9 Tips to Reduce Your Toilet Water Usage

Aug02 By Plumbing Toilet
Modern black and white bathroom

The average person flushes the toilet five times a day. Multiply that by the number of people in your household and the gallons of water per flush, and you can quickly see how toilet water usage is a significant part of your monthly water bill. Thankfully, there are several ways to conserve water and save money. Just follow this guide for nine valuable tips.

  1. Test for Leaks
    A leaky toilet leads to excessive water usage. It’s often hard to notice, and by the time you do, the fixture may have wasted hundreds of gallons. Follow these steps to test for a leak between the tank and the bowl:

    • Add a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank.
    • Wait for 15 to 30 minutes without flushing.
    • Check the bowl. If the color appears there, your toilet is leaking.
    • Replace the flapper valve or contact a toilet repair service for help.
  2. Install an Adjustable Flapper
    The flapper valve controls the amount of water released from the tank into the bowl with each flush. A leaky flapper is often the culprit behind toilet leaks and “phantom flushes,” where the toilet runs momentarily without being flushed.

    If a leak test reveals that your flapper is leaking, consider replacing it with an adjustable flapper. This not only resolves the leak but also saves water by adjusting the flush volume to suit your needs. These flappers are easy to install, making them an efficient and cost-effective toilet repair method.

  3. Displace Some Tank Water
    Was your toilet installed before the mid-1990s? If so, it probably uses 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush, far above today’s standard. You can turn your wasteful toilet into a low-flow version by displacing some of the water in the tank.

    To do this, fill a store-bought tank bag and hang it in the toilet tank. A homemade alternative is to fill a sealed glass jar or half-gallon plastic jug with marbles or pebbles. Regardless of the method, the goal is to reduce the volume of water in the tank without affecting your toilet’s performance.Note: Never use a brick for this purpose, as it can dissolve over time and clog the drain.

  4. Adjust the Water Level
    When your toilet refills, a mechanism detects when the proper level has been reached. Older toilets accomplish this with a copper or plastic float ball attached to a metal rod. When the ball reaches a certain height, the fill valve shuts off.

    By adjusting the water level in your toilet tank, you can control the amount of water used per flush. Start by bending the float rod downward slightly to effectively lower the fill level. Test your work to see if the water fills to a new, lower level. Experiment with the ideal water level to balance water efficiency and flush performance.

  5. Replace the Fill Valve
    Another important component in toilet water conservation is the fill valve. An old or malfunctioning fill valve could lead to overfilling the toilet tank, resulting in unnecessary water waste. Therefore, consider replacing it with a newer, more water-efficient model. If the toilet still doesn’t fill properly, consider hiring a plumber to assess the problem.
  6. Inspect the Water Supply Line
    The junction where the water supply line meets the toilet tank is a common site for problems, which might manifest as a puddle of water on the floor or condensation on the supply line. Follow these inspection tips:

    • Turn off the water and disconnect the supply line.
    • Check the condition of the rubber gasket inside by running your finger over its surface. If you detect roughness or pitting or see rubber fragments on the valve, the gasket is likely compromised and needs replacement.
    • To replace a damaged gasket, gently pry it out, taking care not to damage the surrounding areas. Then, install a new gasket in its place.
  7. Install a Fill Cycle Diverter
    Even though the toilet tank and bowl fill simultaneously, the bowl doesn’t stop filling until the tank is full, resulting in excess water going down the drain. Address this issue by installing a fill cycle diverter, a simple but innovative device that curbs water waste.

    This small component attaches to the fill line and overflow tube, where it redirects water back to the tank once the bowl is full. If you’re not comfortable installing a fill cycle diverter yourself, contact a toilet repair service for assistance.

  8. Keep Up with Regular Maintenance and Repairs
    Caring for your toilet is vital for ongoing water efficiency. Repair leaks promptly, keep on top of preventative maintenance, and consider regular professional inspections to identify and fix potential issues before they escalate.
  9. Upgrade Your Toilet
    Investing in a new, water-saving toilet is the best way to reduce the required gallons per flush (gpf). Consider your options:

    • High-efficiency toilets (HETs) use significantly less water than conventional toilets. A typical HET needs only 1.28 gpf, 20 percent less than the federal standard of 1.6 gpf. Some models go as low as 1.0 gpf without sacrificing performance.
    • Dual-flush toilets offer a half flush (0.8 to 1.1 gpf) for liquid waste and a full flush (1.6 gpf) for solid waste. If a new toilet isn’t in your budget, consider installing a dual-flush conversion kit to mimic this function with your existing fixture.
    • Intelligent toilets combine comfort and water efficiency with a host of smart features. They often include automatic flushing, heated seats, warm water cleansing, air drying, self-cleaning capabilities, nightlights, and more.

Save Water with Toilet Installation and Repair in Seattle, WA

At Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating, we understand the importance of conserving water and reducing utility bills. Our family-owned business has served the Seattle area for over 20 years, with a team of skilled, fully licensed technicians ready to lend a hand. We pride ourselves on delivering unbeatable work and ensuring a positive customer experience. Call us today at (206) 938-3219 or contact us online to schedule toilet installation or repair with a team that cares.

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