Water-saving toilets can save you money

LOS ANGELES Consumer Reports says buying a toilet has gotten a lot more complicated.

"First, you've got to decide between gravity-flush and pressure-assisted models. And, while most use the standard 1.6 gallons per flush, you'll find more and more that are designed to use even less water - including dual-flush models," said Bob Markovich, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports went to great lengths to find the best performers. In all, testers evaluated 25 toilets. Testers filled the bowls with blue dye to see how well the toilets remove liquid. Then they flushed.

"You want a toilet that removes all the blue dye and replaces it with fresh water," said Markovich.

The Toto UltraMax 2, equipped with a water-saving 1.28-gallon tank, couldn't get the job done.

"It took two flushes or 2.6 gallons. So much for saving water," said Markovich.

And some dual-flush toilets that tout water-saving didn't do a great job either. To assess solid waste removal, testers filled toilets with 160 plastic balls, two latex cylinders, and seven sponges weighted with screws.

One of the toilets was clogged almost half the time. When all the tests were done, Consumer Reports named several Best Buys.

Among them the Gerber Avalanche for $300. It has a standard 1.6 -gallon tank. A second toilet, the Kohler Cimarron, uses even less water, and also costs $300.

If you don't know if it's worth repairing your broken toilet Consumer Reports says it depends. Toilets installed before 1995 waste a lot of water, as many as 3.5 gallons or more per flush, so you want to replace those.

  • Link: SoCal Water Smart (.PDF)
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