Tips for Buying a New Toilet | Ravinia Plumbing
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Tips for Buying a New Toilet

Tips for Buying a New Toilet

The average toilet lasts 25 to 40 years. If your toilet is reaching that age, you may want to consider a new one. Or you may want one that is more comfortable or does a better job conserving water. Or you are buying a new place and need new toilets.

Here are some thoughts on buying a new toilet. We start with the two C’s – comfort and conservation.


Standard toilets are 14” to 15” off the ground. Most toilets today are 16.5” off the floor – what is known as “comfort height.” But if you are older, or have trouble getting up, you may opt for an ADA-compliant toilet that is around 17” off the ground. The seat will add another inch to the height. You can also consider riser seats that increase seating height, and grab bars.


Toilets account for 30% of water consumption in a home. On average, people flush a toilet five times a day. That is 1,825 times a year. Toilets made before 1994 flushed 3.5 to 5 gallons or more.  At 3.5 gallons, that is 6,387 gallons. Standard toilets now use 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), which comes to 2,920 gallons a year. But you have options.

  • A toilet with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense certification uses 1.28 GPF. That is a difference of .32 gallons per flush, or 584 gallons a year.
  • You can also save by buying a dual-flush toilet. These toilet models allow you to use a low flush between 0.8 to 1.2 GPF for liquid waste and the traditional 1.6 GPF for solid waste. Some dual-flush toilets have a WaterSense label.

Toilet Types

There are several different toilet types:

  • Traditional two-piece toilets have a seam that separates the tank from the bowl. They are generally less expensive but will accumulate dirt between the tank and bowl.
  • One-piece toilets do not have that seam, eliminating the dirt issue. They also have a more modern look, but are more expensive.
  • Wall-mounted toilets attach to the wall, and the toilet tank is concealed inside the wall. This is great for small bathrooms because it provides more space, but cannot be installed in every bathroom as there is a large steel carrier inside the wall that supports the weight of the toilet and the user.
  • Tankless toilets have no tank at all. They use a flushometer that you find in commercial buildings.

Flushing Options

There are three flushing options:

  • Gravity-fed toilets. Traditional toilets rely on gravity to dump water from the tank into the bowl, which then sucks waste down into the sewer line. They use as little as 10 pounds per square inch (PSI). They are the quieter option but may not work as well.
  • Pressure-assisted toilets. These toilets use at least 35 PSI to create a blast of water to cause the flush. These tend to be loud, but the toilet will clog less.
  • Power-assisted toilets. These toilets have a small electric motor to introduce pressure into a smaller tank.

Toilet Bowl Shapes

There are two options.

  • Elongated bowls are pear-shaped and have several inches of additional space at the front of the toilet, making them easier to use.
  • Round-front bowls are smaller and are designed for smaller spaces.


Speaking of size, also pay attention to the rough-in, which is the measurement from the bolt cap to the wall behind the toilet. Most toilets have a rough-in dimension of 12”. But they also come in 10” and 14” to accommodate older style toilets or mistakes during construction.

Toilet Bowl Colors

Most toilets are white, but there are other color options available. However, the toilet, lavatory bowl and tub should all have the same color.  And colors do go out of style.

Toilet Seats

Of course, there is your standard toilet seat. But you can also get special seats (for an extra cost) for various purposes:

  • Heated seats use heating elements to warm the seat.
  • Bidet-style seats provide the power of a bidet, and some have pre-heated water, dual jets, air-drying and motion-activated lighting. These can be retrofitted onto an existing toilet as well.
  • Anti-microbial coatings reduce mold, mildew and odors by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Slow-close lids eliminate the loud bang of a quickly closed toilet seat.

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for Help in Selecting a New Toilet

Ravinia Plumbing’s experienced and licensed plumbers can help you select and then install the toilet that best meets your needs. We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, heating and air conditioning, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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