Tricks of the Trade

How low-flow toilets benefit contractors

Robbie Foglia, a Ferguson author

by Robbie Foglia


With utility prices going up and the water supply in many areas going down, choosing to install a low-flow toilet is a smart choice for contractors. Many states have commissions and programs in place to enforce strict water regulations, such as the California Energy Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas to name two among several others. At a Federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency , or EPA, has made it easy for contractors to know which toilets will offer the most energy savings through the WaterSense label program. Any toilet that is marked with a WaterSense label is certified as a low-flow, high-efficiency toilet, or HET. While all WaterSense-labeled toilets operate with 20% less water than federally required, some toilets can now operate with considerably less water than that. Learn about the benefits of installing low-flow toilets on the job and see how simple it is to go green just by switching toilets.

Money and energy savings

Would you flush your money down the drain? It sounds absurd, but If you’re a contractor and you’re not installing low-flow toilets, then you already are. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, installing a water-saving toilet for the average American family can:

  • Cut the annual water consumption by 20% to 60%.
  • Conserve 13,000 gallons of water in one year.
  • Save about $2,200 over its lifetime.

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Because your service would save money for your customer, you can offer the installation of low-flow toilets to boost your business. Sell your customers on how their investment will pay for itself in the long run.

Purchase and installation

Because many states have minimum requirements for toilet flush rate, most manufacturers are now producing energy-efficient toilets. This means finding a low-flow toilet has never been easier, or more affordable. Today, you can buy a WaterSense-labeled toilet for about the same price as a toilet that has not been certified as low-flow. You can also take advantage of rebates for purchasing WaterSense labeled toilets in certain areas as an added incentive. On top of easy procurement, installing a low-flow toilet is also straightforward. Retrofitting a low-flow toilet with the same rough-in size as a toilet with a higher GPF rate requires no extra steps or special equipment, which simplifies the job for contractors.

But will it flush?

There are common questions people have about low-flow toilets: How will it flush? Will I have to double-flush and defeat the purpose of having a water-saving toilet? If your customer asks these questions, you can assure them that the answers are simply yes, it will flush and no, you shouldn’t have to double flush. Since their introduction to the market decades ago, low-flow toilet technology has come a long way. Innovations like power-assisted, hydraulic and gravity flushing have made double-flushing a thing of the past. Many low-flow toilets today undergo MaP testing, which is the industry standard for ensuring optimal flushing performance. As long as the drain line isn’t already blocked due to something like a paper towel or a tree root, a modern low-flow toilet should not have any problem flushing and clearing waste.

Low-flow toilets will benefit you as a contractor because of how they offer your customers water savings and also because they’re easy to buy and simple to install. With improved technology, your customers will be pleased with reliable energy efficiency and performance, which could contribute to repeat business for your company over time.

Robbie Foglia, a Ferguson author

Robbie Foglia

Robbie Foglia, a native of Norfolk, VA, brings 10 years of experience in digital media writing to Ferguson, where he authors informative content for plumbing, HVAC and general contractors about trade trends, new tools and tips for improving your contracting business.