Most of the US is experiencing severe drought. We need regular, normal rains that soak into the ground and fill aquifers to pull out of this trend. Water is a precious commodity, and we need to conserve in as many ways as possible.
Flushing the toilet is the biggest use of water in the home. Average residential water use is 350 gallons per day, and 25% of that is for flushing the toilet. Think about it! A toilet uses 1.6 gallons of perfectly clean water to move your waste from the toilet bowl to the city sewer system or to your septic system. Clean water – gone!
What can you do to conserve toilet water?
Conserving flushes to conserve your water
The simplest thing to do is not flush pee and only flush solids. This is what I do, so I flush a few times a day, instead of every time I pee. I trained my daughters to do the same thing. This saves water and our septic system. Needless water will fill a 1000-gallon septic tank in a hurry.
Not flushing grosses people out, so the next best thing you can do is displace the water in the tank. Find a plastic bottle or two that will fit in the tank without getting in the way of the mechanisms that make it work. Fill it with rocks or sand to weight it down, and put the lid on tight. Place it in the tank. Voila! Instant water saver! You have just saved the volume of water that the bottle or bottles would hold.
Ways to save grey water
You can save grey water from your kitchen sink to pour into the toilet bowl to flush. This takes a little thought, but if you wash dishes by hand, use a tub instead of filling the sink. Another way to recycle household water is to put a bucket under the showerhead, and save the water that gets wasted while you wait for it to get hot. You’ll be surprised how much water this is! Use this to flush your toilet.
Another way to use grey water is to retrofit your toilet with a hand-washing sink that replaces the tank lid. Clean water comes through the faucet, you wash your hands with it, then goes into the tank to be used as the next flush.
Old toilets used to use 5-7 gallons of water per flush. You will occasionally find these in older homes these days. I had one in my second bathroom until I remodeled several years ago. I replaced it with a low flow toilet. Federal law requires toilets to be 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). Some companies, though, are going farther than this with 1.28 gpf, and some are as low as .6 gpf. Find out if your water company offers a rebate for replacing your old toilet with a new water saver.
Install a dual flush toilet, which uses two different amounts of water for flushing liquids and solids. You push the handle a certain way for less or more water, whatever your needs are. You can buy inexpensive retrofit kits and do it yourself.
Water conservation for your toilet – ROI?
Aside from saving water, you will save money on your water and sewer bills by simply using less water to flush your toilet. The ROI on this project will vary. Some toilets are expensive, but collecting water or retrofitting your toilet will reap quicker financial rewards. It’s crucial to save water these days, and reducing toilet flushing water is an excellent place to start.