Tips to Save Water With Each Flush

It’s no secret that water consumption is at an all-time high. According to the EPA, a family of four on average uses 400 gallons of water per day. To put that number in perspective, if you drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day then you’re consuming half a gallon of water. The EPA estimates that the toilet alone uses roughly a quarter of household water, which comes out to approximately 100 gallons of water per day for a family of four.

If you’re thinking that the only way to cut down on toilet water usage is to stop flushing then think again. Fortunately, there are some surefire (and affordable) ways to cut down on your toilet’s water consumption and to save money on your annual water bill. Below are a few tips to make your toilet eco-friendly and ultimately, your actions will help save your community from its next drought.

Dual Flush Toilets:
Installing a dual flush toilet is one of the most reliable ways to save on your water bill and to significantly cut your household’s water consumption. While dual flush toilets aren’t cheap (they typically start at $250, not including the cost of installation), the toilet uses no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, which makes it a high efficiency toilet (HET) and in compliance with the 1994 National Energy Policy Act. Toilets made prior to 1992 use an astounding 3.5 gallons per flush.

The distinguishing feature of a dual flush toilet is its two buttons. The first is for liquid waste (#1), which outpours .8 gallons of water. Press the second button for solid waste (#2) and use only 1.6 gallons of water. While these toilets are certainly an investment, they have proven to clog less due to the size of its trapway, cut down on the water bill, and most important, these eco-friendly toilets will save a household 4,000 gallons of water annually, according to the EPA.

Adapt Your Old Toilet:
If installing a dual flush toilet is not in your budget, then consider adapting your old toilet using a retrofit kit that’s sold at any home improvement store. The retrofit kits generally cost around $30 and they allow you to adjust the water flow for your old porcelain throne. These kits are easy to install and will make your toilet more efficient without compromising your toilet’s flushing ability.

DIY Bottle-in-the-Tank Trick:
Instead of the old brick-in-the-tank trick (the sentiment will wreck havoc on your tank), try using a plastic milk jug or 1-liter plastic soda bottle sans the label filled with sand, rocks or marbles. Place it in your toilet tank away from any of the major parts and voila! This super affordable method will displace water in your tank and will save you about half a gallon per flush, or around 2.5 gallons per day.

Of course, there is the always reliable “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” rule, but if you prefer to keep flushing, give one of the above methods a try. You’ll not only reduce your annual water bill, but your actions will directly provide your community with the means to avoid the next debilitating drought.

If It’s Yellow, Let It Mellow: The Great Debate
Water Used in Everyday Things

Image credit: Erin Lem


Henry M
Henry M11 months ago

I want to try this.

Ann M
Ann M11 months ago

Good information, thanks.

Peggy B
Peggy B11 months ago

Good to know.

Philippa P
Philippa P11 months ago

If it's yellow...

Carol M.
Carol M5 years ago

Good ideas :)

Joe k.
Joe k6 years ago


jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago

Saw them throughout Europe.

Regina P.
Regina P6 years ago

Thanks for the article, just got the new toilet that uses hardly any water, now I will see on the next bill....

Clare E.
Clare C6 years ago


pete M.
peter m6 years ago

New 1.7 gal flush saves a lot.