When it came time to remodel her bathroom, homeowner Carrie Tamminga did her homework. She wanted a toilet that helped conserve water.
"It was really important for me to get the dual flush because of the less water and I knew it would save on bills," she said.
Flush after flush, your toilet goes through gallons of water each day. That puts stress on rubber seals, copper pipes and the porcelain bowl. While toilets have a long lifespan, you'll eventually have to swap yours out for a new one.
The Energy Policy Act in 1992 required all new toilets to be low-flow or low-flush, restricting their water usage to 1.6 gallons per flush instead of what used to be the average of 3.5 gallons per flush.
"A low-flush toilet would be anything from 1.6 all the way to down to 1.28. You have dual flush toilets now that are .9 to 1.28. A dual flush toilet usually has two buttons or two types of levers on it that would be for your liquids and your waste. Those are becoming more and more popular," said Mary Wright, a plumbing showroom manager.
"Your options are really endless. Toilets have become very sophisticated over the years. You can find a very basic toilet for a few hundred dollars all the way up to thousands of dollars for the state of the art toilet," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List.
Homeowners can choose between a one or two piece toilet, a round or elongated bowl, different heights and many additional features.
"Different toilets like heated seats or washlets or have open and shut lids that are automatic - all those features are very desirable, they are not necessary but at the end of the day, they are quite a nice feature to have those because they can actually save a lot of time. They have dryers built onto them. They have deodorizers. So the dryer function alone saves on toilet paper usage," said Wright.
Although an experienced do-it-yourselfer may be able to install a new toilet, most homeowners should hire a licensed plumber. A poor installation job can cause leaks under the flooring.
"Installing a toilet in of itself, is not a real complicated job, but you have to keep in mind that a toilet can be rather heavy, especially the porcelain, so you are going to need some extra hands to help you put it into place," said Hicks.