What is a “high-efficiency toilet," and what can it do for you?
Q: In the past, you have talked about the benefits of HET toilets. I know they’re new to the market, and since I’ll be needing a new toilet soon, I want to know more.
A: “HET” stands for “high-efficiency toilet.” They flush with less water than a regular toilet. A new standard toilet flushes with approximately 1.6 gallons of water, and older toilets use as much as 3.5 gallons of water per flush. HETs use no more than an average of 1.3 gallons of water per flush. With this reduced water consumption, you may see an average water savings of about 4,000 gallons per year. But here’s the really good news: most HETs are designed to flush with a lot of power, combining “high efficiency” with “high performance.”
How are they able to generate that powerful flush, with less water? Well, the secret is under the tank lid. Some HETs use a “dual-flush” system where you can choose between a full-tank flush for power and a half-tank flush for savings. Other systems may include “air pressure” assistance for a jetlike flush, and new “Class 6” type toilets use a cylindrical flushing tower instead of a flapper to increase the water velocity.
The government has started the WaterSense Program, and any toilet that carries the EPA WaterSense label is certified to be a good water saver and a good flusher. Also, in many areas across the country, your local water department might give up to a $150 credit for the purchase of a new HET. Contact local authorities to find out your credit. This credit can make your new toilet project twice as efficient. It’s better to have a toilet that’s a double saver, instead of a double flusher.