada) 

ecoEnergy is a voluntary qualification system adopted by water authorities that believe it is critical to:

  1. achieve sustainable water savings from toilet fixture replacements, and
  2. ensure a high level of customer satisfaction with flushing performance.

ecoEnergy incorporates elements of the Maximum Performance (MaP) toilet fixture testing protocol and a maximum flush volume under maximum adjustment conditions.