Efficient new toilets can save you money and water

Holidays are just around the corner and if there's one appliance that'd better be ready for the onslaught it's the toilet. While many household fixtures require repair or replacement, one that's getting renewed attention thanks to the collective green-living consciousness is the toilet. If yours is a water hog, it's a good time to think about getting a new one.

Once Upon a Potty

This image provided by NASA shows an interior view of the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module attached to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station's Harmony node. Leonardo was moved from Space Shuttle Endeavour's cargo bay and linked to the station on Monday Nov. 17, 2008 carrying two water recovery systems racks for recycling urine into potable water, a second toilet system, new gallery components, two new food warmers, a food refrigerator, an experiment freezer, combustion science experiment rack, two separate sleeping quarters and a resistance exercise device that allows station crewmembers to perform a variety of exercises.. (AP Photo/NASA)

AP

This image provided by NASA shows an interior view of the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module attached to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station's Harmony node. Leonardo was moved from Space Shuttle Endeavour's cargo bay and linked to the station on Monday Nov. 17, 2008 carrying two water recovery systems racks for recycling urine into potable water, a second toilet system, new gallery components, two new food warmers, a food refrigerator, an experiment freezer, combustion science experiment rack, two separate sleeping quarters and a resistance exercise device that allows station crewmembers to perform a variety of exercises.. (AP Photo/NASA)

AP

A guest sits on a ceramic toilets as she attends a press conference by various sanitation and hygiene concerns in front of Berlin's central railway station on November 19, 2008, on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The UN has established that some 38 percent of the world's population is living without adequate sanitation, and has called on governments to reduce that number by half by 2015. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

A guest sits on a ceramic toilets as she attends a press conference by various sanitation and hygiene concerns in front of Berlin's central railway station on November 19, 2008, on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The UN has established that some 38 percent of the world's population is living without adequate sanitation, and has called on governments to reduce that number by half by 2015. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Guests sit on ceramic toilets as they attend a press conference by various sanitation and hygiene concerns in front of Berlin's central railway station on November 19, 2008, on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The UN has established that some 38 percent of the world's population is living without adequate sanitation, and has called on governments to reduce that number by half by 2015. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Guests sit on ceramic toilets as they attend a press conference by various sanitation and hygiene concerns in front of Berlin's central railway station on November 19, 2008, on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The UN has established that some 38 percent of the world's population is living without adequate sanitation, and has called on governments to reduce that number by half by 2015. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Participants from various sanitation and hygiene concerns address a press conference while sitting on toilets in front of Berlin's central railway station on November 19, 2008, on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The UN has established that some 38 percent of the world's population are living without adequate sanitation, and has called on governments to reduce that number by half by 2015. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Participants from various sanitation and hygiene concerns address a press conference while sitting on toilets in front of Berlin's central railway station on November 19, 2008, on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The UN has established that some 38 percent of the world's population are living without adequate sanitation, and has called on governments to reduce that number by half by 2015. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

A toilet bowl turned artwork, part of a public exhibition in Brisbane, is seen in this handout picture made available November 19, 2008. Australian water engineers put on an art exhibition with a difference on Wednesday, with an open-air display of decorated toilet bowls, to raise awareness of the need to improve global sanitation. QUALITY FROM SOURCE REUTERS/Insanitation/Handout (AUSTRALIA). NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Reuters

A toilet bowl turned artwork, part of a public exhibition in Brisbane, is seen in this handout picture made available November 19, 2008. Australian water engineers put on an art exhibition with a difference on Wednesday, with an open-air display of decorated toilet bowls, to raise awareness of the need to improve global sanitation. QUALITY FROM SOURCE REUTERS/Arup Corporation/Handout (AUSTRALIA). NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Reuters

Years ago, if a plumber told you that your family's hardest working appliance needed to be replaced, you'd have had a right to be skeptical. Historically been darn near impossible for a toilet to actually break, thanks to the typically tough vitreous china and straightforward construction with replaceable moving parts.

But today, water consumption is the big issue, and if any of your home's toilets date to 1994 or earlier, you stand to save a lot of money by switching them out for the current generation of high-efficiency toilets (HETs). Worlds apart from the low-flow models that debuted in the early 1990s, these WaterSense-labeled efficient toilets provide dependable performance on 1.28 gallons of water or less per flush.

According to the EPA, a family of four that replaces higher-flow toilets with HETs stands to save an average of more than $90 per year on water bills and as much as $2,000 over the lifetime of the HETs themselves. What's more, many local utilities offer special rebates and vouchers to residents ready to make this water-saving investment.

A wide variety of HET styles and price points make it easy to find the right fit for your household, with one- and two-piece design and such features as right-height sizing and elongated bowls. To learn more about HET advantages and browse product information, visit the EPA's WaterSense website.

Tom Kraeutler is the Home Improvement Editor for AOL and co-author of My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. Tom helps listeners prevent plumbing problems each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program.


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