Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Save Water: Easy Ways to Cut Water Use in the Bathroom by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Yes indeed, some 60 percent of our household indoor water usage happens in the bathroom. As such, updating old leaky fixtures and changing a few basic habits could go a long way to not only saving fresh water, an increasingly precious resource, but also money.

Undoubtedly, the toilet is the biggest water hog in the bathroom. Those made before 1993 use up to eight gallons of water per flush, five times what modern toilets use. “It’s a good idea to replace pre-1993 toilets if you can,” says Patty Kim of National Geographic’s Green Guide. (FYI, usually a toilet’s manufacture date is stamped under the lid if you want to check how old it is.) If it is older and you can’t or don’t want to upgrade it, Kim recommends rescuing a two liter soda bottle from the recycling bin and filling it partially with some water and sand or pebbles and then putting it into your toilet’s tank, where it will take up space and force your toilet to use less water every flush. Or get a Toilet Tank Bank for less than two bucks; it hangs in your toilet tank and displaces almost a gallon of water to save water on every flush.

Plumbing leaks account for some 14 percent of the total water usage in an average U.S. home. Toilets are often a major culprit. Kim recommends testing your toilet by putting 5-10 drops of food coloring into the tank, then put the lid back on but don’t flush. Check back in 15 minutes or so to see if any of the colored water leaked down into the bowl. If so, you have a water-wasting leak, and it might finally be time to replace that aging toilet after all. The EarthEasy website reports that replacing an older18 liter per flush toilet with an ultra-low volume (ULV) 6 liter flush model “represents a 70 percent saving in water flushed and will cut indoor water use by about 30 percent.”

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