Toilet Basics: Understanding Toilet Styles, Water Usage, and How they Work! (part 1 of 2)

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of a bathroom remodel or you just need to replace your outdated or inefficient toilet, you may be wandering the aisles of a home store or browsing your computer wondering things like:

  • Which toilet is right for my bathroom?
  • What does gpf mean?
  • Do I need a one or two piece toilet?
  • Can I save money on my water bill?
  • And what’s the difference between all these toilets anyway?

American Standard ToiletNever fear!  We’re here to give you a two part easy-to-understand series in toilet basics, including types, sizes, and flushing systems, so that you leave with a clearer understanding of what you really want and need in a toilet!

Types of Toilets and How they Work:

  • Gravity Fed: The most common type of toilet is the gravity-fed model, which uses, well, gravity.  It relies on the weight of the water and the head pressure (how high the water is in the tank) to flush.  A gravity fed toilet has free-standing water sitting in the tank.
  • Pressure-Assist : The lesser used pressure-assist toilet depends on air pressure within a cylindrical vessel, inside the toilet tank.  Air inside the vessel forces a vigorous, rapid flush.
  • Dual Flush: A dual flush toilet is a type of gravity fed toilet.  Dual-flush toilets give users two flush options: tilt the handle up for liquid waste to save water, or push the handle down for a standard flush.  Dual-flush toilets often meet the HET (high efficiency toilet) criteria of averaging 1.28 gallons per flush or less (an average based on one high flush and two low flushes).

Toilet Technology and Water Use:  Recent toilet technology has allowed toilets to use less water than ever.  That term that keeps popping up in toilet descriptions, gpf, stands for gallons of water per flush, and is a measure to help identify water usage.  Toilets manufactured before 1980, not uncommon in many homes that haven’t gone through a bathroom remodel, usually need 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush (gpf), and toilets from the 1980s to 90s typically use 3.5 gpf.  In 1992, the U.S. government mandated that toilets use no more than 1.6 gpf, changing modern design and manufacturing.

It’s easy to see why replacing older toilets with the newer models can result in significant water and sewer savings.  Replacing a 3.5- or 5-gpf toilet with a 1.6-gpf toilet can save about 9,740 to 17,300 gallons of water per year.  Meaning today’s high-efficiency toilets use less water than ever, yet outperform many of the older, water-guzzling ones.

*Next month look for more details on toilet trends, installation, and more!*

Need assistance with your Anoka, Blaine, Elk River, or North West Metro / Twin Cities, MN toilet installation or bathroom remodel?  Connect with us at Nowthen Plumbing today!

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