Saving Water with a New Toilet

Water it’s the key to life. Over the human span water has been the most fought over resource and it is one of the most important resources for sustaining life on this planet.


Look for the WaterSense certification

Access to clean potable water is a requirement for a happy and healthy life.  Water is essential to grow the food that we eat. Water is critical to meeting our energy needs either as part of generating electricity at power plants or for use with activities like hydro-fracking and to extract non-conventional oil and natural gas from tar sands.

Even in regions where water is plentiful it is important to conserve water because transporting and treating water requires a lot of energy.  In fact, 3% of the US’s total energy use goes into transporting and treating potable and waste water.

How to conserve water

You can do a number of easy things to save water around your home. Some are simple and free, such as turning off the water while brushing your teeth or taking 5 minute showers.  Others involve some basic plumbing upgrades like installing low flow showerheads and faucet aerators.   You can also upgrade your toilet to use a lot less water. I boldly told Alicia that I could upgrade our toilet by myself, and it was even easier than I expected.

In the US,  26.7% of household water use is literally flushed down the toilet. Indoor plumbing is a wonderful thing, but it is also why we use dramatically more water than people who do not have the luxury.  There is hope for us though, we can now have the luxury and significantly reduce our water consumption too.  Older toilets use between 3.5-7 gallons per flush (gpf) while a good WaterSense toilet uses less than 1.6 gpf.  If your toilet was made before 1992, it likely uses a lot more water than necessary and takes longer to fill up than a modern toilet.  A leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water per day, which is over 70,000 gallons wasted down the drain a year.

Our Old Toilet & Plunger

Our Old Toilet & Plunger

Just like the cobbler’s kids that went barefoot, we had a toilet that wasted water.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a leak, but sometimes the flusher wouldn’t completely reset and the water would run until we jiggled the button (handle).  The family got very good at noticing when the water was running for too long and jiggling the button to make it stop. It is not possible to educate everyone who comes to visit and it is really embarrassing to try to explain such a thing to our guests.

Another problem we’ve had is that our toilet gets clogged too often. Our solution has been to keep the plunger next to the toilet and it was being used at least 3 times a week. 🙁

Upgrading our Toilet

It has taken us longer than I’d like to admit to fix this problem, partially because our water usage is low compared to the average family, but also because I was a bit scared to replace a toilet and the cost quoted by a plumber was over $500 installed. Another challenge was figuring out which model to get because our bathroom is pretty small and I thought we might need an extra small unit to fit the space.  I’ve been considering several popular brands but the options and price range have been overwhelming.

man showing community how to convert open latrine to a closed latrine

#FlushForGood photo provided by American Standard

Then we were contacted to help promote the Flush for Good campaign sponsored by American Standard.   For every Champion toilet sold, American Standard will donate one sanitary pan for a developing country. This seemed like the perfect reason to focus in on one brand and do some good at the same time.  Limiting myself to one brand made choosing very easy.  After some quick research on the American Standard Champion 4 Max,  I was very excited by what I read.  Hopefully I will never have a chance to test the flushing of a bucket of golf balls, but a toilet that doesn’t clog several times a week would be awesome.  We selected the American Standard Champion 4 Max 1.28 gpf.  For more advice on doing the actual swap check out some of the how-to videos available through places like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

I purchased the toilet for pickup on a Saturday morning, having ordered it the night before from my hardware store through eBates. After I brought it home I went through the instructions online for removal and installing the new toilet (Alicia suggests that you may want to review these before purchasing the new toilet) and within an hour and a half had a newly installed toilet.  ProTip: Check under the lid of the toilet seat for installation instructions (this tip would have saved me the 20 minutes I spent looking for the instructions on-line).

Our New Toilet

New American Standard 1.28 gpf Toilet

The no-tools installation and the very simple and clear instructions that came with the toilet made it easy to install.

After 2 days we’re thrilled with the new toilet. It’s just amazing how toilets have changed in the past decade or so. The old toilet was a very low grade toilet.  It worked, but as I mentioned earlier, it clogged way too often.

Happy Saving Water!

DISCLOSURE – We received promotional  support from American Standard for writing this blog and they are supporting the giveaway of two $200 gift cards we will be doing in the next month or two.  We only promote things we support.  You can read more about our review policies here.

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  1. I’ve been thinking about new ones for a while for this reason. Thanks for the info 🙂

  2. We should always buy specific bathroom plumbing items which are designed according to International standards to prevent water wastage. Conventional Toilet flush uses 5-6 gallons water per flush but standard toilet uses 1.6 gallon water per flush so we can save a lot of water and money by investing one time for new toilet. South Coast Sales heating plumbing supplies offer wide range of toilet flush and accessories designed according to international standards.

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