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Low Flow Toilets

Toilets that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush (1.6 gpf), have been marketed in the United States since the early 1980's and are referred to as "low flow," "low flush," and "ultra low flush" toilets. Choosing one can be environmentally and economically sound since toilets use the most water in the house. According to the EPA, studies show low flow toilets save 23% to 46%, with a projection to save in excess of 7.6 billion gallons per day by 2020. The choice can also be legally sound since in most cases, new toilet installations are required to be 1.6 gpf or less. And if those reasons aren't enough, some communities even offer incentives for the replacement of older toilets with 1.6 gpf models.

There are three basic types of low flow toilets: gravity, pressure assisted, and vacuum assisted.

  • Gravity flush toilets work like standard toilets but release less water with every flush
  • Pressure assisted toilets use the water pressure in the line to compress air in a pressure tank which is released when the toilet is flushed. The downside of pressure assisted toilets is that they are noisy and more expensive
  • Vacuum assisted toilets are like those found on newer airplanes and trains. When a vacuum assisted toilet is flushed, a vacuum draws the waste and bowl rinse water into the drain. Like pressure assisted toilets, vacuum assisted toilets are also noisy and more expensive.

Although most people associated high water flow with better operation, generally speaking, low flush toilets are no more likely to clog or require a second flush than toilets using more water.

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