A Guide To Toilet Water Usage

There was a time when every time you flushed the toilet you could hear dollars and cents going down the drain. The gallons per flush of older toilets were horrendous, but the one thing they didn’t lack for was power.

An interesting twist over the years was how progressively weaker the toilets power has gotten compared to how it is now more efficient with water usage than it has ever been.

Although the power has come back in certain models with flushing, it has taken a long time to find the balance that everyone can agree with.

The industry standard is now 1.6 gallons per flush, and the most water-efficient toilets even gone as low as 1 gallon per flush.

You can also go lower with a composting toilet system or even a modern macerating toilet system.

It’s an evolving product that continues to get better, but do you understand the differences in toilet water usage and how it affects you?

The Old Days

Back when toilets were still trying to find a way to become more useful, they gobbled up as much as 7 gallons per flush. In a home with 3 or more people, that can easily reach 50,000 gallons of water per year just on flush.

Older toilets were very much out of touch with green standards and were more focused on getting waste down and keeping it down. Think about how much you flush per day, even the small items like a piece of paper you blew your nose with.

If you flush it instead of throwing it in the garbage bin, then that’s 7 gallons of water you’re throwing away with it.

Over the year toilets became better with their water usage, going down to 5 gallons per flush and eventually the 1.6 that everyone is on now. For the places that do have the older toilets still installed, it’s time to upgrade them and reclaim your water bill.

Here and Now

With the industry standard being 1.6 GPF, many areas offer a toilet rebate to get older users up to date.

Checking to see if such a rebate is available in your area may save you a couple of hundred dollars.

The 1.6 GPF is considered to be low-flow toilets, while the only way to get Watersense certified is to have a high-efficiency toilet that uses 1.28 gallons per flush.

These are the cream of the crop, as the certification process is rigorous and long. The lowest recorded GPF from a quality toilet is 1, and these are usually located on dual flush options.

Using any one of these newer toilets will cut your water bill down significantly, to the point that you’ll save a load per year.

And now that the power is just as good with the efficient toilets as they have ever been, there is no reason to gloss over the idea of purchasing a new toilet to replace a water-hungry older toilet.

Toilets in today’s world have the best balance of power and water savings, all at a great price.

Power VS Efficiency

As irritating as it is to have to double flush, it can be more irritating to have a sky-high water bill.

During the transition to toilets that use less water, a lot of the power was lost in the process. Over the last few years that power has come back, and technology has advanced enough to where today’s low 1.6 GPF has as much power as the water-guzzling 7 gallon flush. 

It’s a remarkable change that means you don’t have to decide between power and efficiency, but rather embrace the balance. They now work together as one, and you can have the best of both worlds.

Dual Flush Toilets

Probably one of the better deals you can grab when it comes to toilets are the top rated dual-flush toilets as they are Eco-friendly toilets that save on water usage.

Dual flush models have two buttons that let you decide how much water to use per flush. One button is considered low efficiency, while the other is considered high.

By having this low and high power option you won’t waste a heavy amount of water flushing small things that don’t need the full power of the toilet.

It’s a manual process that puts the entire flushing experience in the hands of the consumer, and it’s so simplistic that everyone will get how it works on the first try.

Dual flush toilets cost a little more than a normal toilet but pass the water savings onto you over the course of their lifetime.


Toilets are now more efficient than they have ever been, and it is thanks to advancing technology. Don’t think for a second that lower gallons per flush mean that these toilets aren’t as powerful. You can save water and get the same power you desire from your toilet, and without sacrificing anything. The biggest factor is going to come down to choosing the toilet you want. You can read our top 10 toilet guide for more information.

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Mr Handyman
Mr Handyman

Hi, My name is Charles. Also known as (Mr. Handyman)
I have been in the home improvement industry for a number of years.

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