Is There a Reason to Upgrade our Older Toilets?

by Jon Nunan

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The benefits of upgrading appliances, fixtures, and home components are hard to miss. Some of today's more efficient products can save homeowners a bundle in energy expenses, and the environmentally conscious are doing a good job promoting the eco-friendly effects of these products, too. Kitchens are probably the most talked-about area of the home for energy efficiency, but they are far from the only place where updating is a wise choice. In many homes, bathroom components are near as ripe for updating as kitchen components, and while toilet upgrades are far from the most glamorous home improvement projects on the planet, there are many benefits that toilet replacement is going to offer the average household.

Battling the Bad Reputation of Toilet Upgrades
Unfortunately, the negative reputation earned by some relatively recent toilet upgrading is well deserved. When the first toilets to use a fraction of the water per flush of their predecessors hit the market, some of them simply didn't work as effectively as the fixtures they replaced. When the multiple flushes some of these toilets required began adding up, homeowners took notice; while rumors of black market, water wasting commodes had some folks seeking replacement toilets from less-than-reputable sources, many other people that heard new toilets didn't work simply held onto their old ones and repaired them over and over again.

Today, a toilet upgrade is hardly something any homeowner should avoid. The toilet replacements that started the bad reputation are unfortunate, but they also spawned manufacturers to get it together and make products that worked just as well as the older models, but required far less water per flush.

Benefits of Toilet Replacement
Now that the dust has settled and low water use toilets are as readily available as they are effective, the benefits of toilet replacement are numerous. Not only will a toilet replacement make any bathroom remodel visually complete, it will save you money on utility bills if you use a municipal sewage company or reduce the amount of waste water that flows into your septic tank on a daily basis. The amount of water you'll conserve by installing a replacement toilet is already significant, but if you are the adventurous type, there are a few other options to consider that are just beginning to catch on.

Extreme Toilet Upgrades
Relatively new to the market and well worth looking at is the dual-flush toilet. Upgrading to a dual flush gives you two levels of flushing power: a very conservative one for liquid waste, and a more powerful one for solid waste. These toilets use each ounce of water to its fullest potential, and are becoming more popular as their performance continues to impress both environmentalists and homeowners, alike.

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Another option for toilet replacement is the composting toilet. These units come in several varieties, and are quite possibly the most efficient option going in the world of toilet upgrades. Using next to or absolutely no water (depending on the model), composting toilets turn the waste that enters them into fertilizer that is safe and effective in lawns and gardens. The idea of removing one's waste from a box underneath the toilet or from a collector in the basement or outside is certainly enough to put-off some people, but those who've taken the plunge will tell you that the process is not nearly as bad as you imagine it to be. The end product of a composting toilet is truly compost and not waste. Far from most people's image of an indoor outhouse, the sight and smell of the compost you periodically unload is far from reminiscent of its ingredients. Of course, this option isn't for everyone, but in a world where environmental consciousness is at an all time high, a composting toilet upgrade is what many homeowners have been looking for!

Bathroom Remodeling Project Guide
If you enjoyed this article, check out our free Bathroom Remodeling Guide, which features expert advice, design & material comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.
Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.