How to make your Toilet be more water Efficient

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Blog Highlights:

  • Displacing the water inside the water tank will help decrease the amount of water that the toilet will consume in each flush
  • You can use food coloring to check if the toilet has leaks and to see if the flapper device is functioning properly
  • By bending the metal rod that is connected to the floater, the tank will no longer fill itself with as much water as before
  • If the toilet makes strange noises, and if the tank takes a lot of time to fill up, the filler valve might be dirty or damaged
  • Toilet leaks are typically found where the copper line meets with the toilet

We all know that toilets that were made decades ago do not have a water-efficient design.

Today however, there are toilets that will only use about a gallon per flush, this is significantly lesser than what older toilets consume. But it doesn’t mean that you can just choose and use any toilet that you want. This is simply because there are new toilets that will still consume a lot of water per flush. With the help of a little information about how these devices work, you can actually lessen your toilet’s water consumption further.

The water in the tank

Remove the tank’s cover and you will see that it houses mechanical parts such as the float, the overflow tube, the flapper valves, and the filler. You will also see that the other half of the tank only contains water. By putting a water jug filled with water on the empty area, you can actually displace some of the water that will fill the tank after each flush. This will help reduce the water consumption as it will now take less water to fill up the tank. Just make sure that the water container that you use to displace the water in the tank will not easily break apart as small particles can easily disrupt or destroy the mechanism inside.

Replacing the flapper

The flapper device, when not closed tightly, can actually waste a lot of water. Even new toilets can have faulty flapper valves. The flapper is a thin plastic valve or rubber that is attached to the chain. This chain pulls the valve during each flush, allowing the water to flow down the bowl. To see if your toilet has a faulty flapper, you can put food coloring into the tank. If the food coloring shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, then you have a leak.

Replacing the flapper is easy, as a matter of fact, most homeowners can do it by themselves. You need to measure how long the chain is when it is extended. Then, you should try to remove one end of the chain from the flush lever. This will allow you to take off the flapper valve through the overflow tube or by unhooking it from the valve pins. You should also take note of the make and model of your toilet so that you can easily find a replacement for its parts at the hardware store. As soon as you get the replacement, you can slide the new valve into the overflow tube, reattach the chain, and then set it properly. You should also re-test the tank for leaks.

Changing the water level

One of the mechanisms inside the tank is the float, this helps detect the water level inside the tank as it refills. Made from plastic or copper, the float ball is attached to a metal rod and it stops the flow of water into the tank as soon as the float rises to a predetermined height. The float lifts the rod, and this in turn, shuts the valve off. By bending the rod slightly, you can actually lower the height that the float needs to reach so that the valve will no longer fill the tank with as much water as before.

The filler valve

If your toilet makes a gurgling sound, or if its tank takes too much time to fill, then the filler valve may be broken. Typically found on the left side of the toilet, it is connected to the fill tube, to the overflow tube, and to the float. This valve is where the water goes in after flushing. A damaged valve, or a dirty one, will either take a lot of time to refill the tank, or will put water to waste by letting it go into the overflow tube.

If you need to replace the filler valve, you need to shut-off the pipe that brings water into the tank first. You can then flush the toilet to drain the tank. The filler valve is attached to the bottom of the toilet, you need to unscrew the entire assembly from the plastic screw cap that is connected to the water line from the outside. The entire assembly should then be cleaned and re-placed. If the problem persists, you can take the valve to the hardware store so you can get an assembly kit. Most of these assembly kits contain adjustable valves that will help you match the height of the toilet tank. Upon replacement, you need to check the toilet if it will refill the tank at the right time and if it will no longer waste water. If the problem persists, you will have to hire a professional plumber to have your toilet checked and repaired properly.

The water line

Leaks can cost you a lot of money especially when it is not fixed right away. Toilet leaks can typically be found where the copper water line joins the toilet. Tell-tale signs for leaks in this area includes seeing a pool of water on the floor or seeing water droplets on the copper line. You can fix this problem by disconnecting the water line and taking a look at the rubber gasket inside if it is still in good condition. Over time, these rubber gaskets will deteriorate and will no longer be able to prevent leaks. If the rubber gasket has pits, or if bits of the gasket can be seen on the valve, you need to get it out and replace it with a new one as soon as possible.

Older toilets can put a lot of water to waste, by replacing them with newer ones, by testing your toilet for leaks and other problems, and by doing minor tweaks, you can actually make your own toilet more water- efficient.

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