The single best thing you can do to improve toilet efficiency is to replace an old inefficient toilet with a new toilet. Toilets made before 1993 use anywhere from 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) up to 8 gpf, while new high efficiency toilets are mandated to use 1.6 gpf or less (Mayer, et. al. 1999). Check to see if your water utility offers any rebates for replacing old inefficient toilets.
Photo source: Aquacraft, Inc. by permission.
If you are unsure of the vintage of your toilet you can often check the date of manufacture by looking at the underside of the tank lid. The date of manufacture is often stamped into the porcelain. If you toilet was made after 1993 it should be an efficient model. Toilets made during the 1980s typically were designed to use 3.5 gallons per flush. Older toilets often use much more water.
If replacing your toilet isn’t an option, at least make sure that your toilet isn’t leaking and replace the flapper if necessary.
During a drought emergency you could be asked to reduce your water use substantially. Toilet use is typically the largest category of indoor water use and there is substantial room for water savings. Here are some tips for maximizing toilet use efficiency.
- Regularly check for and repair toilet leaks.
- Avoid using caustic toilet bowl cleaners such as toilet tank tablets. These products alter the pH of water in your toilet tank and damage plastic and rubber toilet parts causing severe leaks.
- Flush less frequently. During drought emergencies some families adopt variations of the adage, "if it’s yellow let it mellow and if it’s brown flush it down."