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Replace your toilet with a water-efficient model


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I'm going to replace my old toilet and was wondering if I should I buy a 6-l toilet or a 13-l replacement? I spoke with a plumber a number of years ago and he said that 6-l toilets do not flush enough water and eventually clog up. Buying a 6-l toilet will save me money in water use and the City of Toronto will give me a $60 rebate. But will I end up giving that money to a plumber later?–Ed Marcinkowski, Toronto

The short answer is yes, go ahead and buy a 6-l toilet. It’s good for the environment and your wallet. Some early attempts at developing water-efficient toilets simply amounted to attaching a smaller tank on a standard bowl. As a result, the toilet didn’t always do its job and people found that they had to flush twice. Or worse.

But today’s 6-l toilets have been completely redesigned. Depending on the manufacturer and model, modifications may include larger-diameter flush valves that allow more water to enter the bowl quickly and bowls that have been re-engineered to clean and clear sewage with minimal amounts of water. Some higher-end toilets even use pressurized air to force the water through. And dual-flush models allow you to choose a 6-l flush for clearing out liquid waste and the full 13 l for the other stuff.

Toronto–one of many municipalities across the country with an incentive program encouraging residents to install water-efficient bathroom fixtures–not only offers a $60 rebate but a $75 one as well, depending on which model you choose from the city’s five-page list of tested and approved toilets. Regardless of model, officials estimate that the reduced water use amounts to an additional annual savings of $85 for a family of three.

Allan Britnell

Allan Britnell has been a contributing editor to Canadian Home Workshop since 1996. In addition to home renovation and DIY topics, he covers environmental, financial, and healthcare issues for a diverse range of publications, including the Globe and Mail, Homemakers, ON Nature and Workshop’s sister publications Cottage Life and Outdoor Canada.

He is also the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, a trade magazine for contractors and small custom-homebuilders launched in 2011.

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