Water is a commodity that many of us take for granted. However, reducing our water usage is both good for the eco-system as well as for our pockets. While some of the more popular ways known for reducing your water bill include reusing gray water and turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, there is an additional surefire way: Have a professional plumber install a dual-flush toilet in your home.
What is it?
A dual-flush toilet is a toilet with two types of flush settings – half and full. These toilets have two buttons or handles and allow for different levels of water to be used when flushing. The dual-flush mechanism was originally invented in Australia in 1980, and then redesigned in 1993. This type of toilet has been proven to save up to 67% of water usage in most homes. When disposing of liquid waste you use the small flush, and when disposing of solid waste you use the large flush.
Why Get One?
While dual-flush toilets usually cost about the same as ordinary toilets, a dual-flush toilet will save you money on your utility bills. And if you don’t want to give up the feel of your current toilet seat, you can just purchase a dual-flush tank to attach to your existing seat. What’s more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 36 states will experience water shortages in the near future as a result of increased water usage and inefficient water management. The list includes a number of areas that are already facing shortages, such as Atlanta, Georgia and Miami, Florida.
Additionally, since the signing of the National Energy Policy Act in 1994, by law, all new toilets can use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. So if you’re doing a bathroom remodel, you’ll need a water-efficient toilet in any case. Why not buy a dual-flush one and save even more water?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if we replace all the standard, water-guzzling toilets with more efficient or dual-flush toilets, we will save two billion gallons of water each day across the United States. With a growing population and an aging water treatment infrastructure, water conservation is something we should all consider.
Furthermore, many people neglect to factor in the energy costs involved in supplying water. An estimated 3-4% of national energy consumption is used to provide drinking water and wastewater services.
How it Works
A normal, standard toilet typically uses about five gallons of water per flush. With an average person flushing five to seven times a day, if you have a large family, that’s a lot of water going down the tubes. Conversely, most dual-flush toilets use just 1.6 gallons of water for a full flush, and less than a gallon for a small flush. If you flush five times a day, each month you’ll save about 40 cubic feet of water per person.
While tremendously popular across Europe, the dual-flush toilet is still nowhere near as widespread as it should be in the United States. But you can do your part to cut water usage and save money at the same time. Just contact a plumber and discuss a dual-flush toilet installation.
Photo by ilovemypit/Flickr Creative Commons.