Problems With Low-Flush Toilets


Low-flush toilets were mandated by the Department of Energy in 1992. While the regulation didn't force homeowners to remove older, higher-water volume toilets, it did require that manufacturers should design and produce newer versions that adhered to the new standards. The primary reason for the low-flush design was to save water, which the toilets certainly do, using only about 1.6 gallons per flush as opposed to the old style's 3.5 gallon process. As might be expected, this lower water requirement created a set of unusual problems.

Multiple Flushes

  • In an effort to clear solids from the toilet, many users resort to multiple flushes, which immediately defeats the purpose of saving water. According to, a high percentage of homeowners would attest to the fact that 1.6 gallons of water is not enough to complete the job of flushing properly. Unfortunately, choosing to install a higher volume toilet is no longer an option, so the practice of multiple flushing has become commonplace.

Sewer Systems

  • Whether an individual septic tank or city sewer system, a lower volume of water moving effluent through the pipes towards its final destination has created a clogging problem like never before. According to an article in the online news source, The State, the city of San Francisco has encountered a widespread stench created by clogged pipes in the city's sewer system, which officials have decided is a direct result of low-flush toilets. Lack of flushing power strikes again.

Retro Design

  • Plumbing systems in houses built prior to the mid 1990s were designed to work with higher-flush toilets. A bathroom remodel that includes a low-flush toilet often results in a not powerful enough water flow to push solids through the pipes and out into the septic or sewer system, resulting in either continued frustration or an even more extensive remodel of the entire plumbing system.


  • Frustrated homeowners resort to trying to implement work around solutions inside the toilet tank to try to increase the water flow, which often results in damage to the mechanisms and a subsequent call to a plumber to fix the whole mess. The truth is that the average person cannot turn a low-flush toilet into a high-flush toilet. Manufacturers have obeyed the new laws and designed them from the ground up to use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. When homeowners tinker, more maintenance from a professional is required.

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