Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reducing Toilet Water Waste

Have you ever given thought to how much water you literally flush down the drain every day in your toilet? If you're the average American, thats over thousands of gallons over the course of a year simply to help carry away your waste products.
While I'm not about to give up on my flush toilet any time soon and switch over to an outhouse (though a composting toilet sounds like a pretty nifty idea ... one day), it does pay to do a few simple things to reduce the amount of water you waste when flushing the toilet.

Reducing Toilet Water Wastage

Flush Less Water. Unless you have an expensive dual flushing toilet system, your toilet probably flushes 5 gallons down the drain every time you use the John.

  • Water filled bottle in tank. Lift up the cover of your toilet tank and put inside a water filled bottle or jar. You may need to weigh this down with some pebbles so it doesn't float around. This bottle displaces water, making less water flush each time.
  • Adjust the valve. There are two different types of toilets, but if you have a toilet with a side float valve, try fiddling around with the float valve to lower the water level in the tank. This also will lower cause your toilet to use less water per flush.

Check for leaks. They can wreak havoc on your water bill. Does your toilet constantly sound like it is being filled up? If so, your toilet probably has a leak and is wasting lots of water. If you're a do-it-yourself-nik, you generally just need to replace a rubber ring, but even paying a plumber to do the job will save you lots.

Flush with collected water. When you take a shower, you're collecting the cold water in a bucket, right? Are you collecting rain water in a rain barrel? Use that water to fill your toilet tank to flush, or simply pour the water straight into the bowl. It'll automatically flush the toilet (but might make your floor wet if you're not careful).

Toilet bowl brushes. People often flush toilets repeatedly to get rid of "skid marks". Do yourself a favor and simply provide a toilet bowl brush easily accessible. Its easier to clean off the skid marks that way and is easier on the pocketbook as well.

Flush less. Dare I say it? There's a phrase commonly heard among the extreme frugals. "If it's yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down." No further explanation needed, other than saying that yellow doesn't stink up the place, keep the toilet seat down, and make sure to flush before company comes over.

Do you do anything to reduce the water being flushed down the drain in your home? What methods do you use? Or do you prefer to not mix frugality and bathroom habits?


  1. Hi Penny, I can't believe this post didn't generate a ton of comments. I have just come across it and have to tell you that in my part of the world we had severe drought a few years ago and saving water was the hot topic. 'If its yellow let it mellow.......' became the norm for a lot of households and people were not ashamed to of it. We still do it in our household where the toilets are flushed with rainwater anyhow. You see we are getting less rain on the average and we have to conserve our rain water too.

  2. I guess I have a sensitive nose. To me "yellow" does stink up the place....but I do like the idea of putting a filled bottle of water in the tank and lowering the chain on the flapper...all good ideas to reduce the water use.


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