If you have installed a new toilet within the last 12 years, you have a "low-flow" toilet. Federal law requires that any residential toilet manufactured after January 1, 1994 must use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). Earlier toilets used 5 to 7 gpf. Low-flow toilets save water, so you save money on your water and wastewater bill and help conserve Florida's precious water supply.
Low-flow toilets have come a long way since the early models were introduced. Early models sometimes needed more than one flush, largely eliminating the water savings the toilets were designed to provide. The newer "high performance" toilets help eliminate the need for double-flushing or keeping a plunger within arm's reach. Some of the improvements include increasing the size of the flapper valve (the hole in the bottom of the water tank) and the trapway (the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl),and glazing the trapway to reduce friction between the waste and the trapway.
Another development in the low-flow toilet market is the introduction of pressure-assisted toilets, which use the pressure in the water supply line, rather than gravity, to flush the toilet. Pressure-assisted toilets are noisier than traditional gravity toilets, however, and some users are startled by their sudden action and sound.
Dual flush toilets, which allow a full 1.6 gallon or a .8 gallon flush, are the newest option in water saving toilets. These models have been used in Europe for years and are now becoming available in the United States.
If you have resisted buying a low-flow toilet, it is now time to invest in one of the new high performance models. Low-flow toilets are a smart addition to your home, whether you want to conserve water or just save money on your water bill!