Low flow toilets and Older Drains

Homes built before the 1990's likely had toilets that used 3.5 gallons of water per flush and older homes may have toilets that use 7 or more gallons per flush.  Modern toilets use 1.6 gallons or less per flush which is fiscally and environmentally commendable.  These super efficient toilets should work as well or even better than older toilets if your drains are in good shape.  Regrettably older homes may have deficiencies in their drain systems that may create challenges for these super efficient toilets.  

If you have older cast iron drains, they may be corroded or rusted internally.  This may create a less than smooth surface that may slow down and trap solids producing a blocked drain.  A severely corroded drain line may only have a fraction of clearance of the original pipe.  Another issue is that if you live in an area that has expansive soils. the home may have settled impacting the slope of the drains and slowing down the flow through the pipes.  If you are concerned about the condition of your older drain system you should considered having a plumber perform a camera inspection.  

If you are concerned about water consumption, updating your older toilets to more efficienct modern toilets will have a substantial impact.  That is why many municipalities will give you a credit for toilet replacement.  Here are some suggestions that may reduce your chance of the expense and inconvenience of blocked drains when upgrading to a lower flow toilet.

Like anything else, you get what you pay for.  Buy a good model toilet and avoid cheap off brands.  Also, it has been my experience that the two button flush models should be avoided, not because all of these are poorly made, but because not everyone will push the right button everytime.  

Also, only put the appropriate fluids, solids, and tissue paper down any drain.  Baby wipes, paper towels, and hygiene products should be avoided always.  Baby wipes are especially problematic, even the ones that say that they are flushable.  That may be more a hope than a reality if you have an older drain system.  

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