WaterSense Toilet upgrade

This past Sunday, Hubby and I spent the day buying and installing a new toilet for our upstairs bath. We weren’t planning on investing in such a home improvement just yet, but we were forced into it. 

When EcoMaids came for their first cleaning, they found a slow leak outside the toilet…who knows how long it had been dripping! We attempted to fix it, and thought we had…until a few months later they returned to find the leak was back…apparently none of us pay much attention to the space behind our toilet! But then last week EcoMaids returned to find the leak dripping even faster! We were tired of trying to trouble shoot ourselves, and since our toilet was an old water hog, we didn’t feel it was even worth calling a plumber.

So, the only question was, which toilet should we buy?

We new that we wanted a WaterSense certified toilet (they are actually third party tested). But I got some advice from my friends in the Portland Water Bureau’s conservation group. I know they can’t endorse any particular brand or company, but they suggested A-Boy Plumbing, and mentioned Toto among the top rated brands. (Since purchasing/posting I found a NW Renovation article on choosing a toilet by the owner of A-Boy). I also asked if there was any other feature I should look for in a dual flush toilet. I was a little surprised to learn that dual flush toilet may not necessarily be that much more efficient than the new High Efficiency Toilets. But it made sense to me that initial research is showing the when you average out the .8/1.6 flush with a 1.28 gallon single flush, it’s pretty much a wash. 

This was happy news, since we didn’t really want to spent a ton on a toilet. There was really cheap (under $150) dual flush model, but once we started talking with the sales woman about what you get for your money, we opted for an affordable higher end toilet. Later I spoke with a friend, and she told me about a retched toilet nightmare that wasn’t fully enameled, so I’m already glad about your choice to avoid the plumber/plunger at all cost!

We chose the Toto Eco-Drake. Lucky for us the round bowl cost less, and this was all our bathroom could fit. We were instantly sold on the  slow self-closing, non-pinching model,  given that our old toilet seat was a heavy one that would crash regularly. This will be ideal for young kids!  It cost us $267, including the SoftClose seat and the $3 wax ring.  

Our real savings came from installing the toilet ourselves.  Our research showed that Lowe’s would charge you $198.  Neither Hubby or I are very mechanical, but it was really straight forward. We watch a 4 min how-to video, and followed the basic directions. It took until around an hour, and we even managed to finish the job with Girly giggling on top of us while tightening the tank to the bowl!  It feels really good to get the project done at almost half the initial price.

But we will also see long term savings in our water/sewer bill, and this  Toilet Fact Sheet estimates that in Portland the savings for a family of four could be $300 a year…just like our insulation, it makes me wish we had done this sustainable home improvement sooner.

Also, in case all you need is to fix your toilet, here are some helpful how-to videos.

Have you invested in a High Efficiency Toilet yet?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

3 thoughts on “WaterSense Toilet upgrade

  1. Ms. Miel

    Way to DIY! That can often be one of the best savings tips around. I’m also in agreement with wishing to make eco improvements sooner than later. You’ll thank yourself for it.



  2. pottygirl

    Toilets account for approx. 30% of water used indoors. By installing a Dual Flush toilet you can save approx. 40% of water being flushed down the toilet, compared to a standard, modern 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush) model. If your toilet has been installed prior to 1994, you are using 3.5 gallons or more each single flush. The water savings you can achieve by upgrading to a Dual Flush toilet are substantial. By reducing your water usage, you are also reducing the cost of your water bill!!
    If you are serious about saving water, want a toilet that really works and is affordable, I highly recommend installing a Caroma Dual Flush toilet. They offer a patented dual flush technology consisting of a 0.8 Gal flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 Gal flush for solids. On an average of 5 uses a day (4 liquid/ 1 solid) a Caroma Dual Flush toilet uses an average of 0.96 gallons per flush. The new Sydney Smart uses only 1.28 and 0.8 gpf, that is an average of 0.89 gallons per flush. This is the lowest water consumption of any toilet available in the US. Caroma, an Australian company set the standard by giving the world its first successful two button dual flush system in the 1980’s and has since perfected the technology. With a full 3.5″ trap way, these toilets virtually never clog. All 47 floor mounted models are on the list of WaterSense labeled HET’s (High Efficiency toilets) http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/find_het.htm and qualify for the various toilet rebate programs available in the US. Please visit my blog http://pottygirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/what-you-should-know-about-toilets/
    to learn more or visit http://www.ecotransitions.com/howto.asp to see how we flush potatoes with 0.8 gallons of water, meant for liquids only. Best regards, Andrea Paulinelli


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