It’s common among homes in Florida to have more than one toilet. In fact, many houses can have more of them than full-fledged bathrooms. The purpose of this is mainly for convenience. For example, a bathroom in the master’s bedroom means occupants don’t need to go down or out of the room to relieve themselves. In the same manner, it makes everyone more efficient. The rest have the unoccupied toilets for themselves.
But along with this inconvenience is the increasing water problem. Granted, Florida’s water problems pale in comparison to those of the rest of the world. Until now, hundreds of households in Africa don’t have any access to sanitary water or own bathrooms. In a lot of places, water is a very valuable commodity that entails a high price. Thus, only those who can afford can use clean water.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that water is abused in Florida. Old toilets can consume as much as 5 gallons of water in each flush. Thus, if a person flushes at least 3 to 5 times a day, more than 20 gallons are used just to eliminate human waste–that is also over 20 gallons of water waste. That can be more than a thousand gallons every month if one takes into account all the households in a city alone. Indeed, toilets are some of the worst water wasters in the world.
The Rebate and Retrofit Program
Over the last few years, Florida water has been subject to many issues including contamination especially from fertilizers derived from irrigated or agricultural areas. Moreover, water pollution is constantly on the rise, and even if it’s not so severe in the state, pollution from other areas can affect and reach Florida.
There’s therefore the need to conserve and make water use more efficient. In line with this, different governments and communities in Florida decided to create a program that offers two things: a retrofit of the bathroom and a rebate.
In this program, homeowners are requested to change their old toilets, those that are installed before 1994, into newer models. These more innovative toilets have WaterSense label. WaterSense is an initiative by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Labeled toilets are expected to help save a household as much as 60% of water or roughly over 10,000 gallons each year. For Melbourne City residents, the toilet change saves them more than 17 gallons of water each day. Not only will this be practical, but it will also be economical as homeowners can als decrease their utility bills. The EPA website has a comprehensive list of toilet models with WaterSense label.
To encourage homeowners further, many cities in the state now offer a rebate of around $50 per household or per account. Those who want to take advantage of this, however, need to do so as soon as possible since it’s based on a first-come, first-served basis. Every city has allotted a budget for rebates. Once the amount has already been distributed and no more funds remain, it also no longer processes rebate application.
Not everyone can take advantage of the rebate. Aside from the fact that it’s first come, first served, it also mentions that only the city residents with good accounts (that is, they have updated records with no unpaid bills) can apply. If the house has been remodeled or built after 1994, as backed by a remodeling or building permit, it is no longer allowed to apply since it’s assumed that the newer toilets have been installed as mandated by the EPA. It’s also essential that the homeowner is willing to change the toilet to any of the recommended models of the EPA.
These products come in sets: tank and toilet bowl. So far, there are three types of toilets to choose from, based on their flush methods. Pressure-assisted units utilize a strong water pressure to flush down the wastes. Other two options are gravity and vacuum assisted.
Almost all good-quality toilets cost more than $50, which means the rebate isn’t truly significant. But you’re advised not to take it at face value but to look at another much better perspective. In the long term, the toilet change can let you enjoy more savings in water and utility costs.
The rebate already covers for the purchase and installation of the water-efficient toilets, and residents are responsible for the assembly. (It is also based on the toilet’s purchase date.) It’s thus important that you research a reliable professional plumber, one with a license or certification and preferably a general liability insurance. Before you decide to buy a new toilet, ask a plumber to see the design or configuration of your toilet and plumbing system so he can recommend the most ideal toilet to use.