When choosing plumbing fixtures for your home, there are several options that are uniquely designed to conserve water, or be more “energy efficient.” For most, this also equates to a notable savings on your monthly water bill. When it comes to toilets, the low-flow toilet tops the list as the best way to preserve water and still get the job done.
Low-flow toilets only use about 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This stands in drastic contrast to older toilets that were made before water conservation laws were in place. In 1980, toilet manufacturers were given GPF (gallons per flush) restrictions. Before 1980, some toilets were flushing as much as 3.5 gallons of water with each flush!
In most homes, upgrading to a low-flow toilet is no problem. In fact, considering the savings, it’s a no-brainer solution. However, there are situations in which a low-flow toilet may cause more harm than good. The first thing you need to know is the manufacturing age of your toilet – especially if you live in an older home.
Does Your Infrastructure Support a Low-Flow Toilet?
Low-flow toilets require a certain layout to work effectively. Since low-flow toilets involve less water volume per flush, they don’t operate well if there is not a proper drain slope to carry the solid waste into the sewer. Older homes that were built to accommodate a pre-1980 toilet, may not have an adequate drain slope, and some may even have a negative slope. Low-flow toilets simply don’t produce enough forceful output to make it uphill.
You’ll know your plumbing infrastructure is failing to support a low-flow toilet if you suffer from repeated toilet backups. You can also lift the toilet off the floor – if you see standing water in the drain pipe, it is likely that your drain slope is not right for this energy-saving toilet.
How a Plumber Can Help
Don’t worry; if you notice signs that your infrastructure is not supporting a low-flow toilet, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. A plumbing expert can typically correct this by installing a fixture that implements a pressure-assisted flush, which uses water pressure to charge a compressed-air tank inside the toilet tank. This is often all it takes to create more flush force in the pipes without adding water volume.
For more tips on how to energy-efficient toilets or to schedule a low-flow toilet installation, call Covenant Plumbing.