The extended drought in California has resulted in the development of a number of controls on water usage. One of the major uses of water is toilets. Californians flush away 433 billion gallons per year through toilets and urinals and running faucets. Flushing a toilet uses 30 percent of water utilized indoors in the typical U.S. home.

In 2015, California legislated water limitations lowering the sale or installation of toilets to no more than 1.28 gallons per flush, down from 1.6 gallons. These new standards will eventually save 105 billion gallons of water a year. While new installations are required to meet the new standard, there is good reason to consider replacing existing toilets.

Purchasing a low-flow toilet earns substantial water savings for a homeowner — ranging from 1.9 to 7 gallons (7 to 26 liters) per flush reducing use of bathroom water by 50 percent. Saving water with a low-flow toilet can reduce utility costs by about $78 per year. Buying and installing a low-flow toilet does demand a small financial outlay of $100 or more, but that investment can often be recouped within a year and a half.

Not only do the newer designed low flow toilets save money, they work better. To meet the new standards manufacturers created new structures for water flow with either gravity or pressure assist.

Gravity toilets clear waste when water is released, dropping from the tank and flushing through the bowl. Gravity drives the waste out of the bowl. Pressure-assisted toilets compress a pocket of air, to energize the release. The air is compressed within a vessel inside the tank each time it refills. Pressure-assisted toilets are noisier than gravity-fed models and are more expensive, starting at more than $150 versus $75 or more for gravity-fed models.

Customer satisfaction surveys show that today’s low-flow and high efficiency toilets perform far better than the water-wasters (3.5 gallons and more) which were standard until the 1990s.

To make it easier to buy a low-flow toilet, many utilities and cities are offering significant rebates and vouchers to those who buy them rebate to owners of commercial and multi-family dwellings who purchase dual flush high efficiency toilets. SoCal Water offers a $40 rebate. The Cal Water offers a searchable rebate tool for up to date rebate programs. Many local water districts offer substantial rebate programs for homeowners and contractors. Save water – Save money – Feel more flush – Go LowFlow!