Need A New Toilet? Some Thoughts to Consider

If you are thinking about upgrading to a new toilet, now is a great time to start looking. If you have a toilet from the 1990s, you are long overdue. Newer models are more hygienic, more comfortable, and much more efficient in terms of water usage. There are a lot of options to think about, so here are two of the most important items to consider:

Style

There are a variety of toilets you can choose from if you are looking to upgrade. While many of us might automatically search for a toilet that fits the color and theme of our bathroom, there is more to it than just “the look”.

Here are the basic types of toilets:

    • Pressure Assist – These toilets really know how to flush! That’s why they are generally seen in commercial buildings and institutions, like schools or public restrooms. Places that don’t have time to deal with clogs usually use pressure assist toilets. You can tell by the sound – PA toilets are much louder when they flush because there is a lot more force behind the flush. They operate with the use of a sealed inner tank. As the water refills the inner tank, air inside becomes compressed and this creates the pressure that allows for a super-strong flush. 

Pros

  • Super strong flush which means clogs are less likely to occur 
  • Pressure Assist Models available that are WaterSense certified
  • Inner tank is sealed which means that you won’t get sweating on the outside of the toilet

Cons

  • PA toilets are generally on the more expensive side – about 30% more in cost
  • Repairs can be tricky, which means they will be more expensive to fix
    • Gravity Assist – these toilets are some of the most common. They operate relatively simply. Water flows down from the tank into the bowl and flushes out the contents of the bowl. 

Pros 

  • Readily available in many looks and colors
  • Lots of high-efficiency models on the market
  • Easy to repair with parts that are generally inexpensive and readily available 

Cons

  • Many options, do research to pick one both efficient and in price range – expensive doesn’t always mean good quality
  • Less force in flush could lead to more clogs
    • Vacuum Assist – these are similar to pressure assist toilets, but they sort of work backwards. While the PA creates pressure from above to push out waste, the vacuum assist creates suction from below to pull out waste. They are able to create suction by depressurizing the trapway, or exit.

Pros

  • Much quieter flush than PA toilets
  • Very efficient, some vacuum assist toilets use less than a gallon per flush

Cons

  • New to the market, so prices and availability may vary
  • Dual Flush – these are toilets that have 2 buttons on top of the tank, instead of the traditional lever handle. They give the user the option to flush liquid waste or solid waste. By allowing a choice, water can be saved. A liquid flush would use about .8 to 1.0 gallon of water, whereas flushing solid waste would use about 1.6 gallons. There are HET models that use about 1.2 gallons for solid waste and .8 for liquid waste. These are a great way to save water – they use about 20% less per year than a traditional toilet. 

Pros

  • Uses much less water 
  • Gives choice to user
  • Many models are Watersense certified

Cons

  • Cost about 10 to 20% more than a traditional toilet (but you would eventually make that money back in savings on your water bill)

Water Efficiency

Toilet flushing accounts for about ¼ of indoor water usage in single family homes, according to the American Water Works Association. In the 1990s, toilets used about 3 and ½ gallons of water per flush, but EPA mandates require models made after 1994 to reduce water use. Most toilets today use about 1 ½ gallons of water per flush. So how do you know what toilet will help you save water, while staying sanitary? Do some research and look for toilets with “high-efficiency” (HET) ratings and the WaterSense certification from the EPA.These are models that use about 1.28 gallons per flush. You can also look for “ultra high-efficiency” toilets (UHET) – these use between 0.8 gallons and 1.1 gallons per flush. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a rebate for switching to an HET or a UHET. Checkout the EPA’s website https://www.epa.gov/watersense to see if you qualify.  

Another way to check the efficiency of a toilet is to look at it’s MaP score https://www.map-testing.com/map-search.html MaP stands for Maximum Performance and an independent test is done on each make and model to give it a score – how well the toilet deals with actually flushing waste down. They use toilet paper and a soybean paste to simulate what really goes on in the restroom. The website reviews more than 3,800 toilets so you have quite a few to choose from.

Shopping for a new toilet may seem a little overwhelming. There can be a lot of terminology that you may not be familiar with, or you may not know what option is best for your home. Give Drain Wizards a call today and we can walk you through the process – from picking the toilet all the way through to the install.

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