What is a WaterSense Toilet?

EPA estimates that each American consumes an average of 82 gallons of water per day. About 30% of this water is used in toilet flushes. With this rate, water managers anticipate regional water shortages in the coming years.

So, EPA introduced a program to certify and identify water-efficient products under the WaterSense Label. WaterSense Toilet is one such label given to those toilets that are highly efficient in performance and save around 20% of the water compared to the conventional toilets. They only consume just 1.28 gallons per flush.  A third part party certifies the toilets after rigorous lab testing based on the criteria and standards set up by EPA under WaterSense Program.

In the remaining article, we will discuss in detail the WaterSense Program, and what is the criteria for the WaterSense toilet, and how they benefit the whole community.

WaterSense Program

WaterSense is a voluntary program run by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Firstly, it is a label for products that use less water. And secondly, a way to learn how to save water. The aim of the program is to help consumers locate water-saving products, houses, and initiatives.

WaterSense-certified goods and services use at least 20% less water, save energy, and function better than their standard counterparts.

WaterSense Toilets

Toilets with the WaterSense certification have passed stringent performance and efficiency tests conducted by a third-party laboratory. A WaterSense Toilet just consumes 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf).

What amount of water can WaterSense Toilets save?

The current standard flushing criteria in most states of the US is 1.6 gpf, whereas a WaterSense Toilet just takes 1.28 gpf to flush, saving 20% water compared to standard toilets. So, annually, you may save over 13,000 gallons of water.  In addition, you can save up to $140 per year and $2900 over your lifetime.

More amount of water is saved if you have toilets manufactured in the late 80s and 90s. A post-1980 model consumes 3.5 gallons per flush. And if you use a toilet four times a day. Then, replacing it with a WaterSense toilet would save 16,000 gallons per year.

watersense faucet
Image from KB Home

WaterSense Faucets & Showerheads

Apart from toilets, some other bathroom utilities such as faucets and showerheads, are also available under WaterSense certification,

Faucets with the WaterSense logo don’t use more than 1.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm) at a water pressure of 60 pounds per square inch (psi). They also have a water pressure of at least 20 psi and a flow rate of at least 0.8 gpm. While Showerheads that have the WaterSense label use no more than 2.0 gpm at the maximum flow rate.

watersense shower
Image from Municipal Water District of Orange County

Now, let’s talk about the specification of WaterSense Toilets set up by EPA.

Specifications of Water Sense Toilets

As of 2014, EPA has revised its WaterSense criterion for tank-type toilets, labeled as WaterSense Toilet. We cannot mention the whole set of technical specifications, but we can give you some brief specifications of WaterSense labeled toilets.

For a single or dual-flush tank-type toilet, the effective flush volume shouldn’t be greater than 1.28 gallons or 4.8 Liters. For single-flush toilets, the effective flush volume means the average flush volume when you test.  For dual-flush toilets, the effective volume is calculated by taking an average of two decreased flushes and one full flush.

Benefits of Using WaterSense Toilets

Two things we have been mentioning constantly about the WaterSense toilets are that they save water, and perform efficiently.

Saves Water:

Conserving water was the first purpose behind the introduction of WaterSense toilets. It saves around 20 to 60% water compared to the older toilets you normally use.


After problems with the first generation of low-flow toilets in the late 1990s, the toilet industry has been haunted by worries that water-saving toilets will need to be flushed twice or even three times. The WaterSense program from the U.S. EPA has set high-performance standards to put these worries to rest.

Design improvements have made it possible for toilets with the WaterSense label to save water without reducing how well they flush. In fact, in consumer tests, many of them do better than standard toilets.

How can you identify the WaterSense Toilets?

All WaterSense products including the toilets bear a WaterSense label that tells you that this product meets the criteria set up by EPA.

WaterSense Label
WaterSense Label

Some Myths about WaterSense/High-Efficiency Toilets

Now, let’s talk about the common myths about the high-efficiency toilet, and reveal the actual facts.

Myth: WaterSense Toilets have a low flow which means they perform poorly

Fact: The WaterSense Toilets perform brilliantly despite less water usage.

Most people think that lower flow means less power to flush, but that is not true. The latest technological improvements in design, like the introduction of pressure-assisted flushers and changes to the shape of the bowl, make it possible for these toilets to flush better than the first generation toilets. This means that you won’t face double flushing or clogging issues. But any toilet will get clogged if it is used as a trash can!!

Myth: WaterSense Toilets are very expensive to buy

Fact: Considering it as an initial investment, you actually save a lot of money in bills and may get subsidies for replacing it.

It may be more expensive not to purchase a WaterSense-labeled toilet. Multiple local utilities offer subsidies for replacing outdated toilets with new and water-efficient versions. In many circumstances, a WaterSense branded toilet would recover its value within a few years, thanks to cost savings in the water bills.

Myth: WaterSense Toilets often cause problems in the plumbing system

Fact: High-efficiency toilets perform even better compared to the standard toilet used in homes.

Some users are concerned that a decrease in water flow might lead to clogged pipes and a ruined plumbing system. No need to be alarmed. In terms of water efficiency, all of the WaterSense-certified high-efficiency toilets outperform every other toilet on the market.

EPA watersense toilet
Image from Southern Pipe & Supply

Myth: WaterSense Toilets only come in a specific shape and design

Fact: Many different kinds of toilets have the WaterSense label.

There are currently a wide variety of WaterSense-labeled toilets on the market in a variety of designs ranging from basic to luxurious.

If you are considering buying a new toilet, then make sure to check for the WaterSense label on it. You will save money and water while making your bathroom more efficient at the same time!

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