More water is used to flush your toilets than is used anywhere else in your home. In fact, toilets account for about 30 percent of your home’s indoor water consumption, according to the EPA. Everybody flushes, so you might as well invest in some toilet improvements that will save you both water and money. If now isn’t the right time to buy a new toilet, here are some simple tips that everyone can do to improve the efficiency of their toilet that cost less than $5 now and could save you hundreds of dollars every year.
How to check for a leaking toilet
If your toilet is running constantly, it is constantly wasting water. You won’t hear a slow leaking toilet constantly filling up, so it’s a good idea to check your toilet for leaks at least four times a year. To do this, simply insert a few drops of food coloring into the tank and don’t flush your toilet for 10 to 20 minutes. After you’ve waited, look to see if there is any food coloring in the toilet bowl. If there is, you have a leak and your toilet could be wasting as much as 6,000 gallons per month. That’s nearly $1,000 a year down the drain. If you’re a DIYer, then you can probably fix the problem with a replacement part that costs less than $5 at your local hardware store. For more significant problems, call a plumber or even consider replacing your toilet.
Install a quick-close flapper
If you have a leak, it’s likely due to the toilet flapper. Flappers are the rubber piece that moves with the flush valve. It is supposed to keep water in your tank when you’re not using it and allow water to exit when you flush. Because toilet flappers deteriorate over time, they are a likely cause of water leaks from your tank to your bowl. If you plan on replacing your flapper, you may want to consider a quick-close flapper that will save you a considerable amount of water and money. By installing a flapper that intentionally closes early, you could save as much as 50 percent of water per flush. It may take a little adjusting to get the setting correct, but you should be able to flush all the contents of the toilet bowl and use less water while doing it.
Displace water in the tank
If you’re looking for a cheap and quick way to lower your toilet’s water usage without replacing it with a newer, more efficient model, you can reduce the amount of water it uses by placing something in the tank that will make it fill up quicker and with less water. For decades, people have used bricks to accomplish this task, but this is not recommended because the bricks will disintegrate and could cause damage to your toilet and plumbing. Instead, you could fill up a small plastic bottle with pebbles or marbles or purchase relatively cheap products designed specifically for this task. Simple water displacement techniques can reduce the amount of water your toilet uses by about 4 gallons per toilet per day, which will reduce your water usage by about 13 percent, according to the SAHRA Research Institute.