Let’s talk toilets for a moment, shall we? I don’t think we give enough thought (and respect) to the modern flush toilet and the water treatment system it flushes into. Before indoor plumbing, people had to do their business in a hole in the ground, or if in the city, literally into the streets. Whenever I think to myself how cool it would be to travel back in time a couple hundred years to visit old London, or New York, or Paris, I have to remind myself of how unimaginably filthy and foul city life was until fairly recently.
All of this filth and pestilence associated with the lack of sewage systems was literally flushed away when good old Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet. My God, I think we all owe this man a debt of gratitude. Because what was once a disease-ridden, stinky stinky part of everyday life has evolved into, well, just something that happens without much thought at all.
But I have a problem….. I DO think about toilets. For not being a plumber or associated in any other way to the plumbing trade, this is strange. But there it is. I think about toilets. Specifically, I think about all of the perfectly good water that is wasted every time we flush a toilet. Ahhh, maybe I’m not as crazy as I sound, huh?
For decades, toilets used a lot of water to do their job…. I’m talking about 3, 4, even 5 gallons of water for every flush. Modern designs and new laws regulating the use of more efficient toilets have drastically reduced this. New toilets generally use about 1.5, 1.6 gallons per flush. That’s an improvement, but it’s still an awful lot of water down the drain. And in case you haven’t been paying attention, this planet is starting to run out of clean, fresh water. The human population keeps getting bigger and bigger…. there’s well over 6 billion of us right now, with projections of over 10 billion by 2050. Meanwhile, the amount of water for all of us to use, and share, remains static. There’s a finite amount of water on Earth, with no chance of getting any more.
Doesn’t it make sense to use this precious resource as efficiently as possible? Even in a water-rich place like Michigan where we’re surrounded by the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet, I don’t think we should wantonly waste it. Besides, here in town, we pay for our water usage, and it ain’t cheap.
So…. where am I going with this? Two reasons. I write for a green home website, including all kinds of fun stuff about energy and water efficient products. At the same time, our home’s 17 year old toilets were starting to wear out. Why not, I thought to myself, combine these two facts and write a piece about my real-world experience with a super efficient toilet? Fun, right?
After doing some research, I came across the Niagara Stealth toilet. Cool name (for a toilet, anyway). It claimed to have a super-low flush rate of only 0.8 gallons per flush. That’s less water than the typical urinal in the men’s room at a retail establishment uses. How could this little water possibly work? How could this toilet ever function properly when it’s got a real challenge ? (You know what I’m talking about.) In the name of website content, I decided to find out for myself. I also decided to go all in, replacing all three toilets in the house with these Stealth toilets. I crossed my fingers, installed them (a feat in and of itself), and put them to work.
Do these toilets work? Did I need to invest in industrial strength plungers? Do I now have the plumber on speed dial? Only one way to find out. Read the damn article. It’s right HERE.