This article shows you how to reduce the cost of using your toilet. You can upgrade to a dual flush toilet or you can add something like a brick to the inside of your toilet tank!
So how much money do you spend to flush the toilet every year?
To calculate this cost, we need 3 things:
- Amount of gallons your toilet uses per flush
- Price per gallon of water
- Amount of times you flush per day
How many gallons does your toilet use?
The quantity of gallons that your toilet uses per flush is usually written inside the toilet tank or right next to the seat hinge. If you can’t find a label, you can make a guess based on the year you bought the toilet. Since 1992, all toilets currently manufactured in the US must use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). Toilets from the 1980s typically used 3.5 gpf, and toilets before then used as much as 5.0 gpf, 7.0 gpf, or 8.0 gpf!
Some toilets have dual flush technology, which allows less water to be used for “light loads” and more water to be used for “heavy loads.” Common dual flush toilets use 0.8 gpf for “light loads” and 1.28 gpf for “heavy loads.”
How much do you pay per gallon of water?
The average price per gallon of water in the US is $0.015. This can vary greatly by region and utility. Refer to your water and sewer bills or call your local utility to see the price in your area. Stay tuned for articles that show you how to read your water and sewer bills.
How many times do you flush per day?
The World Toilet Organization estimates that each person flushes a toilet 6-8 times per day. If you live with family, friends, or roommates or frequently have guests, make sure to include their flushes in your count as well!
Annual Cost to Flush the Toilet:
For example, if you have a 3.0 gpf toilet and you flush 5 times per day, with a water rate of $0.015/gallon, you will spend $82.13 per year to flush the toilet.
How to Reduce The Cost to Flush Your Toilet
“If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” If you flush your toilet only for “heavy loads”, that means you don’t have to pay to flush your “light loads.” Assuming 40% heavy and 60% light, this means you can reduce your toilet operating expenses by 60%!
If you follow this rule, make sure to maintain proper cleanliness in your bathroom and to avoid clogging the toilet! You will end up spending more money on repairs than you save on skipping a few flushes!
You can add bricks, rocks, or anything else that sinks to your tank to displace the amount of water that your toilet uses for each flush. If the volume of your fully-submerged objects is 1 gallon, you will use 1 fewer gallon per flush. So if you currently have a 3 gpf toilet and you add 1 gallon of objects, you will now use only 2 gpf, saving you 33% on your toilet water expenses!
If you decide to add items to your toilet tank, make sure your toilet still uses at least 1.28 gallons per flush. This will maintain proper cleanliness levels for your heavier loads.
Make sure that these items are secure in your toilet tank and far from the toilet’s moving parts – if the bricks or rocks move when the tank is refilling itself, they could interfere with the moving parts and cause massive leaks.
Check for Leaks
Speaking of leaks, silent toilet leaks can cost you as much as 300 gallons of water per day! One way to check for toilet leaks is to use food coloring. (see video) Add food coloring to your toilet tank and let it sit for about 30 minutes without flushing the toilet. After 30 minutes, if the water in your toilet bowl is colored, you know that water is leaking from your toilet tank to your toilet bowl when it’s not supposed to be, increasing your water bill.
If your toilet sounds like it’s refilling itself even when no one has flushed it, that is another good indicator that you have a silent toilet leak.
If your toilet is outdated or broken, you should upgrade to the dual flush toilet mentioned above! Make sure to have a professional install your new toilet to ensure proper setup and to avoid water leaks. If you switch from a 3 gpf toilet to a 1.28/0.8 gpf dual flush toilet, and assuming 40% “heavy loads,” you would reduce your toilet water expenses by 67%!
Let’s say you currently have a 3 gpf toilet, you flush 5 times per day, and your water rate is $0.015/gallon. We’ll call this your baseline scenario. Let’s consider 3 future scenarios:
Scenario A: If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.
Scenario B: Add 2 bricks to your toilet tank.
Scenario C: Upgrade to 1.28/0.8 gpf toilet.
This is just for one person – if you live with others or frequently host guests, the savings would be even higher!
Disclaimer: Please consult with a professional before making any upgrades to your toilet, bathroom, or home. Any and all upgrades should maintain proper health, safety, and sanitation levels within your homes. It All Adds Up and its affiliates are not responsible for any household damage or personal injuries that should occur from following any suggestions from It All Adds Up.
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