I know you’ve heard that helpful rhyme about flushing by now: “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Stop blushing and break out your gutter-humor, because this post is all going to be about the porcelain throne. Flushing only when you have to can save up to seven gallons of water per flush, depending on how efficient your toilet is. That said, plenty of people like having nice, clean bathrooms that don’t have unflushed waste sitting in them for hours at a time, which is why switching out for a low-flow toilet is a fantastic, hygienic way to save in the restroom.
Let’s look at the math, here. A low-flow toilet uses about a gallon and a half each time you flush. An older-model standard toilet will use anything between three and seven gallons. You may not know exactly how efficient your older-model is, but if you switch out a low-flow unit, you’re going to at least halve your water usage, and maybe even quarter it.
I’m sure that if you’re living in LA and you’ve been hearing all about the drought emergency that was declared, you’re probably inclined to make the step already, but let me give you one more incentive. If the cost of a new toilet and its installation is giving you pause, take a look at the rebates offered by the LADWP to install low-flow fixtures.
You might, like me, rent, or otherwise not have the authority to change out the fixtures in your home. If you’re using an old-style standard toilet and can’t replace it, you can always do some amateur home repair by following the instructions at this link.
The water-bottle-in-the-toilet trick can work a little too well, so that your toilet will use so little water that it won’t effectively, well, work. If you end up having to flush multiple times each time you use the toilet, you may ultimately end up increasing your water usage, so alter with care!
Personally, I still have the same toilet that I had when I moved into my apartment, and I haven’t added anything to the tank. I do avoid unnecessary flushing, though, and that’s my contribution. What are you trying?