Are you wondering whether you can convert a low-flow toilet to a high-flow one? It is frustrating to have a toilet that doesn’t offer an efficient and powerful flush at the first trial. As you may already know, low-flow toilet models became popular due to their ability to save water. But most homeowners feel like these low-flow toilet models don’t offer a requisite flush power that’s effective. So, if you have already installed a low-flow toilet in your home and facing the same challenge, this guide explains how to convert low-flow toilet to high-flow toilet in a few simple steps.
Low-Flow Toilet Vs. High-Flow
The biggest difference between the two toilet systems is that low-flow toilets typically utilize less water than high-flow lavatories. They use about 1.6 gallons of water per flush compared to typical toilets that use 6-7 GPF. This substantially reduces the amount of water you use, and it is a popular way to reduce your water bill.
Low-flow toilets use less water because of their design and construction, which is why they are considered water-efficient toilets. They allow water to drain much more quickly from the bottom of the bowl and not the back of the toilet. This location permits gravity to do all the work during toilet flushing, so less water is consumed.
Additionally, low-flow toilets have a separate water line near the front of the toilet bowl. It means that more water gets into the toilet bowl. These toilets feature a bigger flush valve, unlike high-flow toilets. The bigger valve implies that water flows much more easily and quickly.
It is good to note that there is no standard for what constitutes a high-flow toilet. The term high-flow toilets mean that the toilet consumes more than 3.5 gallons of water per flush. However, some high-flow toilets use less water per flush compared to others.
How to Convert Low-Flow Toilet to High-Flow Toilet
It is not technically possible to make a low-flow toilet a high-flow toilet. A low-flow toilet is designed to consume a certain amount of water. So, you really cannot increase the flow limit of your toilet without rebuilding the toilet completely.
But there are a few DIY things that you can do to convert your low-flow toilet to a high-flow. Below are a couple of things you can do.
1. Replace the Flush Valve
The flush valve is attached right at the bottom of your toilet tank. The flush valve opens and closes as you flush the toilet. It only closes as water flows down the toilet bowl. If you have low-flow problems when you flush your toilet, it may be that the flush valve is leaking. When they are degrading or deteriorating, flush valves allow water to leak into the toilet bowl even when you haven’t flushed the toilet. This results in low water pressure when you flush your toilet.
So how do you tell if the toilet is leaking? The simplest way is to put a tiny drop of food coloring in the water in your toilet tank. If you see water in the bowl changing, your flush valve is not sealing properly and leaking.
If you notice that your flush valve is the problem, you will probably need to check and replace it. First, turn off the mains water supply by turning the water meter handle counterclockwise. Flush your toilet to remove the water in the tank or bowl. Use a clean sponge or towel to eliminate excess water left inside the bowl.
If the flush valve has broken, you can easily find a new one online. But if you’re lucky it’s not broken, you will not need to do anything more than slide it back to its original position. It is very important that you replace a broken flush valve as soon as possible to fix the problem. The good thing is that flush valves are inexpensive, and replacing them is a breeze. Moreover, you don’t need to hire a plumber to do the job.
2. Clean the Toilet Rim Jets
Rim jets are those tiny holes that line the bottom of the rim of your toilet. These jets allow water from the toilet tank to get into the bowl by passing through the rim of the toilet. It is possible that rim jets in your toilet are clogged with gunk, scum, or other residues. If that happens, it causes less water to come through the jets and makes your toilet run less efficiently.
When it comes time to cleaning your toilet’s rim jets, use a thin wire to scrape them clean. It will work with any thin wire you like, but a wire you can bend to fit, like a regular coat hanger, works best. That way, you can easily reach up into the jets and clean them. Some people use a small handheld mirror to see exactly what they are scraping.
If the rim jets are clogged, you should be able to see gunk on the tips of the wires. After cleaning all the jets, run over them with a soft scrubbing pad and some toilet bowl detergent. This will remove any deposits that the wire could not reach.
3. Check Your Toilet Tank Water Line
If a plumber’s snake doesn’t work, it may be that your water line is too low. In that case, you may not have enough water to flush your toilets completely. Confirm that the water level is between the recommended lines.
If the water level in your tank is too low, you’ll need to adjust the toilet’s float. Float valves allow water to be pumped into your toilet tank until it reaches an appropriate level. If your water level is low, then adjust the float valve to allow more water to enter your toilet tank. Adjust your float until the water line sits comfortably between the toilet’s tank min/max lines.
4. Check For Toilet Clogs
The first thing you should do is to confirm the presence of clogs. If it takes a long time for your toilet to empty and you have trouble getting waste out of it, something is probably clogging a valve or a pipe.
Sometimes all it takes to remove a clog is pouring a gallon of water down the drain into the bowl and flushing. If clogs persist, force more water down the pipes to force them out. But if pouring water down the drain and flushing does not fix the blockage, you may have a more stubborn clog. Using a snake is the most appropriate way to eliminate a stubborn clog. This tool can get into the pipes straight through clogs or other build-ups.
All you need to do is take your plumbing snake and stick it into your toilet drain inside the bowl. Then push it forward into the clogged pipe until you feel it being pushed back. You should turn it back and forth, pushing on the clog to get rid of it. That way, you’ll easily know when the blockage loosens its hold on the pipes because the snake will punch through.
5. Use Bleach
If you can’t remove the clogs or the build-up in the toilet by using a scraping tool, it is worth trying chemicals to fix the problem. Bleach effectively removes clogs in toilet bowls because it breaks down organic and inorganic waste like scum and calcium. If you decide to use bleach, ensure that you let the bleach soak for a few hours before flushing it down the toilet.
Unfortunately, concentrated bleach is very effective for cleaning toilets, but it can cause damage to the plumbing. We suggest using a chemical solution that consists of 2 parts water and 1 part bleach.
First, close the water supply to your toilet. You can achieve this by turning the water shutoff faucet counterclockwise. After you turn off the water, pour a gallon of bleach/water mixture into the toilet bowl. Wait about 20-30 minutes, and then flush the toilet. By flushing, the bleach will be able to penetrate your toilet and clean out the clogs that are difficult to reach with a simple scraping tool.
Next, turn on the water supply and flush your toilet a few times to completely flush the bleach out of the pipes. You don’t want to leave bleach in the pipes for long because it will cause corrosion.
6. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you do not like the idea of subjecting your pipes to chemicals like bleach, then just use baking soda and vinegar. If you did some science experiments in high school, you would know that baking soda and vinegar react to form a fizzy mixture that dissolves many different substances like those found in toilets. Vinegar is very acidic, so it will react with basic substances like calcium and lime to dissolve stains.
First, pour a small amount of vinegar into the drain tubes using a small funnel. Let that sit for a few hours. Then, you can slowly add more vinegar and baking soda to make a nice, foamy, fizzy mixture. You will hear a little hiss sound when the vinegar and baking soda react. Avoid putting excess baking soda in your toilet tank at once, as you’ll have an explosion of frothy water in your face.
If you add enough baking soda to the water, let it sit for approximately 2 to 3 hours. If you want to do a deeper cleanse, you can leave it overnight. After that, turn on the water supply and flush your toilet at least 3 to 4 times to clear up the mixture down the toilet drain. If you still have problems with your toilet, you can try repeating the procedure and see if that helps.
7. Think About Purchasing A New Toilet
If you still cannot get a solution with the above tips, you may need to purchase a new toilet. However, it is probably not the best solution because buying and installing a new toilet costs a lot.
If you purchase a new toilet, ensure that the toilet water tank is bigger than the one you currently use or better yet, go for a tankless, pressure-assisted flush toilet. Ultimately, the higher flow will allow you to use more water when flushing, which will increase your flush power.
Can low-flow toilets be adjusted?
You can adjust the float cup of a low-flow toilet by putting a tiny ball between the float cup and the spring clip that holds the spring in place. This permits you to raise or lower the water level and adjust the flush power.
Can you purchase a toilet that flushes a lot of water?
There are legal consequences to purchasing a high-flow toilet. However, you can legally purchase toilets that flush up to 3.5 gallons of water per flush in the United States if you get a supplier.
What are the benefits of low-flow toilets?
Low-flow toilets save money and conserve the environment because they consume less water per flush. These toilets are therefore worth the money.
There is no technical method to convert a low-flow toilet to a high-flow toilet, but there are a few things that you can do to improve your toilet’s flush power. The most common ways to increase the flow of your toilet are to clear any obstructions in your pipes and allow more water to enter your tank.
Low-flow toilets only use a limited amount of water, saving you money. If you’ve tried the methods listed in this article but still find that your toilet flow is weak, it may be time to consider buying a new toilet. Highly efficient low-flow toilets will improve the flush power without compromising water efficiency.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.