You might take it for granted, but it uses more water than just about anything else in your home— and replacing an old one could not only cut your water bill but also help toward the greater good of managing our water resources efficiently.
It’s your toilet.
If you have one that uses a lot of water, you could be flushing cash — and extra water — every day. That’s why, for a limited time, the Castaic Lake Water Agency and the Santa Clarita Valley Family of Water Suppliers are continuing to offer rebates up to $80 toward the purchase of new high-efficiency toilets.
“Other than outdoor irrigation, the toilets are the largest water user in a typical home,” says Cathy Z. Hollomon, Associate Water Resources Planner for CLWA’s Santa Clarita Water Division. “That means having an efficient toilet is very important.”
The rebates, provided via water retailers, are available for homes and buildings older than 1993, and single-family residents can get up to three per home. Multi-family residential and commercial accounts can obtain up to 50 rebates. However, the rebates will cease after this year because toilets that use more water will no longer be available.
“It’s ending at the end of the year because the plumbing code is changing,” Hollomon said. “Right now the code is 1.6 gallons per flush and on Jan. 1 it will change to 1.28 gallons, so the opportunity for rebates will disappear.”
She added that the newest high efficiency toilets — or, HETs — are nothing like the low-flow toilets people may think of from years past. “They really do function very well — they’re not like the ones in the early 2000s,” Hollomon said. “Toilets are tested now and they are graded on the grams they can flush.”
The results of those tests — and interesting information on the testing methods — can be found online at www.map-testing.com, Hollomon said.
Matt Dickens, Resource Conservation Manager for Valencia Water Co., noted that the testing results provide valuable information for consumers, and buyers can be confident that toilets rated to handle 350 grams or more of material will offer a robust performance level that you may find surprising.
“Being WaterSense approved means that the toilets have been certified to operate at a higher efficiency, and verified to operate at a higher level of quality as well,” Dickens said. “High Efficiency Toilets bearing the WaterSense Label have been tested for how much material they can flush, to prevent clogging and double flushing.”
Dickens added that the rebate enables individuals to acquire brand new high-performing toilets for “close to zero dollars.”
“This is the last year of the program, so I think it’s important for those folks who have been sitting on the fence to take action today,” he said. “Folks who have had problems with their current toilets, such as leaks caused by cracked flappers, broken fill valves or float assemblies, etc., should either fix their toilets or take advantage of the high efficiency toilet rebates by replacing their older, inefficient units. Depending on the age and performance of the toilet, simply fixing older toilets can just prolong the problem.”
Robert McLaughlan, Customer Service and Water Use Efficiency Coordinator for the Newhall County Water District, said residents shouldn’t put off switching to high efficiency toilets because they could miss out on the $80 rebate if they wait too long.
In addition to the Jan. 1 expiration, it’s also possible the water suppliers’ available rebate funds will be exhausted.
“If it’s something that you have been putting off, the money is not going to be available anymore,” McLaughlan said. “This rebate isn’t going to last forever, so you should probably act now and take advantage of this wonderful offer.”
Rea Gonzalez, Water Conservation Coordinator for Los Angeles County Waterworks District 36 (Val Verde), said the new toilets will offer significant water savings.
“A high efficiency toilet uses only 1.28 gallons of water per flush, which is 20 percent less than the standard(1) A recommended practice in the manufacturing of products or materials or in the conduct of a business, art, or profession. Such standards may or may not be used as (or called) specifications. (2) A document that specifies the minimum acceptable characteristics of a product or material, issued by an organization that develops such documents (e.g., an American Water Works Association standard). (3) A numerical contaminant limit set by a regulatory agency (e.g., a US Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level). toilets,” she said, adding residents would be well-advised to take advantage of the rebates now. “Don’t wait until it is too late.”
To obtain an HET rebate, you can visit www.scvh2o.org for more information or contact your water retailer directly.