Low-flow toilets are a great way to reduce the amount of wastewater that ends up in a residential sewage system. If you live in an area that works on septic tank systems, as opposed to a municipal plumbing system, it is important to do everything you can to reduce water usage to prevent an overflow of wastewater.
Septic tank systems are typically used in locations that aren’t connected to the city sewage system, due to being in a remote area. A septic tank is a large tank, usually made out of concrete, that holds waste materials that are flushed through the residential sewage system. Inside the tank, bacteria works to break down the solid wastes, which are then released via wastewater into a drainage field.
Because low-flow toilets reduce water usage, they are ideal for cutting down on the amount of water than enters septic tank systems. Low-flow toilets are also used by homeowners that do not have a residential sewage system, as a means of reducing overall water consumption.
How Low-Flow Toilets Work
Low-flow toilets are designed to use less water than a standard toilet. The average residential toilet uses three to four gallons per flush, while low-flow toilets use around one-and-a-half gallons per flush. Recently, newer low-flow toilets have been produced that use even less water per flush by using a dual-flush system.
Much like septic tank systems, homeowners need to be aware of what gets flushed down low-flow toilets. The only thing that should ever be flushed down low-flow toilets that are connected to septic tank systems is toilet paper and organic waste. That means absolutely no paper towels, feminine products, diapers, newspapers or other paper materials.
The chemicals used to clean low-flow toilets that are hooked up to a residential sewage system must also be chosen carefully. Bleach, abrasives, anti-bacterial cleansers and other bathroom cleaners should never be flushed into septic tank systems or washed down the drain. Use natural cleaners, such as baking soda or vinegar, to protect the good bacteria inside the septic tank that works to breakdown solid waste.
Low-Flow Toilets: A History
The first flush toilet was invented back in 1853, and many of the older models still in use today work in the same manner. The original model kept water in the toilet bowl at a level high enough to prevent sewage gases from releasing into the air. The tank used to be mounted on the wall high enough to create a momentum, or rush of water, to flow into the drainpipe.
The wall tank was lowered with changes made to the design in 1915. The passageways within the toilet were narrowed to increase the speed of water delivery. While this change was significant, no other changes were made to the design between 1915 and 1994, other than to reduce the tank size from five to seven gallons, down to three-and-a-half gallons or less.
Early low-flow toilets, which came about in 1994, were not very efficient. Many complaints were waged by homeowners, designers and plumbers alike. While the water used in the tank was reduced considerably to the three-and-a-half gallon maximum allowed by federal regulation, the design of the toilet itself was not changed to improve the results afforded by the reduced water usage. Today’s low-flow toilets have modified passageways to improve water pressure and improve efficiency.
Part of a Healthy Septic Tank System
All of the parts of your residential sewage system work together to effectively and efficiently process all the waste from your home. Low-flow toilets can be an important part of a well-run septic system. The best way to care for your system is to hire a professional septic system maintenance and inspection service.
A low-flow toilet is very easy to maintain and helps to reduce water usage in the bathroom. The fixture that helps to reduce water usage inside low-flow toilets may need to be adjusted every now and again. This fixture is the fill valve. It is used to maintain a proper level of water inside the toilet tank.
All-Clear Septic & Wastewater offers a preventative maintenance program, which can be used to keep tabs on the effectiveness of your system, catch potential problems before they get out of control and keep your residential sewage system running properly. Learning about your system and how it should be used and cared for, is another important part of good home ownership. Proper care and preventative maintenance, when used together, can prevent costly repairs and replacements that can come as a result of negligence and abuse.