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 -- see website for details.]
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.
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” 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, $219 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 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, currently $199 each (in Toronto) before local rebates. (Price may vary by location and over time).