View Full Version : Is it worth it to switch to a flushstar toilet? Not according to my math.

07-09-2005, 07:52 PM
Is it worth it to switch to a flushstar toilet? Not according to my math. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm paying $650-$720 every two months for water/sewer/garbage for my 6-unit 1978 rental property. I

I checked w/ my city and they charge $1.95 per CCF for anything over >15

According to my research:
ccf= 100 cubic feet which = 748 gallon

If the above is correct. The articles at http://www.savingwater.org/ said that the average home uses 19 gallons of water/day. If they used a flushstar toilets, the average would be 8 gallons/day. I don't think this is accurate. I google search it and found that the average person flushes the toilet 5 times/day.
A household of 3 would flush 15 times a day on average.

I am assuming my 1978 toilets are 5 gallon toilets. I'm going to subtract 1.6 gallons from 5 gallons since that's what the low flow toilets would be using. That means I'm wasting 3.4 gallons per toilet.

3.4 gallons multiplied by 15 flushes is a waste of 51 gallons per unit. I have 6 units so that is a total waste of 306 gallons a day, which is 9180 gallons/month. Year would be 110160 per year.

110160 gallons divided by 748 (1 ccf) is 147.27 ccfs.
147.27 ccfs times $1.95 is $287.18 per year that I would save.

Toilet will cost me $230 each X 6 = $1500 w/ tax.

$1500 divided by $371.64 is 5.22 years to break even

here's my water rates:


Now the question is, is it worth it? Probably in the long run if I decide to keep the property for longer than for years I would be netting $371 per year.

07-09-2005, 10:28 PM
I don't know who came up with the 19 gallons per day per house. That is a patently ridiculous number. I spent 22 years in the submarine service. Our water evaporator system was sized to provide 25 gallons per day PER PERSON. That included a 2 minute shower, water used in cooking and washing dishes, and laundry. The figures I use for household water are anywhere from 75 to 200 gallons per day PER PERSON.

By the way, on your rates, that is about what we pay ( $1.70 per hcf) however for each hcf of water used we also pay $3.40 for sewer charge. SO in essence, water is $5.10 per hcf. Do you have a sewer charge that you have not taken into account?

Neverheard of a flushstar toilet. Tell us more.

master plumber mark
07-10-2005, 07:09 AM
all you are gonna do is trade one problem
for another.....

if it were for your own personal home, it migh be ok

renters in a 6 unit apartment is not
where you want to do a "social experiment"
and expect them to conserve water for you......

it all sounds real good, but renters dont care
about your water saveings and they arent going to "help"

in fact every renter I have ever had was usually trouble.

Now something else you also forgot to factor into the
waste saveings equation

Once you have been
over there to plunge out those new water saver toilets
for the 30th time at 2 am in the morning
and probably having to help clean up the mess too.

Your personal time has got to be worth something to you

Be sure to factor that in

Dunbar Plumbing
07-10-2005, 07:27 AM
You are overcomplicating the issue at hand. Replace the older toilets with GOOD 1.6 toilets and watch the numbers lower over time. If you skimp on the cost of the toilets being a penny pincher, you don't value your time very well because you will become a regular face at the units unclogging them. Anything is cost savings from the older style toilets and these new 1.6 toilets are here to stay, no changing that. Working numbers like that are never realistic; one worn flapper or one excessive user and your numbers are down the toilet. Modernize your plumbing like the rest of the world has been forced to do to conserve water. I have never heard of the brand name of toilets you mentioned, follow Terry's advice on toilets, it's right on the money. $$$ :eek: :D

07-10-2005, 08:58 AM
The Toto Drake is real nice, but more than most apartments are doing.

I have some in the Seattle area, and I can offer quanity discounts for large orders. With multi-family, you can also get the $80.00 rebate (http://www.savingwater.org/docs/rebate.pdf)on them until 12/31/2005.

Savingwater.org offers a free Toto CST703 (washdown model that can spash up) in their offer, but in the long run, you would have more water savings and happier renters with the Niagara.

Of course free is pretty good too. I've installed both in apartments.

by the way, we work in Auburn too.

In my own home, I notice quite a difference on the water usage.

From Savingwater.org study
Magnolia Apartments

16 unit building
Replaced all toilets and bathroom faucet aerators
Project completed in December of 2001
Water use reduced by 27%
The Magnolia Apartments replaced 5 gallon per flush (gpf) toilets with 1.6 gpf models. They also installed 1.0 gpm bathroom faucet aerators. Since the project was completed in December of 2001, monthly water use has been reduced by an average of 27%. Dollar savings will vary by water and sewer utility rates. Projects completed to date are showing average paybacks (after rebate) of six months to five years.

07-10-2005, 09:07 AM
"Rugged" makes an excellent point about buying a GOOD 1.6 toilet.

Here in San Diego, they have been giving rebates on 1.6 toiltets since 1992. Finally last year, with 12 years of data to go on, they realized that with millions of low-flush toilets installed, water usage per household had not decreased that much. DUH! 1.6 gpf times 3 flushes per try = 4.8 gallons per use. SO, they tightened up the rebate list and only toilets with documented good performance are eligible. Gerenally, it is pressure assisteds and the ones with the extra-large flush valve such as the Toto, Champion, etc.

07-11-2005, 11:44 AM
Thank you Jimbo. I didn't take into consideration the metro charges and sewer.

metro is $3.41 per ccf
Sewer is .93 per ccf (first 15 is free_

Doing the math again:

147.27 ccf/year is $287
147.27 X 3.41 metro = $502.19
132.27 X .93 cents (first 15ccf is free) = $122 Sewer

Total potential savings = $911.37

Looks like I would be saving $911.37/year if I switched out the toilets. Toto Drake Toilet would roughly run me $1500 if I installed it myself. If my math is correct, I should recoup my purchase in 1.6 years. Now this has gotten my attention.

02-22-2006, 07:15 PM
It's been two months since I've installed 5 Toto Ultramax toilets. I have a 6 Unit building and one of the units already had a two year old 1.6g toilet. I pulled out an older 1.6 toilet from another Unit. So basically before installing the low flow toilets, I had four pre 1980's toilets and two low flow ones. Here's my figures:

I averaged the water usage over the past 4 years for the months of Dec17-Feb 17. Average CCF was 58.5. After installing the toilets and two low flow shower heads and aerators in the bathroom/kitchen in most of the units, my CCF was 41. That's a savings of 17.5 CCF or 13,090 gallons.

Cost wise I saved:
$1.95 (charge for water) x 17.5 = $34.12
$3.41 (charge for metro) x 17.5 = $59.67
.93 (charge for sewer) x 17.5 = $16.27

Total savings for Two months = $110
If I multiply this by 6 months, my potentially yearly savings should be near $660 dollars and the toilets should be able to pay for themselves in a little less than 2.5 years. I will post my next month's water bill and hope it's in line with this figure. I went from a non believer to a believer. Money well spent. Thanks.

02-24-2006, 02:16 PM
Here's the way they look at it in MBA schoo.

Say the annual savings turns out to be $400, and the investment is $1,500, the annual Return on Investment (forgetting the tax effects and a bunch of other hooey that gets in the way) is $400/1500 or 26.67%. Pretty darn good.

The problem with a payback calculation is that it ignores what happens after the payback period. So assuming that you are keeping the rental units for a long while, even a $200 annual savings would generate an acceptable 13% ROI, particularly in a time when $1500 in the bank will earn maybe $60 in a year.

04-27-2006, 01:53 PM
Update for Feb-April: Average CCF for 4 years for this time was 59. Recent bill was 34 CCF; this is the lowest EVER in the past 4.5 years. Total savings on the water bill of $157 (not including tax savings)

*Terry, can u change the topic of my post. I tried and it would't let me. It says ".....according to my math it's not" Could you change it to "it is"

04-27-2006, 03:25 PM
I can't change the title, though I'm sure it makes it more interesting the way it is.

When all is said and done, it is nice to see the lower water bills after the new low flow toilets are installed.
I get comments from quite a few people when they starting writing smaller checks for their water and sewer.

04-27-2006, 07:37 PM
One point which I overlooked when this thread went around the first time: In case of toilets and other water saving devices: the gov. is not suggesting we should use these to lower our water bill. The savings on a per person basis may or may not pencil out. That is not the point. The point is, when you multiply a few gallons here and a few gallons there, it amounts to millions of gallons they dont have to suck up out of the Colorado river and pump somewhere.