Flushometer-Valve Toilets and Changing WaterSense Specifications
Water conservation continues to be a significant issue in communities across the United States. Limited rainfall and even droughts in some areas have made it increasingly important to preserve and manage community water supplies. Water used for sanitation, particularly toilets, consumes billions of gallons per year, with each flush often requiring as much as 7 gallons. With this much water at stake, the government’s WaterSense program encourages the use of low-flow fixtures in commercial facilities.
Flushometer-valve toilets, in particular, are very effective at reducing the amount of water used for necessary but water-intensive functions. In August 2013, the WaterSense program put forth plans to modify standards and specifications for flushometer-valve toilets to make them even more efficient.
What Is the WaterSense Program?
WaterSense is a water conservation and education program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It concentrates on personal and non-agricultural commercial water conservation and provides information, education and conservation assistance to help manage water supplies. The program works with manufacturers of plumbing fixtures and water management systems to establish specifications and standards for efficiency and conservation. It offers use of the WaterSense label for plumbing fixtures and service programs that are effective at lowering water use and encouraging water conservation. The WaterSense label can be found on commercial and residential plumbing equipment such as:
- Bathroom faucets
- Irrigation controllers
In general, the WaterSense label assures consumers that the equipment they purchase will meet EPA criteria for water conservation. Further, these criteria are verified by independent third-party sources. Plumbing fixtures carrying an approved WaterSense label will:
- Be as effective as less-efficient models.
- Reduce water use by 20 percent or more over average products in the category.
- Return measurable savings on water in all environments.
- Use the latest technological advances to achieve greater water-use efficiency.
Current Flushometer-Valve Toilet Specifications
Flushometer-valve toilets are most commonly found in heavy-use locations in commercial, industrial, or institutional settings. Schools, airports, stadiums, office buildings, theaters, and other locations where many people will be using bathroom facilities are prime spots for flushometer-valve toilets. Flushometer-valve toilets are faster and more efficient than tank-type systems, and as technology has advanced, these low-flow plumbing fixtures have become more efficient and economical. However, many older toilets of this type are less efficient than current federal standards require. Some flushometer-valve toilets use as much as 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf), which is more than twice the federal standard of 1.6 gpf.
Expected Benefits of Changes to Flushometer-Valve Toilet Specifications
To help make these common toilet fixtures even more efficient, the WaterSense program has established plans to change the allowable specifications for their performance. The program’s August 2013 announcement indicates that the new specifications will set flushometer-valve toilet usage limits to 1.28 gpf. Many manufacturers are already producing these higher-efficiency fixtures, which reduce water usage by 20 percent over the already-stringent federal standard of 1.6 gpf.
The new specifications are backed by studies that show the decreased water usage will still be effective for sanitation and will not result in problems within the plumbing system. As older flushometer-valve toilets wear out and are replaced by the newer high-efficiency models, significant water savings are expected. The EPA projects that replacing all existing flushometer-valve toilets with the 1.6 gpf models would save more than 56 billion gallons of water per year.
When this new standard is adopted, flushometer-valve toilets bearing the WaterSense label will be required to meet the 1.6 gpf specification. Consumers can be assured that new WaterSense-certified fixtures will use the least amount of water possible while maintaining high levels of performance.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information about the WaterSense program and its changing standards for flushometer-valve toilets, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!