While most people may not like talking about toilets, toilets remain an integral part of a home. Apart from being a point of relieving yourself, it encourages sanitation, safety and prevents the spread of diseases.
Homes without toilets are uninhabitable. That is why JB Pritzker toilets were removed to make the home unlivable.
You probably have seen the word banks campaign on the importance of toilets and sanitation: WASH initiative. This initiative major on water supply, hygiene, and sanitation.
Note that toilets are the primary source of water use in a home. For this reason, homeowners are applying different means to reduce water usage. The main point is to keep the water and sewer bills in check.
Did you know that older toilets can use up to 4 times more water per single flush?
Water is expensive. If you don’t use water properly, you might end up with high bills at the end of the month. Is it ok to turn off the water to toilet? I believe not. With advancing technology, manufacturers have come up with high water-efficient toilets.
To be on the safe side, you need to have a toilet that uses water efficiently. If you have an older model, you might consider retrofitting to make it economical.
Even with a modern toilet, you might still experience water wastage due to leakages. So, how do you conserve water in a toilet?
Managing Toilet Leaks
A leaking toilet can skyrocket your water bill. Leaks can be difficult to notice. Silent leaks are the most dangerous. Gallons of water drain silently. You need to be watchful to be able to see leakages.
- Buy a dye tablet or food color
- Open the lid of your toilet tank and drop a single dye tablet or about ten drops of food color
- Return the cover: do not flush the toilet
- Let the water stand for 20 minutes, then check your toilet bowl: if there is colored water, then you have a leaking toilet. This leak is from the flush valve. If you want to determine a leak coming from a fill valve you’ll need to examine the overflow tube to see if the water is running into the tube.
A leaking toilet can waste up to 80,000 gallons of water a year. For sure, a leaking toilet will tear apart your pocket. You need to repair it ASAP.
But wait, do you know the source of the leakage?
Leakage is a sure sign of malfunctioning valves either flush valve or the fill valves. In such cases, you need to replace them.
Replacing a flush valve
- Remove the toilets tank lid and shut off the water by turning the shut-off valve clockwise
- Flush all the water and towel out any remaining water in the tank
- Remove the hose that supplies water to the tank and disconnect the flapper chain from the tank lever arm
- You’ll also need to disconnect the refill tube that is attached to top of the overflow pipe
- Underneath the tank are bolts that hold the tank to the bowl. Unscrew them. If they are tight, spray them with penetrating oil to loosen them
- When the bolts are off, lift the tank off the bowl and set it aside.
- On the lower side of the tank are locknuts that hold the flush valve. Unscrew the locknuts using a plumber’s wrench. Remove the old flush valve
- Following the same procedure, install a new flush valve. Always keep in mind the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Once you are done, reattach the tank to the bowl using the bolts, reattach the flapper chain to the flush lever arm, the fill hose to the new overflow pipe and reconnect the water supply to the tank.
- Lastly, turn on the water and test the new flush valve for leaks
High Efficiency Toilets save Water
Did you know that a WaterSense toilet uses only 1.28 gallons per flush? Older versions of toilet use up to 7 gallons of water per flush! This is a lot of water. Replacing this toilet with modern, efficient types of toilets saves a lot of water usage.
If you have an older version, consider replacing it with a newer model. If you want to buy a newer model, consider the tips below;
- Always look for a WaterSense logo on the toilet. A toilet with this logo has been tested and proved to use not more than 1.28 gallons of water per single flush, which implies that it is a high-efficiency toilet and it has a completed the third-party certification process. Remember, to earn that certification, rigorous tests have been done to assess the performance
- Get a toilet that fits into your toilet space and system. There are many toilet brands exists. While shopping, get a toilet that will fit into your current toilet space and the system in precisely. This reduces additional costs.
- Does the cost of the toilet matter to you? Most high-efficiency toilets are priced at between $100 and $400. Some cover installation fee while others don’t. You can easily find the toilets in plumbing or home improvement stores.
- Always note that quality goes with prices – What you pay for it what you get. The lifespan of a toilet is estimated to fall between half a year to 5 years. Of course, this will depend on the quality.
Bottom line: even with the high-efficiency toilets, some perform better than others. Do you need homework correctly before making a purchase.
However, if you cannot afford to buy the high-efficiency toilet, then consider fixing the leaks.
Modifying Your Old Toilet to Use less Water
If your toilet uses more than 3.5 gallons per flush, you might consider retrofitting it to make it use less water per flush. Much as retrofitting saves water, it is not a recommended method.
Retrofitting aims at reducing the amount of water that fills the tank. It simply shrinks the tank but does not shrink the bowl. This leads to inefficient draining of wastes from the bowl. This calls for flushing twice.
There are various ways of retrofitting a toilet. However, only one method works reasonably well.
Use of a fill cycle diverter:
This is a system that makes the tank and the bowl refill roughly at the same time after a flush.
A fill cycle diverter is a plastic device fitted on the toilet to direct more water to the tank and less water to the bowl as they refill. The aim of this feature is to ensure that less water is wasted.
When you flush a toilet priority is given to the bowl rather than a tank meaning more water is directed to the bowl. This water drains away. The tank will fill much later. In the process, more water is wasted.
A fill cycle diverter saves about a half a gallon of water whenever you flush your toilet. Instead of removing your toilet like JB Pritzker toilets, fit in a cycle diverter.
Water conservation can be a painstaking process, which might make forget every other thing in your toilet. Consider other issues in your toilet.
Here is the deal:
Your toilet is prone to problems such as faulty flushing system, poor refilling, or broken part. These problems can significantly reduce the efficiency of your toilet. More water will be lost hence higher bills.
Take a moment and think, have you ever heard hissing sounds, short bursts, banging noises, rumbling or thumbing? These are problems that are common to toilets, and they can make your toilet an undesirable place to visit.
Flushing problems in your toilets can be devastating. More often these problems arise from a faulty fill valve, flush valve or flapper. The common issues include:
A Slowing Toilet Tank or a Tank That Doesn’t Fill
The fill valve is the primary culprit in this case. The problem arises when a valve is either old or clogged with debris. The accumulation of debris may occur in the valve body, shut off valve or the supply line, reducing the size of the water flow way. This, in turn, reduces the flow of water.
It is essential to know how to fix a slow filling toilet tank. This process involves flushing out the debris from the system, repairing faulty parts and replacing the broken valves. While doing so, you will need to follow the standard procedure.
- Toilet With Abnormal Noise
You’ve probably encountered a toilet gurgling after flush or toilet bubbling when washer drains, right? The first step in such a scenario is to determine the source of that noise. Abnormal noises include hissing sounds, constant thumbing, gurgling, and bubbling, among others.
A hissing sound is a sign that water is continuously flowing through the valve into the tank. This is an indication of a faulty valve. In this case, you’ll need to replace it or unclog it if it is blocked.
A thumping noise (water resonance) on the other hand indicates that the shut off valve has an obstruction, and water is moving in a restricted manner. To solve this problem, buy a valve with an in-built regulator. Such valves are great at reducing the water resonance. If the problem persists then replace the shut-off valve.
- Toilet Running Constantly
Such a problem is as a result of either faulty valves (flush or fill) or flappers. This is the basic dream of a toilet overflowing. So, you have to work very fast to prevent the problem: identifying the source of the problem and fixing it.
Debris in the valve can cause continuous running of water. So, you’ll need to clean them.
Refill problems result from faulty fill valves and flappers. Usually, their effects lead to the slow filling of the tank, overflow, or at times, banging noises. The major problem you can experience is:
Ghost flushing or toilet flushes on its own: This is an indication that a toilet is losing water either internally or externally through leaking.
Maintaining Your Toilet
Always keep your toilet clean. Cleaning toilet is undoubtedly one of the most challenging things for most people. A toilet that is used frequently needs frequent cleaning.
Imagine a house of 5 people and each going toilet 5 times a day. That translates to 25 times a day. Then, how often should you clean such a toilet? Obvious, always!
Use a scrubbing brush to scrub the interior of your toilet bowl. To make your bowl cleaner naturally, you can use baking soda, or you can use the Kool-Aid to remove all stubborn rings. For the baking soda, apply it and let it stand for 5 minutes before you scrub.
For the exterior of the toilet, start by cleaning the lid and the seat with a clean rug. Note that you can get a pee guard for a toilet seat for a hygienic toilet.
After the lid, wipe the exterior of the bowl down using a disinfected wipe. Then you will also need to wipe the floor around the toilet base as well as the toilet room. Then spray vinegar on the bowl and seat to disinfect further.
Alternatively, you can use the aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner to get a sparklingly whiter look.
Toilets are the most used part of a home. Besides, a toilet room uses more water than any other place. A toilet that uses water efficiently will undoubtedly cut on your water and sewer bills. It is vital to install a toilet with a high water efficiency capability.
Unlike JB Pritzker toilets, installing water efficient toilet isn’t reason enough to save on water. Watch out for faulty valves that might cause leakages. Leakages are significant sources of water loss in a home.
Note many diseases stem from the toilet. A clean toilet is more appealing. It will make your home more habitable. If you do not make the cleanliness of your toilet a priority, then it defeats the reason for having a toilet.