Retrofitting or installing low flow plumbing fixtures, such as high efficiency faucets, toilets, or showerheads, saves water, money, and energy. And the upfront cost usually pays for itself quickly. New fixtures as part of a renovation reduce water loss and result in lower utility bills. Installing new fixtures also can mean less maintenance.
In 1992, the National Energy Policy Act mandated the use of toilets that use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. In the early '90s, users criticized low flow toilets for their poor performance. However, new high efficiency toilets have been redesigned to improve water flow. They all use 1.6 gallons (6 liters) of water or less per flush, some use 1.28 gallons per flush and usually use one of two methods to clear waste: gravity or pressure-assisted.
Gravity toilets work when the flapper inside the tank is raised, allowing water to rush into the bowl and driving waste into the sewer. Pressure-assisted toilets compress a pocket of air in the water line. When the toilet is flushed, the air forces water into the bowl, making for a clean flush.
Everyday billions of gallons of water flow through faucets and showerheads, and down the drain. Early versions simply restricted the flow. But this solution didn't work very well. Manufacturers now engineer the movement of water, sending it through smaller orifices that increase the speed that water comes out, and—in some cases—mix in air, creating turbulence or pulsing.
Installing a high efficiency toilet, showerhead, or faucet is no more difficult than installing any other fixture. The big difference comes in saving water, money, and energy.