Legacy product replacement programs enable homeowners, multi-family building owners, and businesses to replace older, inefficient plumbing products, known as legacy products, with water-efficient models.
The most common kind of replacement program is a rebate program
Many water utility districts across the nation provide rebates for the purchase of water-efficient toilets, showerheads, faucets, urinals, water leak detectors, sprinklers, and irrigation controllers and services. As part of these programs, some also offer free leak detection/repair and water-saving advice. The Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program has a listing of about 150 rebate programs across the nation. In addition, search the internet, or check with your local water utility and nearby retailers, for water-saving rebates available in your area.
Some water districts provide free replacement of plumbing products
Some water districts have gone beyond offering rebates to achieve water conservation, providing free replacement and installation of showerheads, faucet aerators, toilets or other products at no charge. Some of these programs require the applicant to provide proof of low or moderate income to quality for a free replacement, and some replace only toilets consuming 3.5 gallons or more per flush (gpf).
Legacy toilet replacement programs are a very effective way to save water because toilets use the most water of all indoor plumbing appliances. Providing free toilets, as well as free installation, removes virtually all barriers to replacing an inefficient toilet and saves a significant amount of water. For example, PMI estimates that replacing all of California’s 26.1 million inefficient toilets would save 326 billion gallons of water over 30 years. That’s enough water for about 20 billion showers, 500,000 Olympic-sized pools, or 2,000 Rose Bowls filled to the top.
A listing of free legacy toilet replacement programs, past and present
Tucson Water enables low-to-moderate income households to participate in a program offering free replacement of older toilets that consume 3.5+ gpf. Toilets qualifying for replacement are typically manufactured before 1991. The program provides water-efficient toilets and hardware, as well as installation, at no cost. Learn more.
Liberty Utilities’ free Ultra-High Efficiency Toilet (UHET) Program offers free toilets that use only 0.8 gpf to replace toilets that use 1.6 gpf or higher. The program provides a maximum of two water-efficient toilets per household to Liberty customers only. Learn more.
The San Benito County Water District offers new 1.28 gpf toilets to water customers of Hollister, Sunnyslope County Water District, and the City of San Juan Bautista. The program replaces 3.5+ gpf toilets and provides a maximum of two toilets per residence. Replaced toilets are recycled. Learn more.
The City of Napa Toilet Retrofit Program replaces 3.5+ gpf toilets with free gravity-fed EPA WaterSense-labeled toilets. Since its inception in 1991, the program has saved the City of Napa more than 3 billion gallons of water. Learn more.
Pasadena has a Water & Energy Direct Install Program (WeDIP) that provides select commercial customers in disadvantaged communities with free assessments and installation of up to $7,500 in energy- and water-saving equipment, including water-efficient toilets. Learn more.
The Plumbing Fixture Replacement Program (PREP) provides free toilets with free installation. The PREP is open to residential properties in San Francisco with active water service accounts. To qualify, residents must have toilets that use at least 3.5 gpf. Learn more.
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency has installed and rebated 5,157 WaterSense 1.0 gpf toilets through its Multifamily Apartment Project, where contractors provide water efficiency check-ups and recommend toilet upgrades where needed.
The city provides up to two free, high-efficiency toilets and free indoor water-use inspections to income-qualified homeowners. Homeowners qualifying for the Bill Credit Program automatically qualify for this program. Learn more. The city also partners with Mile High Youth Corps, Maiker Housing Partners, and Foothills Regional Housing to install high-efficiency fixtures in income-qualified, multi-family housing properties.
The Ultra High Efficiency Toilet (UHET) Replacement Program allows Department of Water Resources customers to replace 3.5+ gpf toilets with new, high-performance dual-flush UHET toilets. Learn more.
The Minnesota Metropolitan Council Environmental Services’ Water Efficiency Grant Program recently collaborated with its 38 participating communities, including five WaterSense partners, to fund the replacement of 600 toilets.
New York City
New York City has replaced millions of inefficient toilets through several toilet replacement initiatives over the years.
Through its Water Leak Repair Program, the Portland Water Bureau provides leak repair, free water-efficient toilets, and other efficiency support for approximately 100 residential customers living with low and fixed incomes each year.
Dallas Water Utilities’ “New Throne for Your Home” Program for both residential and multifamily homes replaces 3.5+ gpf toilets installed before Jan. 1, 1994, with free WaterSense toilets. Multifamily customers have no limit on the number of toilets they can request. Residential customers can apply to replace two toilets. Learn more.
Fort Worth’s SmartFlush residential program offers up to two free WaterSense-certified toilets per lifetime of the home. Qualifying commercial customers can receive free water-efficient toilets for their business once per lifetime as part of the program. The target is high volume users with multiple toilets on site, such as apartments, hotels, and nursing facilities. Learn more.
The San Antonio Water System’s Kick the Can conservation program replaced more than 200,000 inefficient toilets with water-efficient toilets, saving the city more than 2.5 billion gallons of water per year. Learn more.
Seattle Public Utilities offers free water-saving toilets for income-qualified homeowners. The program provides one free toilet per household, toilet installation, and removal and recycling of the old toilet. Learn more.