Archive for the ‘Bathrooms’ category

Beyond the Six Litre Toilet

November 16th, 2010

Of all the exciting building subjects out there, “toilets” isn’t one of them. However, in the grand scheme of things, toilets are probably the highest water consumers in our households, so if you’re in the market for a new toilet, consider how much water (and money) you would save by getting one that uses less water than the one you currently have. In fact, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) notes that up to 200,000 litres of water per year is wasted due to leaky toilets. (Source: Household Guide to Water Efficiency)

Toronto currently offers rebates on water-friendly (low-flow) toilets. Depending on the model you choose, you can receive $60-75 per toilet, for a replacement fixture. When I first wrote about toilets a few years ago at HomeStars, the “in” toilet was the 6 litre toilet. The progression of water-saving toilets since then has been rapid. After six litre toilets, there was the introduction of “dual flush” toilets and for businesses, the “waterless urinal.” Now, however, there comes the 4.8 litre and 3 litre toilets. There are plenty of models out there, but three that were demonstrated at the Green Building Fest in September, which I’ve highlighted below. [Editor’s Note: The City of Toronto Toilet and Washing machine rebate program ended as of March 1, 2011.]

As I always recommend before setting out on your toilet purchasing journey, check with my favourite toilet publication written by a joint committee: the Canadian Waste Water Association and the California Urban Water Conservation Council. It’s a very thorough list of which toilets succeed in being both water efficient and effective waste removers.  Trust me, the effectiveness of a waste removal system is important. We have fairly good 3 year old Toto 6 litre toilets (now passé of course), but they are no match for my teenage sons and are constantly getting plugged. Finally, the CMHC offers an excellent document on what features to look for when buying a toilet. You can download it here.

Adelaide Cube Toilet Dual Flush

Caroma: An Austalian company that is a leader in dual flush technology. These toilets are available in a wide variety of styles to suit both modern and traditional bathrooms. Dual flush gives you the option of using 3 litres (0.8 US gallons) or 6 litres (1.6 US gallons). The flush design and technology is slightly different than that for traditional toilets. For complete installation instructions, check out the Caroma website. For a list of local distributors click here. Note, here is a link to a CMHC report on “Dual Flush Toilet Testing” where they tested consumers use of a Flapperless, Caroma, and Toto toilet.

Niagara Flapperless “Simcoe”

Niagara Flapperless “Simcoe” toilet: a regular looking toilet on the outside, it contains a patented flush system that’s so simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it.  The difference between the Niagara line of toilets and traditional toilets is the absence of flexible seals such as the flapper valve which means that leaks are a thing of the past. As mentioned earlier, toilet leaks through flapper valves can waste up to 200,000 litres per year. It uses 4.8 litres of water and has a MaP rating of 1000 grams. Available at Home Hardware, current cost, $174 each in Toronto before local rebates.

For more information contact Water Matrix, the Canadian distributor for Niagara Flapperless.

(Note: Home Depot sells a few models of Niagara Flapperless toilets in the US under their Glacier Bay label.)

Proficiency 3L toilet

Proficiency Ultra High Efficiency Toilet. This is a 3 litre toilet that also carries a patented flush system. It “uses a very swift and quiet, yet powerful flush with just 3 litres of water.” Its MaP rating (Maxiumum Flush Performance) is 600 grams. Available in white or biscuit, two pieces, elongated bowl with a narrow tank and “stylish flusher.”

Available at Home Hardware. (Price may vary by location and over time).

Rating System for Water Efficient Toilets

February 8th, 2010

Maybe you haven’t yet taken advantage of Toronto rebate program to switch to a new water efficient toilet. And maybe you haven’t because you’ve heard that there are many on the market that just aren’t that good — that the water pressure isn’t strong enough so you need two or three flushes — and, well, doesn’t that defeat the whole point of a water saving toilet, hmm?

Fear not. There is an organization out there called the Canadian Waster Water Association (CWWA for short), that, in combination with the California Urban Water Conservation Council, makes it its mission to test popular toilet brands for their effectiveness. I’m not kidding. And you should see the report!  It’s called “Maximum Performance (MaP) Testing of Popular Toilet Models 15th Edition.” It’s extensive and frankly, not that easy to read. But once you decipher all of their codes it becomes a little easier to read. The most important column is the fourth one which measures the values for “MaP Flush Performance (grams of solid waster removed from a toilet in a SINGLE flush).” Obviously, the higher the number, the better. The lowest number in order to qualify for MaP is 350grams. The highest flush is 1000 grams (that’s one kilogram of waste — which is a lot!).

The program tests hundreds of models of toilets — which means that using this chart can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to print off the report and take it with you when you go toilet shopping.  Appendix C has the toilets listed from worst to best in terms of solid waste removal efficiency.

If you’re not familiar with Toronto’s water efficiency program you get a $60-$75 rebate when you buy a water efficient toilet or washing machine. Retailers will help you fill out the forms for the rebate. As of 2009 they’ve changed eligible models — but most retailers are familiar with the program and will have the qualifying toilets highlighted. For specific information on the qualifying models see the website.

Hot Tip!: on February 27th and 28th from 7am-10pm, Home Depot Stores in Toronto will be offering a $75 instant rebate on City of Toronto selected toilet models. To qualify you must live within the City of Toronto and you will need to bring a water bill, government-issued photo ID, and use the in-store coupon. See the City of Toronto Water Efficiency Website for more details. It doesn’t say whether or not there is a limit to the number you can buy.

Note: this program has been discontinued. 🙁


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