WaterSense High-Efficiency Toilet Rebate FAQs
WaterSense high-efficiency toilets use a maximum of 1.28 gallons per flush. The
WaterSense label is used on toilets that are certified by independent laboratory testing to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency.
Low-flow toilets, also known as ULFT (ultra low-flow toilets), differ in that they cannot be WaterSense certified and they use a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush, so they do not save as much water as a high-efficiency toilet.
WaterSense, a program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is helping consumers identify high-performance, water-efficient toilets that can reduce water use in the home and help preserve our Nation’s water resources. The WaterSense label is used on toilets that are certified by independent laboratory testing to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency. WaterSense toilets not only use at least 20 percent less water than the current federal standard of 1.6 gallons per flush; they also provide equal or superior performance. After the widespread toilet disappointment of the late 1990’s, WaterSense is careful to advocate only the best in toilet technology. WaterSense toilets are truly the best of all worlds.
Dual-flush high-efficiency toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush for a full flush and 0.8 gallons per flush for the reduced flush. Studies show that dual-flush toilets average 1.3 gallons per flush. Pressure-assist toilets use a little under 1 gallon per flush.
The U.S. EPA estimates that if you replace your home’s older toilets with WaterSense labeled models, you can save 4,000 gallons per year, indefinitely. The National Association of Homebuilders reports that while toilet tank components require some maintenance, toilet fixtures themselves have an unlimited lifespan.
After the performance troubles of first generation low-flow toilets of the late 1990’s, concerns of needing to double and triple flush water-saving toilets have haunted the toilet industry. The U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program has set high performance standards to cast aside these concerns. Design advances have enabled WaterSense labeled toilets to save water with no trade-off in flushing power. In fact, many outperform standard toilets in consumer testing. For performance specification details, please visit www.epa.gov/watersense/ and select “High-Efficiency Toilets.”
The facts below shows how much water a typical family of four can save in a year, based on the type of toilet in the household, if it replaces them with WaterSense high-efficiency models.
A pre-1980 model using 7 gallons per flush saves almost 42,000 gallons / year
A pre-1980 model using 5 gallons per flush saves almost 30,000 gallons / year
A post-1980 model using 3.5 gallons per flush saves over 16,000 gallons / year
A post 1990 model using 1.6 gallons per flush saves over 2,000 gallons / year
The high-efficiency toilet market is expanding rapidly. Four technologies have emerged in high-efficiency toilet design: dual-flush, pressure-assist, single-flush gravity, and flushometer valve. Dual-flush and pressure-assist are most common.
A dual-flush high-efficiency toilet is a gravity-flush toilet that saves water by offering different flush volumes: a full-flush for solids and a half-flush for liquids.
The pressure-assist high-efficiency toilet has a sealed compartment inside the tank that contains air and becomes pressurized when water from the supply line fills the compartment. When the flush button is pressed, pressurized air exerts force on the water in the compartment and water shoots into the bowl. The pressure-assist fixture creates a fast flush with a “wooshing” sound. What they lack in quietness, they make up for in water savings. Although these toilets will be slightly louder than standard gravity-flush toilets, they use just under 1 gallon per flush.
What are some things I’ll need to consider before replacing my toilets with WaterSense high-efficiency toilets?
Finding a WaterSense High-efficiency Toilet
Visit your local or online home improvement store armed with a current list of approved WaterSense high-efficiency toilets from the WaterSense website. If you would like the list mailed to you, please call us at 253-6859. Ask the retailer for high-efficiency toilets (1.28 gallons per flush or less); retailers may carry WaterSense labeled toilets without being aware. On store products, look for the model numbers on your WaterSense high-efficiency toilet list. Any decimal portion and letters on products, beyond what is given on the WaterSense list, pertain to extra specifications (bowl shape, color) that are not important to the WaterSense designation of the toilet. Many high-efficiency toilets are sold in two parts, with the tank and bowl sold separately. Only the combinations of tank and bowl models on the WaterSense high-efficiency toilet list have been certified to bear the WaterSense label and are rebated by JCSA.
Noise is slightly greater for the pressure-assist type than for the dual-flush or single-flush gravity. In one study in Redwood City, California, 78 percent of customers in the residential high-efficiency toilet program were neutral, satisfied, or very satisfied about the level of flushing noise with their new high-efficiency toilet.
WaterSense labeled toilets are available in a wide variety of prices and styles. The EPA estimates that if a family of four that replaces its home’s older toilets with WaterSense labeled ones, it will save, on average, roughly $1,000 over the next 10 years – enough for the WaterSense high-efficiency toilet to pay for itself within a few years.
Testing for the WaterSense program shows that there is no correlation between price and performance of a high-efficiency toilet. WaterSense labeled toilet prices can range from less than $100 to over $1,000, much of the variation due to style alone. In this region, WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilets cost anywhere from about $250 to $750.
Drainline & Sewer Problems
Since the introduction of the low-flow 1.6 gallons-per-flush toilet in the early 1990’s, questions have been raised about whether water-saving toilets flush with a sufficient volume of water to move solid wastes through the building drainlines and the municipal sewer system. To date, there has been no evidence that waste transport problems occur due to low-flow toilets.
The introduction of high-efficiency toilets in the late 1990s precipitated the same concerns. As a result, a collaboration of water utilities sponsored a full laboratory study to address the issue. The drainline study, completed in 2004, concluded that high-efficiency toilets flushing with as little as 1 gallon provide sufficient water in residential and commercial applications to move the waste from the fixtures to the sewer.
The transport of waste through municipal sewer lines has not become a problem in areas with a concentration of high-efficiency toilets. Supplementary wastewater flows from other water uses are always sufficient to move solids through the system.
A word of caution when installing in degraded or sensitive sewer situations: high-efficiency toilets must meet the very same flushing performance and drainline waste transport requirements as all other toilets sold in the United States and Canada. All toilets, regardless of flush volume, may experience problems when installed in locations with degraded or damaged drainline systems, for example, root intrusion, sagging or broken lines, buildup of solids, or very long drainline runs with no additional sources of wastewater near the toilet fixture. Water customers are recommended to consult a plumbing expert and exercise caution when considering high-efficiency toilet installation in one of these situations.
6540 Mooretown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188
Lowe’s Home Improvement
801 E Rochambeau Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23188
Noland can order WaterSense high-efficiency toilets.
818 Bluecrab Road, Newport News, VA 23606
The JCSA does not endorse specific brands, products, contractors, or companies. List does not denote preference. If you notice that our list is out of date, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 259-54169. JCSA reserves the right to control web content.
Several local charities accept used toilets. Some provide free pick-up.
Habitat for Humanity Peninsula ReStore accepts toilets (tank parts not necessary), which are sold at its retail outlet and fund construction of Habitat houses within the community. Some ReStore outlets raise enough funds to build ten or more houses per year.
9614 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23601
(757) 246-4955, x201 for free pickup
The JCSA does not endorse specific brands, products, contractors, or companies. List does not denote preference. If you notice that our list is out of date, please email email@example.com or call us at 259-5416. JCSA reserves the right to control web content.
If you are a resident, then you can throw out your old toilet using County bulk disposal services. Bulk disposal is available at the Convenience Center at 1204 Jolly Pond Road. One coupon charge is required. See James City County Solid Waste and Recycling for details.
In order to save additional water:
- Use a wastebasket for tissues and trash instead of flushing them down the toilet.
- Keep your toilet in top running condition. If you touch the flapper and get black ‘goo’ on your hand, the flapper needs to be replaced.
- Test for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring or some colored liquid (such as coffee or tea) in your tank and wait ten minutes. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl, you have a leak, which should be repaired immediately.
- Consider landscaping techniques from our Let’s Be Water Smart program including lawn care calendars, guides, suggested plants, and water-thrifty tips under “Resources."
- Look for the EPA’s new WaterSense label and visit their website when shopping for high-efficiency toilets, landscape irrigation services, irrigation control technologies, showerheads, and more!
- Install a rain sensor for your home irrigation system if you do not have one. This is probably the easiest action you can take to save the most water. (Check our Rain Sensor Rebate to see if you are eligible.)
- Check out our other rebates.