8 Great Tips to Green your Toilet and Bathroom
Toilets use more water than any other appliance in your house — about 30 percent of home water use is flushing. By properly maintaining your toilet, flushing less often, and installing a high-efficient fixture at its end-of-life, you can begin saving money and water.
By following the tips below, you can begin to reduce your water consumption and the effects your toilet has on the environment.
✔ Upgrade to high-efficiency (HET) – High-Efficiency toilets use far less water per flush. Most models use less than 1.28 gallons as opposed to 1.6 for a standard toilet.
✔ Install a Composting Toilet – Composting toilets (also known as biological toilets, dry toilets, or waterless toilets) are clean, odorless, conserve energy and water, and act as a waste treatment plant in your very own house. The cost of a store-bought composting toilet is actually quite high, with prices ranging from $1,000-$5,000. However, depending on where you live, this may be comparable to installing a septic system.
✔ Flush less often – Flush less often to simply and directly reduce water consumption at no cost and without compromising hygiene. The average person flushes his/her home toilet 4 times a day. In an average household of 3.2 people, this would result in nearly 40 gallons. If this could be reduced by a quarter (one less flush a day), this would save 365 gallons a year.
✔ Reduce the volume of flush water – By either upgrading your existing toilet to a High-Efficiency model or by placing a weighted object in the tank (to take up the volume), you can reduce the amount of water used for every flush. You can significantly cut your water consumption by using less water with each flush.
✔ Know your toilet – Before considering an upgrade, it is important to know what kind of toilet you currently have. A pre-1994 flush-toilet or gravity-fed toilet uses 3.4 US gallons. In 1992, the United States Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which mandated that from 1994, the common flush-toilet could only use 1.6 US gallons of water per flush. These are commonly called low- flow toilets. Even more efficient toilets have come to the market in recent years called high-efficiency toilets or HETs. HETs have an effective flush volume of 1.28 US gallons or less.
✔ Check for leaks – Leaky toilets are the most common cause of high water bills. They can often be leaking without any noticeable symptoms, so it is important to check your toilet on a regular basis.
The most common causes of leaks in toilets come from the following:
- a worn-out flapper or ball;
- a damaged seat under the flapper;
- a damaged gasket under the flush valve;
- a hole or crack in the overflow tube;
- or a refill valve (ballcock) that needs a new seat or washer.
There are a number of signs that a toilet may be leaking. These are some of the most common:
- if you have to jiggle the handle to make it stop running;
- if sounds are coming from a unit that is not being used;
- if you have to hold the handle down to allow the tank to empty;
- if you see water running over the top of the overflow;
- if you can see water trickling down the sides of the bowl long after it’s been flushed;
- and if a toilet turns the water on for 15 seconds or more without you touching the handle.
- If you suspect a leak, unless you are quite DIY savvy, we would suggest calling in a plumber.
✔ Install a dual-flush system – Dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently from standard American style toilets, giving the user a choice of flushes. A lower volume flush is provided for liquid wastes. There are retrofit kits available that can be installed on almost any toilet to achieve the same effect.
✔ Buy eco-friendly TP – Eco-friendly TP is toilet paper that is made from sustainable or recycled paper (high post-consumer recycled content) and has been manufactured without chlorine. Paper processing releases high amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment.