11 Tips for Upgrading Toilets

09/23/2019 | By Salvatore Pennachio

Did you know that, according to the EPA, showers and toilets account for almost half (44%) of the total water usage in an average building?

As budget and environmental concerns grow, new research has found that people rank water conservation as the most important aspect when they’re thinking about buying a new toilet. Water-conserving toilets not only help the environment, they can help save money on water bills as well.

An Atlanta-area apartment building, the Reserve at Stone Creek, lowered their monthly water usage by 32% with monthly savings of $39,863.11 by replacing their toilets and showerheads with water-saving products and installing aerators. 

Reserve at Stone Creek

If you’re planning a toilet upgrade to conserve water and save money, consider these 11 tips when installing new toilets or replacing old ones from Salvatore Pennachio, business development and international sales manager at Niagara Conservation.

1. Check your bathroom fixtures for leaks. Fixing easy-to-correct water leaks can save building owners about 10% on their water bills.

The EPA suggests an easy and inexpensive test to find toilet leaks: just place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If you see any color in the bowl after 10 minutes or so, you have a leak. Flush after the experiment so you don’t stain the tank.

2. Nearly half of property owners aren’t aware of how much water their organization uses. Track your building’s water consumption using a water-saving calculator and see if you could be saving water and money.

3. If you’re installing or replacing a toilet, make sure your new fixture fits over the footprint of the old toilet before you replace it. If it’s not an exact fit, you might have additional work in cleaning your flooring or even making floor repairs.

4. Always triple check that your water shut-off valve is turned off completely before disconnecting the supply line.

5. The rough-ins of toilets can vary from building to building. Make sure you measure the rough-in for every single toilet before replacing.

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6. Check your door clearance. There can be spacing issues between the toilet and the door, so always ensure that you have enough room for the toilet.

7. The same goes for flushing mechanisms. Make sure that whatever side your handle, or top flush button is on, it will be accessible (i.e. there isn’t a countertop or shelf that will interfere).

8. If you want to build with longevity in mind and don’t want to replace your toilet later, consult universal design guidelines – ADA-compliant toilets and guidelines will be the best long-term fit for any building.

9. For maximum cost and water savings, install or replace all bathroom fixtures with ultra-high-efficiency products with warranties.

The EPA estimates that water conserving toilets can reduce water usage up to 60% every year, lowering monthly water costs significantly and saving more than 13,000 gallons of water annually.

10. If you’re replacing or renovating multiple toilets in the washroom, buy in bulk for ultimate cost savings. Secure quotes from installation teams that can potentially install or replace toilets more quickly and efficiently than building maintenance staff.

11. Keep rebates in mind. Many local governments offer rebates for WaterSense certified products. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rebates could also be available for property owners, contractors and developers who use WaterSense certified products.

Salvatore Pennachio is the business development and international sales manager at Niagara Conservation.

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