Friday, February 6, 2015

Things Worth Knowing (2.6.15): Change of Thrones

I loved my Kohler Pompton toilet—its height, its compact, unobtrusive profile, its small footprint in my small bathroom. But when its seal sprang a small leak, its time at our house was up. Yes, it was time for it to go.

The Pompton in place. Out with the old…
The Pompton toilet is no longer manufactured, for a very good reason. It is a water hog. Toilets built before 1982 (as this one was) use 5 to 7 gallons of water. The mandate in drought-stricken California (expected to take effect in 2016) is 1.28 gallons per flush. The current limit in that state is 1.6 gallons.

Even though we live in a region rich in water, we knew it was wrong to squander so much. How can a couple say they are trying to be Green and still allow so many gallons of water to be flushed away each day when they know there are better options available? Inefficient toilets not only waste a valuable natural resource: they also put an unnecessary strain on the sewer system. In New Haven the storm and sanitary systems are still combined in many parts of the city. During major storms, the sudden surge of rainwater can be too much for the system to handle, causing untreated water to pour into our watershed. The less water entering the system, the better.

Last, but not least, is the economic factor. The cubic feet of water our household uses determines both our water bill and our sewer use fee. The lower the water usage, the better it is for our budget.

We knew it was time to make the switch.

There are a number of more efficient toilets readily available in the big box stores, with some models requiring as little as 1.28 gallons per flush.

But from our friends at Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven we heard about an even more efficient option — The Stealth UHET (Ultra High-Efficiency) Toilet, sold by Niagara Conservation. This is the most efficient toilet currently available, requiring a mere 0.8 gallons per flush! 

You can watch a dramatic demo and full explanation of Stealth technology here. [The video is a bit long, but at least watch through the demo.]

We decided to go all out, and opted to purchase a Stealth — in the round bowl option.  It comes in two pieces, its seat is higher than the Pompton’s, and its footprint is larger, but we were pretty confident we could make the adjustment.  

We called the regional distributor, who gave us the name of the local plumbing store that carries Niagara Conservation products. We placed an order and our Stealth arrived in the store a few days later, exactly when promised.

Our new toilet is installed. We had to switch to a square box of Kleenex, but we are getting used to the new look and seat height.

In with the new…The Stealth installed.
We push a button on the top of the tank now. The Stealth has a quiet but extremely powerful flush. [The video explains how this is possible.] It has done the job every time.

This model is not ADA compliant, but the elongated version, with its 17” high bowl and longer seat, meets the ADA requirements.

We are so happy with our Stealth that we are planning to swap a second toilet very soon. We are hoping to see a big change in our next water bill… 

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