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How to reduce water used by toilets (continued) January 5, 2010

Posted by WaterWise Consulting in water conservation.
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As I discussed yesterday, there are many various ways to reduce the amount of water used by your toilets. I provided a list of three ways to reduce the amount of water used, and now I will provide specific examples of each:
1. Retrofit toilet with efficient model that had a lower flush rate.
Toilets made before 1992 have a standard flow r ate of 3.5 gallons per flush (GPF). Efficient toilets now use as little as 1.28 GPF. For modern efficient toilets, there are multiple options such as Ultra-Low Flush Toilets (ULFTs), High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs), and Dual-Flush Toilets.
ULFTs surprisingly use more water than HETs, since ULFTs were developed first. The ULFTs today flush at a volume of 1.6 gallons per flush. HETs now flush with as little as 1.28 gallons per flush. Dual-flush toilets have a lever that may be pushed down or pulled up, for different flow rates. This provides the user with an option of flushing 1.28 gallons for liquid waste, or 1.6 gallons for solid waste.
2. Place water bottles filled with water or sand in your toilet tank. While this method is a very easy method to save water for do-it-yourself people, it is not as foolproof as retrofitting your whole toilet. By placing one (1) one-liter water bottle filled with sand in your toilet tank, you can reduce the flush volume by up to one liter. By placing multiple bottles, you can effectively reduce the flush volume by the volume of water bottles placed in the tank.
3. To test if your toilet is leaking water, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring begins appearing in the toilet bowl without flushing, your tank is leaking. This provides a cost-effective method for testing your toilet for leaks. If the tank is leaking, it slowly drains water into the bowl and re-fills itself. The food coloring should not leak into your toilet bowl unless you flush it. If the coloring appears in the bowl without flushing, you should visit your local hardware store and buy replacement gaskets to fix any leaking.
Assuming you have a pre-1992 toilet that flushes at 3.5 gallons per flush, here is the maximum amount of water you can save by implementing any one of these measures:
Retrofitting toilets with ULFTs save about 1.9 gallons per flush, 7.6 gallons per day, and 2,705 gallons per year.
Retrofitting toilets with HETs save about 2.22 gallons per flush, 8.88 gallons per day, and 3,161 gallons per year.
Retrofitting toilets with dual-flush toilets save about 2 gallons per flush, 8 gallons per day, and 2,933 gallons per year.
Note: these are approximate values, actual water savings will vary
To read about how toilet flush rates are tested, or to see rated models, visit: http://www.cuwcc.org/MaPTesting.aspx



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