The topic of water conservation in the PHCP industry isn’t going away anytime soon.
And with that in mind toilet manufacturers agree products with a focus on reducing water consumption continue to carry high interest in the marketplace.
“Water is a very important natural resource that needs to be conserved, therefore we’re seeing trending toward efficient toilets throughout the country,” Niagara Conservation Customer Service Manager Salvatore Pennachio says. “Toilets have drastically changed over the years going from 5 gpf, to 3.5 gpf, to 1.6 gpf and now down to 0.8 gpf with Niagara’s Stealth toilet. Add to that a toilet that works great and also can help the customer save on their water bill while creating a rapid return on investment and I do not see any reason why the trend would not continue.”
LIXIL Water Technology, American Standard Vice President-Chinaware and Commercial Products James Walsh cautions other factors such as drainline carry must be weighed when dealing with high-efficiency toilets. “We continue to explore ways to provide toilets that use less water, although we must always consider the drainline carry issue,” he says. “Toilets must be able to flush clean, meeting Maximum Performance (MaP) bulk removal guidelines, while also having enough water to effectively move the waste all the way to the sewer as per the standards set by ASME. We continually test the boundaries of these performance standards as we develop new bathroom products.”
Kohler Toilet Channel Manager Nicole Allis explains just how significant going from a 3.5-gpf toilet to an HET can be. “We see more and more people replacing their old 3.5-gpf toilet because they can save more than 16,000 gallons of water annually,” she says. “We’re even seeing people replace their more recently installed 1.6-gpf flush toilet and install a 1.28-gpf because the water savings is at least 20% and some areas offer rebates for these high-efficiency toilets.”
It has the look
While water conversation is important, so still is the look of the toilet in the bathroom. “More demand is coming in from homeowners who are looking for good, modern designs that are budget-friendly, including concealed traps and one-piece units,” Gerber Plumbing Fixtures Senior Product Manager Lovin Saini says. “Aesthetics definitely plays a role as long as performance isn’t sacrificed. Performance is a must, not a starting point. Toilets that are part of a matching suite are popular because the design is then carried through to the sink — pedestal or lav — and potentially other elements of the bathroom.”
Walsh adds consumers aren’t only concerned with the look on the outside of the toilet. “We are seeing a growing interest in smart toilets that offer luxury features including heated seats, night lights and automatic personal cleansing functions,” he says.
The look of the toilet extends to the toilet bowl itself where manufacturers are noticing an increased interest in toilets with strong hygienic functionality.
“The focus is on everything related to how to clean the bowl better, easier and maintain its cleanliness,” Mansfield Plumbing Product Manager Adriana Miller says.
Allis says she’s noticing a consumer trend toward concealed and skirted trapway toilets. “Consumers don’t want to clean around the S-shaped trapway,” she notes. “By concealing or skirting the trapway, we provide smooth, sleek lines that can easily be wiped down and maintain a more sanitary bathroom environment. Similarly, we are seeing greater demand for one-piece toilets that seamlessly integrate the tank and bowl, and quick-release toilet seats, both of which ease cleaning in an area that can be difficult to clean.”
Miller feels the trend toward ease of cleanability is here to stay. “Expect to see more innovative ways to keep the toilet bowl clean perhaps through more electronic features,” she says.
Gerber’s Saini predicts a higher emphasis also will be placed on OEM parts. “When needed, make sure OEM parts are available and ready to deliver,” he says. “The Internet has educated the homeowner to know what the original equipment is and they value fitting the right part for the right toilet.”
Jose Pachas, U.S. technical manager at SFA Saniflo, predicts the touchless feature is about to become more prevalent in the toilet category.
“As technology progresses we will see more and more touchless systems,” he says. “These are very popular in commercial applications and as prices keep dropping for these retrofit systems, we will see more in residential settings. Kitchen faucets, bathroom sinks, toilet systems and other appliances will be controlled without any actual contact, creating a germ-free environment.”
All things considered, Saini says performance must be kept top-of-mind when weighing other factors such as water conservation and hygienic performance.
“Toilets that consume less water are a major topic of conversation right now. But the next big thing is making sure those water-conserving toilets have no degradation in performance, are durable, quiet and offer a clean bowl on the inside after each flush,” he says. “Parts should be designed for looks and withstand harsh usage environments. Homeowners want peace-of-mind operation. They need reassurance that performance won’t be sacrificed even with a toilet operating at 1.28 or 1.6 gpm.”
New in toilets
American Standard H2O UHET
Highlight: This gravity-flush toilet is offered in dual-flush (0.92/1.28-gpf H20ption tank) or single-flush (1.1-gpf H2Optimum style) options.
Highlight: This two-piece high-efficiency toilet features a concealed trapway, a 1.28-gpm output, has a 3” flush valve and a Fluidmaster fill valve, ensuring high performance.
SFA Saniflo SANIBEST PRO
Highlight: Features 1-hp upflush grinder system with 25% more power than previous generation.
Niagara One-Piece Toilet
Highlight: Uses 0.8 gpf and conceals the trapway system, providing a sleek look that also is extremely easy to clean.
Highlight: This toilet features ease of cleanliness and bidet technology in a sleek, contemporary fashion.
Mansfield Brentwood HET
Highlight: Uses 1.28 gpf, is compliant with ADA standards, has a 16 1/2” bowl height and a MaP rating of 800 grams.
This article was originally titled “Green still is the word” in the March 2016 print edition of Supply House