Stop flushing your money away.

If you don’t already have a low-flush toilet, consider installing a displacement device in your toilet tank. This nifty gadget save you one to two gallons per flush by reducing the amount of water your tank will hold. With a small plastic bottle, such as a juice or a laundry soap bottle, you can make your own displacement device. Remove the bottle’s label. place a few stones in the bottom for weight, and fill it with water. Place the bottle in your toilet tank, being careful that it doesn’t interfere with flushing mechanism. You may have to experiment a little to see what size bottle your tank will hold and still have enough water to flush effectively.

OTHER WAYS TO SAVE WATER WITH YOUR TOILET

Check the back of your toilet bowl, in front of the tank: there should be a label there telling you how many gallons per flush it uses.

Some low-flow toilet models bare the EPA’s Water-Sense label and use less than 1.6 gallons of water per flush and can save at least 14,000 gallons a year.

Low-flow toilets can be purchased from your neighborhood hardware store for a couple hundred bucks. Your municipality might even have a rebate program in place.

Dual-flush toilets, which have long been common in Europe, are now being introduced to the American market. With them, one method of flushing creates the standard 1.6-gallon flow, while another, which is reserved for liquid waste, allows half that amount, 0.8 gallons of water, to flow through. Brand new dual-flush models can be purchased for around $300.

Pressure-assisted toilets use water pressure to compensate for the smaller amount of water going through. Flush water surges through the bowl, 1.6 gallons or 1 gallon at a time.

The simplest way to economize on water with an older, high-volume toilet is to place heavy objects – such as a weighted plastic bottle – inside the toilet tank to reduce its capacity. Don’t be tempted to place a brick inside the tank, however, as they tend to break down and screw up the plumbing.

A slightly higher-tech solution is to purchase a toilet water dam that is attached inside the bowl and reduces the space to be filled up with water after a flush.

You can also purchase a water displacement bladder bag for your toilet. With the Flush-less water-saving bag, you simply fill it with water, hang it in the toilet tank, and start saving up to 2 ½ quarts with every flush.

Consider the composting toilet, a highly engineered technology that uses microbes and sometimes heat or electricity to break down human waste into a nutrient-rich material that can eventually be used as safe fertilizer for trees and non-edible plants.

If your water bills are suspiciously higher than normal, you may have a leaky toilet without knowing it. Find out by putting a small amount of food coloring in the tank, then wait 20 minutes. If you see color in the bowl, you’ve got a leak. Contact your plumber to have it fixed so you can stop wasting 200 gallons a day!

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