Are You Flushing A Scarce Resource Down The Drain? Learn About Toilets, Water Usage And Saving Money

During summers when I was a teenager, I used to work for American Standard, loading their trucks with products destined for points all over Canada, and the United States. At that time, they were one of the largest makers of toilets in North America. I learned quite a thing or two back then about these bathroom 'thrones,' not the least of which was that their porcelain frames were heavy to lift! One of the main differences in overall toilet design from then to now is in the amount of water they require per flush.

This liquid need has been greatly reduced while performance has remained steady, and in some newer designs even vastly improved. Note: North America holds a vast amount of the world's dwindling fresh water supply. A great deal of this asset is wasted every time when we flush a toilet in our home or office. By learning how to cut your usage, you'll not only conserve a precious and life sustainable resource, but save money at the same time.

Types Of Toilettes

Manufactures have bought several unique toilets to the marketplace. The most common of these used through most residential and industrial properties are:

Gravity: This simple type of toilet is in rough 99% of all homes, and as the name implies, it purely finds mainly on gravity when you flush to remove the waste.

Dual Flush: This is the type of toilet that I have in my own home. It basically involves two flushing actions. For liquid waste, it permits one to flush using only 3 liters of water. For solid waste the full 6 liters are used. By utilizing this feature correctly a vast amount of water is saved, which is good for the environment and your pocket-book.

Pressure-Assist: While traveling, if you've ever had to pull your car over and use the facilities at a roadside stop stop, chances are the toilets were of this variety. They are also used extensively in office buildings. You can tell it's a 'pressure-assist' toilet because the minute you flush it makes a lot of noise, and feels as though it wants to draw you into the opening as well! This is because compressed air is forced into the bowl 'pushing' the waste out, whereas in a gravity toilet the waste is 'dropped' out.

Toilets And Water Usage

Every time you or another family member flushes a toilet, a vast amount of water goes down the drain. On average, 30% of indoor water usage can be attributed to your toilet. Many homes built today, and those older ones that have been renovated, have several toilets in place, each thirsty for their share of water. My older East York neighborhood area home originally had one small bathroom on the second floor.

One of my first priorities once I took possession was to install a second larger one in the basement. Many of my neighbors have done the same to their relative properties. Toilets size, and water draw has gone through extensive changes over the last thirty years. Before 1980, the average toilet required a staggering 20 liters of water per flush. Innovations were made sending that number down to around 13 liters per flush, and more recently that number has again been reduced to a meagre 6 liters per flush.

Saving Money On Water

Water, as mentioned earlier, is a precious commodity the world over so the less one can use in the home, the better. Example: Let's say that your current toilet is one of the older models that requires 20 liters per flush. Let's assum, on average, you flush 12 times per day. So, your current daily requirement of water would be 240 liters.

Remember, this is for just one toilet in your home; you may have more. Now, if you were to replace that model with a new 6 liter per flush model, and applied the same number of flushes per day, you would now only use 120 liters of water! Much of Toronto is on a pay per amount used (as opposed to a flat rate) for water, so this will net you a careful savings each and every year.

Replacing The Toilet?

There are two main types of toilets that are sold in Canada today. They are: the one- piece, where tank and bowl are one; or the two-piece, where tank and bowl are separate items. If you are replacing your older model with one of the newer ones, you must remember that they are smaller, and as such may not cover the same wall or corner area as the older version did. It's like putting a smaller picture into the same place where a larger one once hung. You'll see the outline of the old one still on the wall.

You may need to repaint the area. As well, if you are just replacing the tank (in a two-piece model), it might not fit properly onto the existing bowl. Both need to be purchased at the same time and should lock together as one. Also, your newer, more environmentally efficient model may not fit squarely onto the floor hole, so a new one may need to be cut. Always check your size requirements before heading out to buy. Or, better still, have a professional come in to assist on the job.

So, next time you are in the bathroom, instead of reading a magazine or text messaging with friends on your cell phone, check out the toilet you have. If it is an old one, consider replacing it with a new, ultra-efficient model. The planet will love you for it!