Monday, January 20, 2014

Water Conservation #1 - toilets

With a terrible drought and water rates on the rise, there is more incentive now than ever before to conserve water. I'm bringing you a series of posts with practical ways for you to save water in your home. Some of these I've already implemented in our home but I'll be implementing all of them possible in a 'test' home in order to actually compare the water savings to the prior year. I'm excited to see how these changes actually impact the water use and bill, instead of just calculating expected savings. 

So to start this series on water conservation in your home, let's start with the quickest and easiest. You don't need tools or a trip to the store. You should be able to find everything you need right in your home and not need to spend a thing. This is my kind of water conservation - free and painless.

Basically we are going to put something in the tank of the toilet to take up space that would normally be filled by water to make your ordinary toilet a water saving toilet. 

In our old house I used a simple plastic water bottle. It fit just right and never fell down (note that if the bottle falls down it disrupts the mechanics of the toilet and might actually waste water). But the toilets in our current house are different and the water bottle didn't work. So I scrounged around in the cupboards and decided to try some jars. This is a glass jar that used to hold almond butter from Costco. I gathered up a few big rocks from the yard to add even more weight to be sure it dosen't move around. 

Then I added it to the toilet tank. Easy. Seriously this took 5 minutes and cost nothing. It would have been faster if I hadn't stopped for pictures. 

The only hard part about this is figuring out how much savings this will give you in water. Very old toilets can use as much as 7 gallons per flush if they are pre 1990s. But newer toilets can use as little as 1.6 gallons. If you have a super efficient toilet, you may not want to add anything to the tank. But if it isn't already maximum efficiency, this should help you get there. And if you find the toilet isn't handling the dirty work, just remove whatever jar or bottle you added to the tank.

There are also a few other options for you that will require a trip to the hardware store.
3. An adjustable flusher conversion kit like this one -
4. A new super efficient toilet

I will note that my local hardware stores - even the big ones - did not carry the linked items in store so you may need to order them online.

So see if this works for you and you can start saving water and money today without spending a dime. And check back for my upcoming posts on water saving fixtures and landscape.

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