About 28 million American households claim to experience a toilet clog each month, according to a July 2004 survey conducted for Kohler Co., which found that 27% of 1,000 U.S. adults faced this problem. Of these people, 23% said it happened one to three times per month.

More than 57% of survey respondents said their home toilet was more than 10 years old, which means they most likely require 3.5 gallons of water or more per flush.

America's oldest toilets are located in homes in the Northeast (23% are older than 20 years old), while the newest are found in the West (56% less than 10 years old), according to the survey. Communities suffering from droughts and water shortages on the West Coast are most likely to provide incentives for homeowners to change to a 1.6-gallon-per-flush toilet.

The survey found that 34% of respondents who had children under age 12 living in the home have replaced their toilets within the past five years. Parents are more likely to replace a toilet when it suffers frequent clogging due to excessive use of bathroom tissue by children, according to Ed Del Grande, Kohler's “how-to” plumbing expert. Del Grande owns a plumbing business in Rhode Island and hosts a national home improvement show.

“With so many new developments in toilet design and performance, homeowners may want to consider upgrading their toilets every five to 10 years to keep up with new technology and low-flow water regulations,” Del Grande said.

“New toilets, such as the Kohler Cimarron Comfort Height™ toilet with its Class Five™ flushing system can help to significantly reduce clogging,” Del Grande said. Also, the Cimmaron can be set to flush 1.4 gallons of water per flush, which could save 2,000 gallons of water per year, he added.

Often communities will offer price breaks on new plumbing fixtures, taxes or water bills when homeowners switch to low-flow toilets, he said.

Other survey findings reported by Kohler include:

  • 20% of Americans have tried to install a toilet in their

    homes by themselves.

  • 40% of Americans age 65 and older are most likely to clean their toilets more than six times per month.

  • 74% of women leave the seat down compared with 66% of men.

These findings are from a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults above age 18 conducted for Kohler by Caravan® ORC International in July 2004. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5%.

For information about Kohler's products, visit the company's Web site at www.Kohlerco.com or call 1-800-4-KOHLER.