Flush with less water
Whether or not you decide to flush less often, you can significantly cut your water consumption by using less water with each flush. With a simple modification to your existing toilet or by purchasing a dual flush or high-efficiency toilet, you could soon be conserving half a gallon of water every flush, or 240 gallons per month (based on an average of 16 flushes per day for a family of four).
How to flush with less water
Flushing with less water cuts your water use without compromising the effectiveness of your toilet. The effect is most dramatic if you have an older-model toilet (i.e. one that requires more than three gallons to flush). Although a toilet made after 1994 already uses only 1.6 gallons to flush, it's still possible to further reduce this amount, but be wary of flushing with less than one gallon.
Making a few simple modifications to your existing toilet is an easy, low-cost way to start reducing water waste and your water bill, too! Here are some simple steps to creating a lower-flow toilet, but if you need some visual inspiration, check out this toilet modification video.
- Put a few inches of gravel or pebbles in the bottom of an empty gallon jug. Fill the rest up with water and cap it. If you prefer slightly more water for flushing, use a smaller jug.
- Remove the lid of the toilet tank and flush. Notice the location of the flushing mechanism.
- Place the filled jug in the tank, making sure not to interfere with any part of the flushing mechanism.
- Allow the toilet to fill back up.
- If the jug floats a little, add more gravel to weigh it down.
- Replace the toilet tank lid and use your toilet as normal.
Note: a brick is not recommended for sinking in the toilet tank, as it may eventually begin to deteriorate and could damage the toilet mechanism.
Find it! Mechanisms to flush with less water
There are many small, and often inexpensive, products on the market that make your job of cutting toilet water waste even easier. Whether it's an overflow regulator or a dual flush kit, there are loads of ways to start saving.
Flushing with less water helps you go green because…
- It conserves water.
- It conserves energy.
Every day, Americans use 5.8 billion gallons of water to flush toilet waste. About three-quarters of indoor home water consumption takes place in the bathroom, and the toilet is responsible for about 28 percent of total home water use. Excessive water use can be particularly damaging if your plumbing is connected to a septic system. Overloading the system with waste water reduces the soil's capacity to absorb treated water and requires that the septic tank be emptied more often, thereby increasing maintenance costs.
Conserving water also means conserving energy. That's because water treatment and transport consumes a considerable amount energy-wise. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), public water-supply and treatment facilities in the US use about 50 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. In these terms, letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as lighting a 60-watt light bulb for 14 hours.
- About My Planet - Tame Your Toilet
- Community Science Action Guidelines - Water Saving Toilets
- Eartheasy - 25 Ways to save water at home
- Mississippi State University Extension Service - Water Quality: Correct Use of Your Septic Tank: See 'Water Conservation' section.
- US Environmental Protection Agency - WaterSense: Efficiency Made Easy - Benefits of Water Efficiency