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The Times
  • Ask the Plumber: Less toilet water can flush with more power

  • Q: Hi, Ed. I often read your column and remember reading about high-efficiency toilets. I'm thinking about installing one and would like more information. How can toilets that use less water now flush with more power? Also, do these toilets install the same way as a standard toilet? -- Frank, California

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  • Q: Hi, Ed. I often read your column and remember reading about high-efficiency toilets. I'm thinking about installing one and would like more information. How can toilets that use less water now flush with more power? Also, do these toilets install the same way as a standard toilet? -- Frank, California
        
    A: In most cases, a toilet is considered high-efficiency if it uses less than 1.3 gallons per flush. That said, let's start with the second question first.
        
    Yes, most high-efficiency toilets (HETs) can be installed the same way that a standard toilet would be. So, that's good news when it comes to replacing an older water-guzzling toilet.
        
    Now to the issue of how to get less water to flush with more power.
        
    Basically, the secret is to move the water faster from the tank to the bowl, then have the bowl quickly discharge the water as well. So, increased water speed can give you more bang for the buck.
        
    With that in mind, many manufacturers of water-saving toilets have built these new toilets to flush faster. This can be done by incorporating fast-action flushing technology in the tank, and redesigning the bowl so that it holds less water and has less trap restriction.
        
    Hope this offers some guidance. However, you'll want to do some research, including asking around, before you buy an HET.
        
    Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.
        
       

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