Energy efficient plumbing solution is a low flow toilet plumbing fixture.

High Efficiency Toilets: Save Water and Lower Your Utility Bills

With toilets using up around 30% of the water used in the average household, toilets are by far the largest source of water use in the house. Outdated, inefficient toilets’ are a major source of water waste in many homes. By swapping out these outdated toilets for WaterSense-labeled models, the US could save around 2 billion gallons every day, or almost 11 gallons per toilet in your home! You may save even more money by replacing all of the fixtures in your bathroom with WaterSense-labeled fixtures.

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High Efficiency Toilets: What are they?

Federal law in the United States mandates that new toilets consume no water than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). Beyond the norm, high efficiency toilets (HETs) utilize 1.28 gpf, saving 20% (6 liters vs. 4.8 liters). When an HET satisfies stringent performance and efficiency requirements, it can be certified by an independent testing laboratory and given the WaterSense label. To be eligible to wear the WaterSense label, HETs must successfully complete the third-party certification process.

Can High Efficiency Toilets Without Sacrificing Flushing Efficiency?

Many homeowners are worried about how well low-flow toilets work. Is the bowl cleared and cleaned with one flush? Do they make regular stops? WaterSense HET toilets combine high performance and high efficiency, unlike the original 1.6 gpf toilets. Modern toilet design allows WaterSense HETs to reduce water usage without sacrificing flushing efficiency. Because HETs are designed using computers rather than the guesswork and trial-and-error method used in earlier designs, many actually function better than regular toilets.

How Much Do HETs Save in Terms of Water and Money?

High efficiency toilets lower water and wastewater expenses, which helps you save money. An average individual flushes the toilet approximately 140,000 times in their lifetime. If you install a WaterSense HET toilet, you can save four thousand gallons annually, and your kids can save around one-third of a million gallons during their lifetimes. Throughout the toilet’s lifetime, a family of four can save $2,000 by switching out their single 3.5 gpf toilet, manufactured between 1980 and 1994, for a WaterSense model. 

The savings would be much higher if the toilet had been manufactured before 1980 because it used five gallons per flush.

Choose a High Efficiency Toilet with the WaterSense Label!

A WaterSense-labeled HET is your best option whether you are renovating a bathroom or upgrading your current toilet. If every American home replaced even one outdated toilet with a modern HET, we could save about one trillion (spelled with a T) gallons of water annually—more than two weeks’ worth of water flowing over Niagara Falls!

WaterSense labeled Products Avoid Water Waste, Water Conservation, High efficiency toilets

Fact About High Efficiency Toilets

In 1999, toilets consumed 45.2 gallons of water a day. By 2016, the Water Research Foundation reported that the figure had dropped to 33.1. The transition of businesses and homeowners to high-efficiency toilets is mostly responsible for this decline.

How do Different Kinds of Toilets Compare to Those in the Past?

Before 1980, toilets required 5-8 gallons of water to flush. From the early 1980s, toilets required 2.5 to 3.6 gallons per flush, equivalent to nine thousand to thirteen thousand gallons of water annually. 

Compare that to the annual usage of a high efficiency toilet, which is reduced to 2,300–2,900 gallons by using only 1.28–1.6 gallons every flush. Those numbers are staggering!

Did You Think Those Toilets Were Obsolete? Think Again!

According to recent estimates, the United States has approximately 330 million people. Based on household and population data, the number of toilets in the U.S. is estimated to be around 300 million. 

Older toilets, those using between 3.5 and 8 gallons per flush, were predominantly installed before the 1990s and before. Although newer, water-efficient toilets have become more common, many older models are still in use. As of current estimates, about 30-40% of toilets in U.S. homes still use more than 3.5 gallons per flush. 

Using these percentages, the number of older toilets in use is roughly estimated as follows: Lower Estimate (30%): 30% of 300 million toilets = 90 million toilets. Upper estimate (40%): 40% of 300 million toilets = 120 million toilets. Therefore, it is estimated that between 90 million and 120 million toilets in the U.S. still use between 3.5 and 8 gallons per flush.

Your Toilet WaterSense Labeled Product, High efficiency toilets

The Number of Toilets and Water Usage in the United States

U.S. Population Estimate 

The current population of the United States is estimated to be around 341 million people in 2024. This estimate is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Worldometer​.

Estimated Number of Toilets in the U.S.  

The estimated 300 million toilets in the U.S. are derived from average household data and population statistics. This number reflects the assumption that each household has more than one toilet on average.

Older Toilets (3.5-8 gallons per flush) 

Toilets installed before the 1990s, which use between 3.5 and 8 gallons per flush, still account for a substantial portion of toilets in use today. According to various estimates, about 30-40% of toilets in U.S. homes still fall into this category​ ​.

The Number of Older Toilets That are Still in Use 

  • Lower Estimate (30%): 30% of 300 million toilets = 90 million toilets
  • Upper Estimate (40%): 40% of 300 million toilets = 120 million toilets

Therefore, it is estimated that there are between 90 million and 120 million toilets in the U.S. that still use between 3.5 and 8 gallons per flush.

These estimates highlight the potential for significant water savings by replacing older, inefficient toilets with modern, high efficiency models.

Below are Some of the Best-Rated High Efficiency Toilets That Perform Extremely Well 

American Standard H2Option Siphonic Dual Flush 

This toilet is praised for its powerful flushing mechanism and dual-flush feature, which uses only 0.92 gallons for a partial flush and 1.28 gallons for a full flush. It also features a glazed trapway to prevent clogs and a PowerWash rim to ensure thorough cleaning.​ 

WOODBRIDGE Dual-Flush Elongated One-Piece Toilet 

This toilet is known for its modern design and high efficiency; it comes with a dual-flush system that conserves water, using just 1.28 gallons per flush for solids and 0.8 gallons for liquids. It’s a great value with luxury features at a mid-range price.​ construction

TOTO Eco Ultramax One-Piece Toilet 

This model offers a sleek design and an efficient, powerful flush using just 1.28 gallons per flush. Its seamless structure makes it simple to clean, and it includes a soft-close seat for added convenience.​ 

Kohler Highline Arc Toilet 

Featuring Kohler’s class 5 flushing technology, this toilet provides a strong and efficient flush at 1.28 gallons per flush. Its compact round bowl design makes it suitable for smaller bathrooms.​ 

Glacier Bay 2-Piece High Efficiency Toilet 

This affordable model uses only 1.28 gallons per flush and is designed for easy DIY installation. Its round bowl makes it a good fit for smaller bathrooms, and it includes all necessary installation hardware.​ 

These high-efficiency toilets help conserve water, offer reliable performance, and offer various features to suit different needs and preferences.

Eco-Friendly Plumbing Products

When Buying a High Efficiency Toilet (HET), Below are Some Key Tips 

Water Usage, High Efficiency Toilet Uses Less than 1.28 GPF

Look for the WaterSense label, which indicates the toilet uses 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) and meets strict performance standards. This can help you save water and reduce utility bills.

Flush Performance the MaP Testing Score 

Check the Maximum Performance (MaP) testing score. A 600-gram or higher score indicates strong flushing performance, confirming waste is cleared with each flush​. What is a MaP testing score? Click here.

Toilet Type, One Piece or Two

Decide between a one-piece or two-piece toilet. One-piece toilets are easier to clean due to fewer crevices, while two-piece toilets are generally more affordable and easier to install.

Bowl Shape, Round or Oval 

Consider the bowl shape—elongated bowls provide more comfort but take up more space, while round bowls are more compact and suitable for smaller bathrooms​.

Make Sure it Has a Comfortable Height 

Look for a toilet with a comfortable height. Standard height toilets are around 15 inches from the floor to the seat, while comfort height toilets are 17 to 19 inches, which can be easier to use for taller individuals and those with mobility issues​. 

Additional Features Like Dual Flush 

Modern HETs may include features like dual-flush options (offering a choice between a full flush for solids and a partial flush for liquids), self-cleaning functions, or bidet attachments for added convenience and hygiene​ .

Easy Installation and Maintenance 

Choose a model that is easy to install and maintain. Some toilets have all the necessary installation hardware and instructions, making DIY installation simpler. Also, consider the availability of replacement parts and ease of maintenance.

Aesthetic and Design Like Color and Style 

Make sure the toilet’s design and color match your bathroom decor. Toilets are available in various styles and finishes to suit different preferences.

Upgrade to a WaterSense-labeled Toilet

These toilets use 1.28 gallons or less per flush, are certified for high performance, and can save a family 20 to 60 percent on toilet water usage.

A High Efficiency Toilet Contributes to Water Conservation and Reduces Your Water Bill

With these tips in mind, you can choose a high efficiency toilet that meets your needs for performance, comfort, and water savings. The WaterSense label confirms that these toilets meet strict performance standards, providing reliable and effective flushing while conserving water. Additionally, modern HETs come with various features, such as dual-flush options, comfort height, and advanced flushing technologies, making them a practical and eco-friendly choice for any home.

Investing in a high efficiency toilet contributes to water conservation efforts and benefits from reduced water bills and improved toilet performance. Remember to also check for leaks regularly to prevent water wastage. Overall, HETs are a smart and sustainable choice for the future.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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