If you’ve been looking for a new toilet, you might have noticed that some models have an EPA WaterSense certification label. Especially for those who care about the environment or simply want to cut down on monthly water expenses, selecting a WaterSense certified toilet makes all the difference. Curious to learn more? Read on to discover what WaterSense is, how it works, and all the specifics to look for for your next toilet.
Table of Contents
- WaterSense Explained
- How Does WaterSense Help?
- Recommended Maintenance Tips for Different Types of Toilets
- Flushometer Toilets with Smart Flush Technology
- Final Thoughts
Sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA, WaterSense is a partnership program and a label for water-efficient products. The WaterSense certification was introduced to help save water and preserve the environment.
Basically, the WaterSense label makes it effortless to find water-efficient products because it marks appliances that meet specific EPA standards related to water efficiency and performance. For example, WaterSense certified appliances use at least 20% less water compared to similar products without the label.
Smart Flush Technology
According to EPA requirements, the maximum flush volume for toilets with the WaterSense label is 1.28 gallons, which applies to both single and dual-flush toilets. With a minimum flush volume of a single gallon, plumbing systems with WaterSense smart flush qualifications should still function fully.
Flush Performance Criteria
To test if a toilet meets EPA WaterSense standards without compromising on performance, engineers use a test substance that the toilet needs to flush in a single flush in four or five attempts. Only models that successfully flush the waste receive the WaterSense label.
The test substance consists of seven specimens made from soybean paste in a sausage shape, around 50 grams each. Note that the test only applies to single-flush toilets and to the full flush option of dual-flush toilets.
WaterSense for Commercial Toilets
For commercial purposes, WaterSense-labeled toilets make even more sense because commercial toilets are used so often. Therefore, buying a WaterSense-labeled toilet will save you a lot of money and water each month.
How Does WaterSense Help?
At the base level, using less water both reduces your monthly water fees while also helping to preserve the environment. Let’s look at some specific examples:
Showerhead: First, if you replace your existing showerhead with one with the WaterSense label, you will save around 4 gallons of water every time you take a shower, which can really add up especially if you have a large family
Faucets: Similarly, by replacing old and inefficient faucets with WaterSense models, you can save up to 800 gallons of water each year. New WaterSense faucets will provide around 30% of efficiency while maintaining the right flow rate
Irrigation: If you replace a clock-based controller with a WaterSense controller, you can save around 15,000 gallons of water each year
Toilets: Finally, WaterSense-certified toilets can decrease water consumption by 20% or more depending on your previous model
Basically, WaterSense certified products are guaranteed to consume less water while still performing well, which is beneficial for your wallet and the planet.
Recommended Maintenance Tips for Different Types of Toilets
Once you’ve decided to purchase a WaterSense toilet, we recommend some different maintenance tips based on the type of toilet. By properly maintaining your toilet, you help ensure a long lifespan and minimum repair fees in the long run.
Here are our maintenance tips for the 3 main types of WaterSense toilets:
1. Tank-Type Toilets
There are 2 common issues to look out for with tank-type toilets:
- Fill Valve Overflow: Every now and then, you should check your tank toilet’s fill valve to ensure there is no water overflow. To check the fill valve, simply take off the lid of the tank and check if the water is flowing over the top of the overflow tube. The refill water level should be below the top point of the overflow tube, so if the level is not right, you’ll need to adjust the float. If this adjustment doesn’t fix the problem, you will need to replace the fill valve. It’s important to watch out for fill valve overflow because otherwise if the valve runs constantly, it can waste up to 3 gallons of water each minute, which leads up to 4,000 gallons of water per day, or approximately $50 of the additional cost.
- Worn Flappers: You should also check for worn flappers, which you can do with what’s known as a “dye test”. Simply drop a few drops of food coloring or dye into the tank. If the dye leaks into the bowl after 10 minutes, it means that you have a flapper leak. Make sure to flush the toilet after performing the test to avoid any stains on the bowl. If your toilet does fail the dye taste, you can replace the worn flapper valve. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to replace the flapper seat or overflow tube completely. Even a small leak from a worn toilet flapper can waste around 30 gallons of water each day, which leads to almost 1,000 gallons per month. Installing a new flapper will pay off in less than 60 days, and is well worth preserving your WaterSense water efficiency.
2. Flushometer-Valve Toilets
For a flushometer toilet, the biggest issue to look out for is a worn valve. Basically, a worn valve allows more water to be used in a flush than it’s needed. These toilets are specifically rated for a certain flush volume, and using more water than needed can result in lower performance.
If you think that the valve is worn, check the diaphragm or piston valves for wear. To determine if the valve needs to be replaced, check how long it takes to complete the full flush cycle. If your toilet uses 1.6 gallons per flush, it should take up to four seconds to perform the flush. When replacing the valve, you need to make sure that it has a flush volume consistent with the specifications of your toilet.
3. Dual-Flush Toilets
For dual flush toilets, the most important maintenance step is actually education. These toilets can only achieve savings if used properly, so you should educate your family members on how a dual-flush toilet should be used. Especially if it’s your first time with a dual-flush toilet, the controls can be confusing. Overall, make sure everyone who uses the toilet knows to use a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush only for solid waste, and you’ll maximize water savings with your dual flush toilet.
Flushometer Toilets with Smart Flush Technology
Looking for even better water efficiency? Check out a flushometer-valve toilet with Smart Flush Technology! But what is exactly a flushometer? Believe it or not, you have probably used this type of toilet many times in restaurants, schools, or offices.
Most residential toilets have a water tank and use gravity to work. However, flushometer toilets use pressure from the source of water to trigger their flush instead. You can find these toilets in many public places. It might seem like new technology, but the first flushometer toilet was invented back in 1906 by William Elvis Sloan when he created a Sloan Valve Company.
There are two main types of flushometer toilets:
- Piston valves – these toilets have a molded cup known as a “piston” which is located between low and high-pressure chambers.
- Diaphragm valves – instead of a piston, these toilets have a rubber diaphragm between chambers
Both types of flushometer toilets have these two chambers which are used to trigger the powerful flush without using too much water.
Why Use a Flushometer Toilet
A toilet with a flushometer valve can save you a decent amount of water. For example, some old toilets can use as much as 6 or 7 gallons per flush, which is way too much for today’s standards. Flushometer toilets use only 1.6 gallons per flush or less.
To put these numbers in perspective, let’s say that you have a 10-story office building, with 1,000 employees. By replacing old toilets with flushometer counterparts, you will save up to $10,000 and over a million gallons of water each year.
The main drawback of flushometer toilets is that they are not compatible with every plumbing system. Also, the piping needs to be able to provide water pressure of at least 20 PSI. However, if your plumbing system is set up to support these specifications, we recommend considering a WaterSense Flushometer toilet for maximum water savings.
As you can see, a WaterSense-labeled toilet or other appliance is essential if you want to preserve the environment and save money in the long run. Especially if you own a commercial property with a lot of toilet use, installing WaterSense toilets can save you thousands of dollars each year. Even for the average family, WaterSense toilets are not expensive compared to other toilet options, which makes them a good investment in the long run for any family looking to save money and water.