Whether you are looking to conserve water for ecological or economic reasons, it makes sense to tackle the activities that use the most water first.
Most homeowners do not realize that the humble porcelain throne is the biggest single user of water in the household. According to WaterSense, an EPA partnership program, approximately 27 percent of indoor water usage comes from flushing the toilet.
To conserve water use in the toilet you have two options, reduce flushing, or reduce the amount of water used in each toilet flush.
How much water gets flushed?
Toilets installed, in the US, prior to 1992 use between 3 and 7 gallons of water per flush. The majority of working flush toilets falls into this category, using well over 3 gallons of water per flush.
High efficiency toilets, generally those installed after 1992, use on average less than half the water of older style commodes. Each flush sends between 1.2 and 1.6 gallons of water down the drain. So if your toilet has a 1.6GPF label on it, you have a high efficiency model.
From the driest continent on earth, comes another version of water saving commode-the dual flush toilet. This doesn’t flush twice-that wouldn’t save much water–but has two flush buttons. Button number 1 is for, well, number 1’s, and uses 0.8 gallons of water and button number two, well, I think you understand, flushes 1.6 gallons of water.
City and State Incentives for Installing High Efficiency Toilets
So, if a high efficiency toilet uses only half the water of an older style toilet, and flushing makes up 27% of indoor household water usage, you can save a quick 13.5% off your water bill (from indoor activities) by replacing your pre 1992 toilet with a high efficiency model.
To help you do so, there are many city and state incentives for installing High Efficiency Toilets. Check your local area for incentives.
Last year in the midst of a central Texas drought, the City of Austin gave away high efficiency toilets, and rebates on installation, in a bid to lower water consumption. Similarly, Madison Wisconsin water utility gave $100 rebates for the installation of a high efficiency toilet.
These incentives are often provided, at the same time that water bills are rising due to rising water consumption rates. But what do you do, if your area has no incentives?
There’s a simple solution to turning your 3 gallon per flush toilet into a higher efficiency toilet, that stops short of you not flushing every time you go.
How to Reduce the Amount of Water your Toilet Flushes
The water your toilet flushes is held, ready for use, in the toilets cistern. As you flush, the water is released into the toilet bowl, and at the same time, the cistern is filled with fresh water.
You can reduce the amount of water your toilet uses in each flush, by controlling how much water the cistern holds. This doesn’t have to be as complicated as it might sound. You don’t even need to understand the mechanics of what is going on in the cistern.
What you do need however, is a brick, or a jar of water, that you can place into the cistern. The brick, for the purposes of discussion, displaces the amount of water that can be held in the cistern, and reduces the amount of water in each flush.
The only thing to be careful of is to ensure you position your brick or jar so that it does not obstruct the flushing mechanism. If the flushing mechanism is obstructed in any way, you run the risk of a running toilet, which will waste more water than the brick is saving you.
Positioned properly, a humble brick can save you up to 2 liters, or just over ½ a gallon per flush. Multiplied by the number of flushes per person per day, the savings will add up quickly. For little, or no loss of functionality.