Did you know that toilets are the main source of water in your home? They are responsible for 30 percent of your indoor water consumption, according to the EPA. Replacing your old toilet with a new, efficient one can help reduce your toilet's water usage by up to 60 percent and save you an average of $110 a year on your utility bills. But a toilet is not just a toilet these days. In this week's Angie's List report, Nancy Naeve shows us the many features you can add to your bathroom.
When it came time to remodel her bathroom, homeowner Carrie Tamminga did her homework. Tamminga wanted a toilet that helped conserve water.
"It was really important for me to get the dual flush because of the less water and I knew it would save on bills, "Homeowner Carrie Tamminga said.
Flush after flush after flush, your toilet goes through gallons of water each day. That puts stress on rubber seals, copper pipes and the porcelain bowl. While toilets have a long lifespan, you'll eventually have to swap yours out for a new one. The Energy Policy Act in 1992 required all new toilets to be low-flow or low-flush, restricting their water usage to 1.6 gallons per flush instead of what used to be the average of 3.5 gallons per flush.
"A low-flush toilet would be anything from 1.6 all the way to down to 1.28. You have dual flush toilets now that are .9 to 1.28. A dual flush toilet usually has two buttons or two types of levers on it that would be for your liquids and your waste. Those are becoming more and more popular," Plumbing Showroom Manager Mary Wright said.
"Your options are really endless. Toilets have become very sophisticated over the years. You can find a very basic toilet for a few hundred dollars all the way up to thousands of dollars for the state of the art toilet, "Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks said.
Homeowners can choose between a one or two piece toilet, a round or elongated bowl, different heights and many additional features.
"Different toilets like heated seats or washlets or have open and shut lids that are automatic – all those features are very desirable, they are not necessary but at the end of the day they are quite a nice feature to have those because they can actually save a lot of time. They have dryers built onto them. They have deodorizers. So the dryer function alone saves on toilet paper usage," Wright said.
Although an experienced do-it-yourselfer may be able to install a new toilet, most homeowners should hire a licensed plumber. A poor installation job can cause leaks under the flooring.
"Installing a toilet in of itself, is not a real complicated job, but you have to keep in mind that a toilet can be rather heavy, especially the porcelain, so you are going to need some extra hands to help you put it into place," Hicks said.
Angie's List says a plumber typically requires an hour or two to install a toilet. Expect to pay between $125 and $260 for the installation. That price can fluctuate depending on several factors including whether you want the plumber to haul away your old toilet and if your plumbing components are in good condition.