Let’s all just take a moment to contemplate the thousands of dollars we’ve flushed down the toilet.

According to some study by someone I don’t remember on the Internet, the average person uses 20,805 sheets of toilet paper in  one year.   If you assume toilet paper rolls have on average, 500 sheets (some more, some less), that means each person uses 50 rolls of toilet paper a year.  I’ve rounded up there a bit to allow for things like killing centipedes, blowing noses and cleaning the sink when you can’t be bothered to get a cloth.

If you pay full price for premium toilet paper the cost is around $8 for 6 rolls of toilet paper.  So a low average estimate is that each individual person in a household consumes $66 worth of toilet paper a year.

Not bad, right?

Except most people have at least 4 people in a household.  So now it’s $267 a year.

That’s $5,500 every 20 years on toilet paper.  Not accounting for inflation of course.  Right. Down. The toilet.  And if you buy the WRONG TOILET PAPER you might end up spending a lot more money than that.

Here’s how.

The past decade or so has seen a lot of changes in terms of our bathrooms.  Low flush toilets, combined with the creation of premium, super-strong, it could double as a winter blanket,  toilet paper in 1999 has brewed up the perfect sewage storm.

Yes.  It’s a shit storm.

Toilet’s don’t use as much water to flush as they used to.  And toilet paper is now much stronger than it used to be.  It was assumed 17 years ago that we all needed much stronger toilet paper for some reason.  Regular toilet paper was not enough.  We needed something tougher, thicker, stronger.  Something you could use as toilet paper/mountain climbing rope.  This means … sewer line trouble.

Which I’ve had.  About 7 times in the past 3 years.  I’ve had sewer lines replaced, lines flushed, cameras sent down to take a look, more lines replaced and a backwater valve installed.  All in an attempt to stop my sewer line from getting clogged.

This has cost many thousands of dollars.  Many, MANY thousands of dollars.

I know my sewer guy by name. Roger. I know how he takes his coffee.  Double Double.  THAT is how often I’ve had problems with my sewer lines in the past 3 years.

So I am now very, very careful with my sewer lines.

I only use toilet paper that completely dissolves so there’s almost no chance of it clogging.

And I replaced my toilet.

I just replaced my toilet 3 years ago. BUT, I did not  buy a good toilet.



I bought a good looking toilet.

A good looking toilet that couldn’t flush a bug.

When I got the offending toilet (A Pfister by the way) I even called the company and said, Hey.  This toilet doesn’t seem to work very well. I think it’s defective.  The bowl doesn’t fill up with enough water and it doesn’t totally flush and it just doesn’t seem very good.  I was told that’s the way these low flush toilets work.

Huh.  So what makes these new low flow toilets different than older toilets is that … they don’t actually work?

It didn’t make much sense, but the toilet I had before was an ancient water glugging toilet that could suck your spleen out if you flushed it before standing up.  So maybe they were right. I just wasn’t used to the more new age, lackadaisical approach low flow toilets had to flushing stuff away.

So I started to do what everyone who has a bad toilet does.  I’d stand in front of the toilet, wait for it to complete its flush; and then I’d flush it again.

But I persisted with my low flush toilet because it’s better for the environment because it uses so much less water.  It’s also the only type of toilet you can buy anymore.

I’m just a toilet water layman and certainly not an expert in mathematical toilet flushing formulas, but this whole having to flush twice, sometimes three times method didn’t seem to be saving Mother Earth much water.

Also when people came to visit unannounced on more than one occasion I threw a pie in their face as a way of sedating them for a few moments while I ran into the bathroom to make sure the last time I used it I double flushed.

So on January 22nd I bought a new toilet and on January 23rd I installed it.  (this is the toilet that I bought and LOVE) And I filmed the whole process.

On Monday I’m going to have a STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO INSTALLING A TOILET.  I’ll show you exactly how easy it is to install a toilet BY YOURSELF and prove to you that NOT all low flow toilets are created equal.  In fact, some of them actually have that impressive spleen removing flush.

How long does swapping out your old toilet for a new one take?  As little as an hour or two.


It ain’t that hard.  Any of it.



  1. Jane says:

    I got a lesson in toilets from the guy at Rona when we were renovating. I was looking at a pretty toilet and he told me that I didn’t really want that one LOL. He told me to make sure the PSI number was above 800 (it’s the rate in which water flows through the toilet), anything below and you’d have trouble with it not flushing. Many people think it’s b/c it’s a low flow toilet that it doesn’t seem to flush well, but it’s b/c the rate in which the water flows through is too slow.

  2. lyanne says:

    Has anyone mentioned the toilet flush rating? Before I bought my new toilets I made sure the flush rating was high…800. Low flow but flushes once and they are empty!

  3. Tricia Rose says:

    When are you going to make your own Poo-Pourri Karen, or did I miss that post?

  4. Tricia Rose says:

    I bought a Toto seat with the wash option, heat etc, and I feel like a princess. What’s the point of pretty knickers etc. if one’s parts are less than clean? I keep loo paper there since I might as well, but I don’t use it any more.

    Incidentally the white Ikea enamel jugs everyone loves are perfect collectors if your citrus trees need feeding (you get my drift). More discreet than peeing straight on them.

  5. Brenna says:

    OMG! Thank yeeeewwww Karen for this post. I have needed to replace my toilet for ages, and I know I can do it, but I’ve been a tad intimidated. (After all, I only have one toilet in my small cottage and if I screw this up, I’m literally up shit creek without a paddle.) So, looking forward to tackling this task after watching your video. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  6. Amie M says:

    We have the same toilet! We installed the new toilet as soon as we moved into this old house. The hubs did not want to site where the sketchy previous owners had shat. We have no problems with flushing, on both the low and high flow.

  7. Kmarie says:

    I clicked on the toilet you ordered and we have that one which we bought from costco for one hundred and ten dollars…it comes in their stock in alberta about twice a year. We do still have occasionally plugging issues but only a few times a year… my husband is a journeyman carpenter and it’s one of his preferences for installation as well. Good choice:)

  8. j says:

    D*** Karen! I was told by a plumber that in order to get a good toilet one had to get it from Canada! So I am very interested in how you selected your toilet. I too have to flush twice for every use-and I did not buy the low flow toilet for just that reason. That bit of sharing guarantees eye rolling and a side comment about not saving the planet. [Kind of like when I bought a washer and was ‘proudly’ told about every model’s small requirement of water, so you have to run everything thru twice to get the soap rinsed out.] That’s it, that’s my rant for today! Now I can go back and read all the comments–Thank you for your blog!! You are the best, as evidenced by all the participation you get from your readers from every article!!

  9. The only good thing about buying my house that got flipped was the toilet. Its low-flow and flushes great. Its a Kohler. Everything else that was put in fell apart or stopped working within a year, but that toilet keeps going!

    I’d be all for doing pees out in the yard, but sadly my neighbors all have 2 story houses. Pee is great on a compost pile.

  10. Cindy says:

    I’m with you on the tp farce. My husband is not. I’ve been asked to never buy tp again many times. Unfortunately my certain-to-be-in-the-future-payback-comment of, “Take that and stick it up your wussy butt my love!” will only come with an expensive plumbing bill.
    I’m looking forward to the toilet installation post. Very timely for our household. How can a 6 ft man not realize that one of the two toilets he’s been using for 4 years is sized for a very small person? I’m 5.4 and am tired of having to squat to a less than 90 degree angle at the knees just to sit down on the seat. He was oblivious to the situation until I pointed it out. If I can’t count it as squat reps then its gotta go!
    Thanks for your posts Karen….informative and hilarious!!

  11. Laurie says:

    One word…bidet.

  12. Eileen says:

    I have had the American Standard with the concealed sides for a couple of years now and am very happy with it. The year before I had an American Standard (regular “guts showing”) version installed in the other bath where the sides aren’t as visible—that one is slightly less efficient than the newer one. They replaced a 1990s 3.5 gallon and (holy Niagara Falls!) a 1960s 6 gallon water hog. I only use easily disolveable recycled tp. (I mean seriously, cutting down forests to wipe your …..???) I won’t start my rant about the hideousness of “guts showing” toilets now….

  13. leo muzzin says:

    I am not going to comment on paper usage, but noted that in the UK there are 2 types of flushes to save water. There is the maxi flush and the mini flush each done with a separate lever. This is a great way to save on water….mini for #1………maxi for #2 plus brush and mini to rinse. Depending on consistencies there are other combos…. mini+mini, maxi+maxi. mini then maxi …. you get the idea. LOL

  14. Rondina says:

    There are “crappy” toilets. There are low-water flush toilets that do exactly what you described. There is tp that could be used from a second floor to escape a burning building.

    There is also the possibility that the toilet/sink/tub line is not vented properly.

    I hate my toilet. It’s like sitting on the floor. I think the previous owner took advantage of the city’s free water saving toilet program. I improved it by installing a new handle mechanism and a new plastic seat with the auto-close feature. Just those two little things made a big difference for now. How that stopped clogs, I have no idea. I’m going chair-height Kohler when I redo the bath.

  15. maggie van sickle says:

    Hey Karen looks like the same one we bought. I love the fact it is elongated and 18 or so inches high as I am very tall. It is very easy to clean and dual flush is a good idea as we are on a septic system and a well so this is important. The only thing I really don’t like is you do have to some times flush twice depending on the situation if you know what I mean but I guess this happens with all toilets in this situation. I like it though. Paid a bit but no problems after 3 yrs of use. Just sayin

  16. Mary W says:

    It is very hard to compare usage since having a house of women verses men would vastly change the dynamics. Shaking doesn’t require any paper! Oh Karen – I thought I was the only one that grabbed TP to wipe toothpaste marks off the sink before answering my doorbell. You sure bring it all home so I can laugh at myself.

  17. Sherry says:

    Thank you – more wisdom and instruction … so why when I went on Youtube immediately following opening this link I got a Purex toilet paper ad… :-0

  18. Valerie says:

    Toto toilet, flip lid waste basket for #1 and copper sulphate is my triple suggestion.

  19. Mel B. says:

    who needs a bidet when squirt guns are really cheap? ;) the bathroom has now become the math room. :D

  20. Paula says:

    We live in a century home and we are currently in the process of installing a powder room upstairs which I am very excited about due to no more running downstairs at 3 o’clock in the morning on very cold nights. Our problem is we do not have the space so I purchased the shortest depth toilet at 27 inches. After reading this article I am now second-guessing our choice.

    • Karen says:

      Look for a Gebierit or Duravit wall mounted toilet. We had one in the house we moved out of and I seriously miss it every day! The tank is built into the wall which means the toilet takes a lot less space away in the bathroom. There are so many pluses to these toilets: less noise because the water filing noise is muffled in the wall, easy to clean cause they don’t sit on the floor (toilets are gross inside and out), the flushing power is amazing even though they use very little water (I NEVER had that toilet plug. ….ever and I was on an old septic system) everyday I want my toilet back.

      • Karen says:

        Oh and YOU decide what height You want the toilet mounted. Can it get any better? ?

      • Paula says:

        That does sound good. We are building the wall, too so I suppose that ‘could’ make it easier. I will check them out.

        Thanks Karen.

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