This article can now be found at thePlumber.com
A lot of people are finally starting to realize the impact humans have on our clean water supply and have become more conscientious about how they use water and how much water they use. One question we see frequently asked online is – can I put a brick in my toilet tank to help conserve water?
This is a valid question for anyone wanting to save water, as the toilet uses nearly 1/3 of our indoor water consumption, and technically, yes you could…but we really don’t like to recommend that. While we here at PlumbingSupply.com truly care about water conservation and try to do our part to save water and help others to save water, putting a brick in your toilet isn’t the way to do it.
All toilets manufactured after the early 90’s use only 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or less, with many of the newest models using 1.28gpf. Older toilets do use significantly more water, with most being 3.5gpf, but some using up to 6gpf – that’s a lot of clean water being flushed – but it’s important to understand that these toilets were specifically designed to use that much water and they typically won’t flush properly with less. And yes, we completely understand that your toilet LOOKS just like the low flow toilets…from the outside…and that this can be confusing for many people. Trust us, the inner workings can be significantly different. An extra bend or an extra inch of height in the toilet trap can mean a lot when you’re moving waste with only water and gravity.
For sanitary reasons, you really want all that waste to be disposed of properly and not stuck in your toilet trap or your home’s sewage line. So, it’s important that the correct amount of water is used to help that waste move along the sewage lines and help prevent clogging – which means you really shouldn’t use a brick, or anything else for that matter, to reduce the amount of water in your tank.
We’re aware that there are plenty of articles out there telling you otherwise – that it’s perfectly fine to displace the water in your toilet tank to help conserve and that your toilet will flush either way. Which is true, in most cases. Your toilet WILL flush, but it won’t be doing so effectively. And that opens up the potential for serious problems in your home or community sewage system down the road.
If you’re concerned about water conservation and have an older toilet with a higher flush rate, we strongly recommend you replace the toilet with a newer, water-saving model. That is the most effective method of saving water when it comes to toilets. Also, regardless of whether your toilet is new or old, making sure you check periodically for leaks and repair them quickly can also save significant amounts of water.
However, IF you choose not to replace your older toilet and you choose to use the “brick method”, it is a better idea to take a plastic water bottle and fill it up with sand or small pebbles and place that in the tank instead of a brick. Even a brick wrapped in plastic can break down in the tank, especially if you get a hole or loose seal in the plastic wrap.
Want more water-saving ideas? Check out our Guide to Water-Saving Plumbing Products for tips to help you conserve!
This article can now be found at thePlumber.com
Maybe the very availability of clean drinking water has made us forget how rare it is. After all, only a tiny portion of the world’s water is fresh (non-salty) water – about 2-3 percent of the water on Earth according to some current estimates. Of that, only a tiny part of that is where we can get to it – about 1 percent. So one percent of two or three percent of the water on Earth is accessible. Fascinating!
And yet we let our faucets drip, run our sprinklers when the ground is already saturated, and use water-guzzling toilets. Our reasoning? Well, a lot of it is simple apathy – why should we change when it’s working well enough? Some may feel that paying a plumber to fix a “little” problem isn’t worth the money or the hassle, but they don’t know how to address the issue themselves.
Need some motivation? A simple little drip, let’s say one drip per minute from a bathroom faucet, can easily drip a liter of water down the drain each day. Doesn’t really sound like much, does it? But a drip caused by worn compression washers inevitably gets worse, and in a month or two, your one-drip-per-minute is probably a several-drips-per-minute, which is much more noticeable and lets multiple gallons go down the drain per day. If you wouldn’t pour drinkable water down the drain, why are you letting it leak away?
Need more motivation to fix the leak? A small problem inevitably becomes a large problem if you don’t fix it. A little leak can turn into a dribble, which is not only a terrible waste, but can flood a sink or tub, or even worse, cause problems with your septic system. At that point you’re dealing with wet floors, a soggy yard, and more than a simple fix. Not to mention inflating the water bill! So, prevent flooding by fixing the leak while it’s still small and avoid not only the problems, but save some of that tiny percent of water we humans have access to.
Ready to fix the drip? Read more…
Whether you are a renter, homeowner or landlord, just about everyone has heard that switching out your old light bulbs, turning off lights, lowering the thermostat, etc might save you a little money on your energy bill. Renters can usually find easy, non-permanent energy saving solutions like switching out the shower head for one that has low-flow water-saving features. But, if you are the property owner much more can be done according to a recent report by CNT Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
“We have billions essentially sitting untapped in our apartment buildings. We can harness that by simply setting better policies for efficiency for apartment buildings,” said Anne McKibbin, CNT Energy policy director and coauthor of the report.
Improving the energy efficiency of multi-family buildings like apartments can save money for the building owners and also for the renters themselves. Things like an outdated water heater, older toilets flushing 3 gallons each time… or even that refrigerator from 1972 that came with the apartment can really add up when the renter gets their energy and water bills. Sometimes, that can even cause tenants to start looking for a new place to call home. So, renters, if you are living with some not-so efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures, you may think about using this information to encourage your landlord to make some necessary upgrades.
There are plenty of energy saving upgrades that are fairly inexpensive and can actually put a little back in the pocketbooks of renters and property owners. For example installing an energy efficient tankless water heater can offer a great deal of savings on your energy bill. There are often generous rebate intensives offered by energy companies and some states that can make the decision to upgrade much easier.