Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Water Usage & The Toilet

According to the United States Geological Survey, each person uses approximately 80 to 100 gallons of water at home per day. Surprisingly, the largest use of household water goes to flush the toilet. On average individuals flush toilets 5 times per day and this can add up to over 25% of total water use in the home. Older toilets use between 3 and 5 gallons of clean water per flush while newer toilets (1992 and later) can use around 1.6 gallons per flush. You can check to see how much your toilet uses by lifting off the toilet tank and checking the GPF (gallons per flush).

Toilet Tidbits
•Americans flush 4.8 billion gallons of water down the toilet every day. Pre-1950, toilets used 7+ gallons per flush; by 1980, it was 3.5. By law, new toilets use 1.6 gallons or less.
•Replacing an old toilet with a new low-flow john gives water bill savings of $46/year - you'll make back the cash in 5 years.

Toilet Products
Consider using one of the following water saving techniques or new toilet products in your bathroom. You’ll be saving money, energy, the environment, and you’ll be addressing water shortage concerns.

1) Water saving devices: cheap ways to convert any toilet to a low flush toilet.
a. Water Displacement Device – buy a water displacement bag from your local hardware store or add a half-gallon plastic bottle filled with sand or pebbles to your toilet tank. This will save you at least a half-gallon per flush and the savings will quickly add up. Note that this tip is not recommended for low flush 1.6 gallon toilets.
b. Toilet Tank Flapper Flush Device – cut down water use by 50% every time you flush. The device costs only $5 and is recommended for 3.5 gallon toilets.
c. Fill Cycle Diverter – saves 1/2 gallon of water per flush and costs $1. Both the tank and the bowl of a toilet need to be refilled when a toilet is flushed. On many toilet designs, the bowl will fill sooner than the tank, and, as a result, water will continue to run into the bowl until the tank is full. This wastes water. The fill cycle diverter is designed to direct more water to the tank and less to the bowl during refill so both the tank and the bowl finish filling at the same time.

2) Check for leaks: Add 10 drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the color appears in the bowl, your toilet has a leak.

3) Low flush toilets: Toilets in the US are now required by law to use 1.6 gallons per flush or less (and fortunately the American Water Works Research Association has found that additional flushes are not needed to flush these low flush toilets). You can check out reviews of low flush toilets by plumber Terry Love. His favorite is the UltraMax by Toto.

4) Dual flush toilets: If you’ve ever been to Europe you’ve certainly used a dual flush toilet. These toilets can help save even more water than the low flush toilet with their two button system – one button uses 1.6 gallons and the other uses 0.8 gallons (for “number 1”). Check out the Caroma Dual Flush Toilet.

5) Waterless, composting toilet: Composting toilets can be both clean and sanitary. As an additional benefit they make free, homemade fertilizer for your garden! Check out the Envirolet composting toilet. I'll be adding a post focused on composting toilets in the near future.

6) Greywater systems: Use water from your sink or shower to flush your toilet. This bullet also deserves its own post (which you can expect soon) but for now check out this article posted on that reviews a product called The Aqus.


Analeigh said...

Thank u for wonderful information^^ I had to do a science project at school and this is the best I can get..

mike said...

Great info about toilets and consumption.