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Testing the Newest Low-consumption Toilets

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey travels to a plumbing facility in New Jersey to learn about advances in toilet engineering that help save water


  1. A series of tests are performed on new designs of toilets to ensure they are achieving their goal of minimizing water usage without compromising their cleaning and waste-disposal abilities.
  2. First, prototypes are created and tested to measure water usage.
  3. Once the prototype passes a series of water usage tests, a real model is built and put through an additional series of tests.
  4. One test measures the distance the low-flow toilet is able to move waste material.
  5. Another test measures the quantity of material, both big and small, that can be flushed down the toilet.
  6. Another test ensures that the bowl remains clean after every flush.


Richard toured the American Standard test facility. The toilet with two flush valves for better bowl cleaning is part of the VorMax collection.