Long showers or leaving the water running while brushing your teeth may be thought to be the most wanton waste of water, but the real guzzler of the house is the toilet. Each household member flushes the toilet four or more times daily on average, accounting for more than 20 gal per person. If the toilets in the house were installed before 1994, they account for 40% of the household’s total use of water.
Today homeowners have options to save water. In fact, there are two. Caroma, an Australian company, has dual flush toilets that feature two buttons: one for liquid waste, the other for solid waste. It works on the theory that less water is needed to rid the bowl of liquid than solids. The buttons provide a direct-to-the-consumer means to further conserve water each time the toilet is flushed. Choose to use either .8 or 1.6 gal. The average of the two— .95 gpf— makes a dual flush model the most water-conscious toilet on the market today.
It is a concept made effective by redesigning the flushing technology and enlarging the trapway to nearly double that of the industry average. The look of Caroma toilets is similar to traditional toilets, but inside they function on a unique principle that has allowed the brand to develop a worldwide reputation as the water-saving toilet that is nearly impossible to clog.
There are an estimated 100 million toilets in the U.S. still guzzling 3.5 to 7 gal of water each time they are flushed, well above the 1.6 maximum set by the National Energy Policy Act for toilets sold after 1994. The initial rush by domestic manufacturers to comply with the mandate for low-flush toilets resulted in a spate of toilets that did not perform well. Multiple flushes were often necessary, negating the water savings, and early models were plagued with clogging.
Today’s marketplace is eager to conserve water, but demands efficiency in performance, too. The latest plumbing lingo now includes HET and MaP. A high efficiency toilet has an even higher standard in water usage, reducing flow to 1.28 gal per flush. All HETs are scored for flushing efficiency. The maximum performance score is the best measure yet of a water saving toilet that functions effectively.
Dual flush technology is now one of the leading technologies all over the world, just not yet in North America. But, consumers here are starting to learn about the two button toilet from Down Under, which puts the household toilet way down the list in the water-waster category—well behind the washer, faucets and shower (even short ones).