Author Topic: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?  (Read 4805 times)

k_to_the_v

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Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« on: July 10, 2015, 09:56:29 AM »
I have a very mustachian, small, afordable, lovely little house that was built in 1941. I have no idea how old the toilet is, but I know it has not been replaced in at least the past 2-3 decades.

I currently have an minor issue with the tank refilling at a very slow rate. I am not a do-it-yourself plumber, so was going to call a plumber out to take a look, but rather than fix the issue, I'm thinking it might be better to replace the toilet altogether. In diagnosing the issue, I manually filled the tank a couple of times and it holds a LOT of water. I'm single, but feel my water bill is rather high for my usage.

I know there are all kinds of options right now, wondering if anyone has insight on what might be the best route? I'm really leaning towards replacing the toilet, which would also allow me to re-tile (just vinyl stick-on tile) at the same time.

zataks

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2015, 10:07:42 AM »
You have a couple options here:

1) Put a brick, milk jug filled with water, or some other item into the tank to displace some of the water volume effectively reducing the flush volume and reducing fill time
2) flush less often
3) have the problem fixed
4) retrofit the old toilet with new internals
5) replace with a newer toilet

The problems with 1 and 2 are potentially issues of clogging and functionality.  If you have absolutely no DIY skills, I'd say repair/replace (leaning toward replace or retro) the old one and enjoy the reduced water consumption.

waffle

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2015, 10:10:04 AM »
Depending on your area there could be rebates from your utility company for installing a high efficiency toilet. If so that along with the savings on your water bill could put your break even at a reasonable time. If the toilet is that old it would certainly be worth considering. If there are no rebates look into just replacing the guts of the toilet. You can easily do it yourself in an hour or so. Home depot has the kit for around $20.

Bob W

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2015, 10:20:24 AM »
It is probably a minor fix but I smell the "I want a new toilet and floor" scenario --- which I support.   Might as well paint and add some tile and maybe a new sink and or faucet while the plumber is there.   Actually,  all that is probably a very easy DIY project for someone with a pliers and Youtube access.   

I say go for it.   The water saving may be up to 300 gallons per month or as low as 50 gallons depending on how often you flush.  Probably not worth considering unless you have a very high per gallon cost?

I actually prefer the older toilets due to the increased surface area and deeper bowls for doing my duty in.   You need to have someone sign off that this a commercial install if you want a toilet with decent gallons anymore.     I'm in Missouri,  so fucking rain just pours out of the sky and water bubbles out of the ground.   We're trying to get rid of water here,  not save it!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2015, 10:33:38 AM »
Home Depot sells pretty good dual-flush toilets for around $100. (At least, that's what they cost two years ago near Philadelphia.) You can probably pull that off yourself, and I imagine hiring a plumber would be more than that.

bogart

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2015, 10:52:29 AM »
You can also buy a dual-flush conversion kit for about $30 from (e.g.) Amazon.  Fits a standard toilet and pretty easy to install.


Nate R

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2015, 11:16:57 AM »
IF you're going to call the plumber anyway, I'd opt for replacing the toilet.

I did that in both units in my duplex upon purchase. One of the older toilets had an occasional slow leak issue as well. I was surprised at how much it helped the water bill. It does depend on how often you flush/are home.

But since you're paying a plumber for the trip to either fix or replace, I'd opt to replace. Low-flow toilets have come a LONG way and most new ones flush well.

For mine, I bought a Toto Drake on Amazon for a little over $200 and paid a plumber to install.

MandyM

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2015, 11:38:27 AM »
1) Put a brick, milk jug filled with water, or some other item into the tank to displace some of the water volume effectively reducing the flush volume and reducing fill time


If you go this route, don't use a brick. Use a jug filled with water, but add a little sand to the bottom to keep it from floating and getting in the way of the mechanism. A brick adds unnecessary, lopsided weight to the tank, which can lead to problems.

Do you know what material your water pipes are? If they are galvinized, the slow filling could be due to heavy buildup in the pipe, typical of old galvanized piping. Just FYI that you may need to be prepared for more plumbing issues in the future.

libertarian4321

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2015, 12:02:38 PM »
Many cities give rebates for installing water saving toilets.  I replaced a couple of mine at a discount because of the rebate.

Regarding the "brick" advice.  Don't do it. 

Bricks are not only heavy, they tend to "dissolve" over time, leaving grit in your tanks that can cause the rubber "flapper" to leak.  And yes, I learned this the hard way :).

You are better off filling a 20 ounce soda or water bottle with water and putting it in there (same weight as the water in your tank, and does not dissolve.  I've had a soda bottle in my 3rd toilet (the only original one left in the house) for 20 years, with no problems.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2015, 12:17:36 PM »
You can always put the brick in a well sealed bag.

We have low flow toilets. I find them harder to keep clean.  But they do use less water.

tonysemail

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2015, 12:33:40 PM »
Yeah, in your position, I would choose to update the bath room including a new toilet.

in response to the title of your post, here's a quick read which suggests that toilets installed before 1992 use at least 3x more water per flush and perhaps as much as 6x.
http://www.conserveh2o.org/toilet-water-use

If you're worried about a high water bill, then I would check out what resources are available from your utility company.
In my area, the utility offers FREE water consultations where they install low flow faucet aerators and shower heads for free.
I didn't use this service myself because I found out about it only after I changed it myself.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2015, 12:48:09 PM »
Your toilet was likely manufactured prior to 1992 when the standards were changed to 1.6 gallons-per-flush.  Most likely yours uses 3.5 GPF OR higher.  Early toilets made from 1992-1998 under the 1.6 GPF standard didn't work as well as today's toilets.  I've done both the retro-fit dual-flush toilet (Amazon kit), and the new toilet route.   

If you want the idiot proof install, buy a new $87 Glacier Bay dual-flush toilet, and a $10 "Danco Perfect Seal" to connect the toilet to the drain.  Don't forget to buy a water supply line - measure the distance between the tank bottom, and your water valve.  Then take your old water supply pipe with you when you go to pick up your toilet, and BUY A NEW steel threaded water supply line.  (buy ON-LINE and pickup in store to save a few bucks)

You can totally do this yourself
Look up the "Ask This Old House" video on how to replace a toilet.  These days I use the $10 "Danco Perfect Seal", and never had one of these leak a drop, although I've had wax rings that make imperfect seals & leak over time. 

Rural

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 10:03:10 PM »
Your toilet was likely manufactured prior to 1992 when the standards were changed to 1.6 gallons-per-flush.  Most likely yours uses 3.5 GPF OR higher.  Early toilets made from 1992-1998 under the 1.6 GPF standard didn't work as well as today's toilets.  I've done both the retro-fit dual-flush toilet (Amazon kit), and the new toilet route.   

If you want the idiot proof install, buy a new $87 Glacier Bay dual-flush toilet, and a $10 "Danco Perfect Seal" to connect the toilet to the drain.  Don't forget to buy a water supply line - measure the distance between the tank bottom, and your water valve.  Then take your old water supply pipe with you when you go to pick up your toilet, and BUY A NEW steel threaded water supply line.  (buy ON-LINE and pickup in store to save a few bucks)

You can totally do this yourself
Look up the "Ask This Old House" video on how to replace a toilet.  These days I use the $10 "Danco Perfect Seal", and never had one of these leak a drop, although I've had wax rings that make imperfect seals & leak over time.


+1 on the Danco perfect seal, though I paid $14 for one a couple weeks ago. But it compensated for a poorly mounted flange in our poured concrete slab - not something you want to redo, and we'd been thinking we'd have to. No more leaking, life more better, and dead easy install.

Bob W

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2015, 10:00:53 AM »
Ditto on the new steel supply line.   In fact,  all of us should be replacing these and the washer supply flex lines every few years.  These actually rupture fairly often and can cause a nice flood in your house. 

k_to_the_v

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2015, 10:29:58 AM »
Thanks so much for all the input. The toilet actually gets used about as much as a single person can use it, because I work from home. I've had multiple (minor) problems with it, and it is the ONLY toilet in the house, so I'm opting towards replacing it. I do have a friend or two who could help, I may try and tackle the job myself, but even if I don't, I think it's the best option in the long run.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2015, 09:09:19 PM »
I saw an estimate showing 3.5gpf toilets waste 3000 gallons/year relative to a modern dual flush.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Could replacing my toilet save on my water usage?
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2015, 09:53:58 PM »
I saw an estimate showing 3.5gpf toilets waste 3000 gallons/year relative to a modern dual flush.

And his toilet could be using twice that if it's old enough!