Low Water Use Toilets

As Lake Mead winds perilously down to the level where the long-running drought will affect Arizona water supplies, low-water-use toilets become a more attractive option for even the oldest homes. The 1.6 gallons per flush which was mandated in the nineties by then-President Bush started as a dismal project. At first, low water use toilets worked poorly, by either requiring more flushes, a plunger to free up the clog created, or, in the worst cases, a mop and bucket. Adding a brick to the toilet tank was just as bad, since toilet mechanisms were based on the number of gallons dropped from the tank during a flush. While the low water use toilet theory was sound, toilet design required some refinement!

The flush valve

Low water use technology has improved dramatically.

Low water use technology has improved dramatically.

Almost forty years later, the plumbing industry is catching up by offering much more efficient low water use toilets than previous models. In fact, some toilets, such as the American Standard Champion 4, have a 4” flush valve, which gives it some serious flush power. Low water use products have expanded to include fixtures and appliances, as well.

Savings in water and wastewater

Not only does a low water use toilet save water on every flush, but it also lowers the wastewater load, which is especially crucial for those who use a septic tank system. But, even if a home is part of a municipality, no one wants to waste water unnecessarily.

Why not just let the yellow mellow?

Some people don’t think it’s a big deal not to flush the toilet every time they use it. But, for purposes of hygiene and odor, a low water use toilet is a better option, particularly if there are curious toddlers in the home, or pets who might use the toilet as a water bowl.


The cost of more efficient toilets, appliances and fixtures continue to come down, making them an ever-increasingly attractive option to homeowners when it’s time to replace old ones. The cost of the water is not high, but water comes dear in the desert. Even though it flows freely now, it’s a limited resource and one we should conserve. Since a family’s average savings by using a low water use toilet is 12,000 gallons per year, the savings over the life of the toilet eventually makes it worthwhile.

As with all innovation, by the time that low-flush toilet needs to be replaced again, we hope something even better will be available to take their place.

If you need a licensed, bonded, insured plumber for your Phoenix area leak or your next plumbing project, call MNS Plumbing today at 602-362-4524.