« Building Green in Michigan | Main | Top Ten Job Hunting Tips to Avoid Scams »
Thursday
Dec172009

Low Water Use Toilets

Nearly everyday we hear about the need to conserve the amount of water we use in our homes. The largest water usage fixture in the average house is the toilet. Low-flow toilets using 1.6 GPF (gallons per flush) were mandated by the federal government with dismal performance results.Over the years manufacturers have responded to the need to reduce water use and performance complaints by developing a variety of low water use toilets. Toilets fall into three primary categories:

  1. Dual Flush
  2. Power Assist
  3. Composting

Each class of toilet has advantages and disadvantages.

Dual Flush Toilets

Advantage: These toilets have two activation levers, one for liquid waste and one for solid waste. The soild waste activation discharges twice the amount of water when compared to the liquid waste cycle. Caroma, the pioneering Australian manufacturer of dual flush toilets, uses 1.6 GPF and 0.8 GPM depending on activation choice. The overall average between the two choices ensures less than 1.1 GPF composite average. Other manufacturers offering dual flush technology have similar water savings advantages.

Disadvantage: While the low flow toilets typically have a larger throat to reduce the potential for blockages associated with low water use and high solid content they do not address the waste pipe potential for developing obstrutions. Depending on waste line type (cast iron, PVC, Copper) a long horizontal run can develop obstructions resulting from inadequate water volume to carry the waste to sewer or septic system. This typically happens when occupants use the half flush option with solid wastes.

Power Assist

Advantage: Low water use toilets that are classified as power assist have a pressure tank in the water tank. When activated by the flush handle the pressure tank forces water under pressure into the bowl allowing less water to be used to remove the waste. Another benefit to power assist toilet technology is adaptability to existing toilets. Retrofit units can be installed in many older style toilets allowing for a low cost upgrade to existing homes.

Disadvantage: The pressure assist units can be very noisy. Not great for a quiet household in the middle of the night. Some folks might be embarrassed by a noisy toilet when company is in the home or if they are trying to be discrete. Since they are a mechanical device they are prone to breakdowns. This is especially true if you have a private water system with hard water.

Composting Toilets

Advantage: Can be used in remote locations/buildings that do not have a suitable sewage system (polebarns, basements, cabins, cottages, etc.). Composting toilets allow for the collection of human waste without the use of water (unless you have a central collection tank and a long pipe run). The waste collects in a composting bin where it dehydrates and composts. It can be used without electrical power but is more effective if it has a small fan to prevent odors and heater to speed up the composting process.

Disadvantages: Composting toilets are very expensive. At $2000 it will give pause to the casual environmentalist. They require periodic compost removal (similar to ash removed from a pellet stove) which might be a drawback to some consumers. The look is less stylish than we are used to and there are limited options for the central collection ssytem.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (55)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Gama's Landscaping
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: ratemyarea.com
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    I found a great...
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: saleh stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Saleh Stevens
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Rashmi Patel DDS
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: 42nd street photo
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Going On this page
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: reddit.com
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Suresh Babu Gaddam
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Phil St Ores
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Brian Poe
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Brian Poe
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: ~oWHgce2OjRWvTT
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Amazon.com
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: UK Models
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Corey Park
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Corey Park
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Corey Park
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Corey Park
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Corey Park
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets
  • Response
    Response: Eric Gonchar
    AskTheGeneral - Building Green - Low Water Use Toilets

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>