Are waterless urinals a practical investment for a home bathroom with the intention of lowering water usage?
Are there other options I should be considering?
Sean, although great in theory, all feedback I've gotten from clients on waterless urinals has been a resounding "they stink"! This is because of the "splash" that naturally occurs, and the bowl portion must be wiped out daily.
Standard cleaning products CANNOT be flushed down the drain without disrupting the trap liquid which keeps the waste and smell at bay. Once the liquid is disrupted, the urinal is open to the sewer pipe until the liquid is replaced. This causes the smell issues, so you must be extremely diligent about following the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. Waterless urinals are also more expensive to maintain, and only save 0.5-1.0 gallon per flush when compared to most modern flushing urinals.
I would suggest using a dual-flush toilet, which offers the option of a 1.6 gallon (#2) flush or 0.9 gallon (#1) flush based upon need. A favorite of mine is TOTO's UltraMax; model number is MS854114S. It is a nice looking one-piece that incorporates a 3" flush valve instead of the standard 2". It meets commercial requirements, works well in a home and is quieter than the air-assisted models. The long sweeping trapway is good prevention against clogging from stuck objects that can get caught in the standard shapes.
If you're stuck on having a waterless urinal, go with Kohler's Steward L waterless urinal, with a sleek, great-looking design that minimizes splash.
For more information:
Read more tips on choosing a low flow toilet in GreenHomeGuide's Bathroom Know-How section.