Unless your home’s water supply has been cut off—and you have to resort to “flushing” toilets by pouring large buckets of water into the bowl—you may not think about all water you’re using every time you flush.
How much water are we talking about?
If your toilet was manufactured before 1980, you’re probably using six or seven gallons per flush. Toilets made between 1980 and 1994 got that down to around 3.5 gallons per flush, while those produced after that have no more than a 1.6-gallon flush.
Although these newer “low-flow” toilets are better for both the environment and your wallet (if you pay for water), they also tend to get clogged easier than older models with higher-volume flushes. Here’s why that happens, and what you can do to prevent the clogs.
Why do low-flow toilets clog so easily?
With less water to flush down whatever ends up in the toilet bowl, low-flow—or “low flush”—toilets tend to get clogged more often than older toilets. Although low-flow toilet technology continues to improve, it’s still important to be mindful of how much you flush.
How to prevent clogs in low-flow toilets
Here are a few things you can do to reduce the chance of clogging a low-flow toilet:
Modify your toilet paper usage
Ultra-thick quilted toilet paper may feel luxurious, but(t) it’s easy to use too much of it, and end up with a clog. If you’ve reduced the amount of TP you use, but are still getting clogs, follow the lead of people living in homes with older pipes or that rely on a septic tank, and use thinner toilet paper (like the kind you find in public restrooms).
This is far from ideal, but if you insist on using large wads of the thick stuff, you can always dispose of the toilet paper in a garbage can next to the toilet.
Don’t flush anything else
Regardless of where you land on toilet paper, that should be the only thing that you flush down the toilet (aside from whatever comes out of your body). This means no wipes of any kind (even if they’re labeled “flushable”), paper towels, or menstrual products.
Instead of waiting until your toilet is clogged, do some preventative plunging on a regular basis—like when you clean the bowl. This will help stop multiple small obstructions from accumulating into one massive clog or overflowing situation.
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