Effective this Jan. 1, property owners who obtain permits to remodel a property that was built prior to 1994 are required to retrofit with toilets that use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, showerheads with flow rates of no more than 2.5 gallons per minute and other interior fixtures that use less than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.
This applies to all single-family property permits, as well as multifamily and commercial properties permits where 10 percent or more of the square footage is included in the remodel.
By Jan. 1, 2017, all residential properties in California that were built prior to 1994 will need to be in compliance with water fixtures as outlined above, which will bring them up to the same standards as homes built since 1994.
The good news is that not only do the newer high quality toilets work well, unlike the early “flush twice” low-flow toilets, but they can be rather stylish and upgrade the decor of your bathrooms. The same is true for other plumbing fixtures, providing an opportunity to replace that tired old kitchen faucet.
Although retrofitting of all pre-1994 homes will not be mandated until 2017, making this change now makes a lot of sense — and cents. You have to do it within three years anyway, so by doing it now you will start to save money by reducing your water bill, and most importantly, you will use less of our precious water during our current statewide drought emergency.
— Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.