replacing my old toilet with a low flow one.

other posts have discussed my commitment to saving water and heat.

i’ve been working hard to reduce the resource use in this household, but i’m far from done, if any thing i’m just getting started.

for those that are easily offended, warning:  this post talks about urine and feces.  you might want to stop reading right now.

one of the most frustrating things to me in american culture is the fact that we poop and pee in our fresh water.  it just doesn’t make any sense to me, not a bit.  certainly it’s convenient as it just makes everything go “away” but it also mean we are incredible wasteful of water and of the nutrients going down the toilet.  it also mean we don’t have to deal with the reality of our impact, as our “waste” just exists the house without us to deal with.

there are some obvious solutions, the easiest of which is developing some system for composting human waste, but this is in fact tricky business, as despite the amount of fertility contained in human feces, there are also plenty of pathogens.  composting human waste is not to be taken lightly.  at some point i will try my hand at it, but this doesn’t seem to be the right time in my life.

with that in mind, i’ve been thinking about how can we at least reduce the amount of water we are wasting and contaminating.

the simplest and lowest cost method is the old “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” method.  we have been using that for years – and while i think it might freak the in-laws out a bit when they come to visit – it’s our standard practice.  considering the amount of peeing that goes on in the average household a day, this simple step could easily save over 20 gallons a day of water for a house hold of two.

most of our old toilets use well over two gallon of water at each flush and our old toilet was no different.  our old toilet was also extremely loud, had been giving me headaches in trying to fix old leaking parts, and didn’t allow for the installation of a diaper sprayer.  it was obvious, it was time for a new toilet.

– newer toilets have come on the market that are “dual flush” and low flow.  with the “dual flush” you have two buttons one a light flush for the urine, and a second hard flush for feces.

since we have already established that we don’t bother to flush for urine, a dual flush toilet seemed something of a poor and expensive choice.   i went searching for low flow toilets instead.

it seems that my definition of low flow and that of the government are not on the same page – not the first time that we are in disagreement.  the government defines low flow as 1.28 gallon a flush, a little bit under the maximum of 1.6 gallons they now allow for normal toilets.

if you think about it that’s well over a jug of milk worth of water getting flushed away.  that doesn’t seem too low flow to me.

after a little research i came across the niagara stealth toilet.  i admit being bit little skeptical – it was advertised as being .8 gallons per flush (the amount flushed for urine in the dual toilet systems), quiet, and most surprisingly cheap – i was able to find it online for just a bit over 200 dollars with free shipping.

after a couple of missteps – which caused me to have to cut my radiator out of the bathroom, and have to poop and pee in a bucket for a week, i now have the stealth installed.  i have to say i’m pretty impressed.  it really is very quiet, was simple to install, and flushes away everything easily.

if yr looking to replace yr toilet , i recommend it, and i’m not getting any kickbacks from niagara – no free toilet or nothing.

anyone else have a low flow toilet and have opinions on it?  anyone composting their feces?  lets hear it.

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4 responses to “replacing my old toilet with a low flow one.

  1. we’re just letting it mellow for the moment but who knows what will happen if we ever buy a place of our own? we encountered some low flow toilets on our honeymoon and they were just dandy in my opinion.

  2. I’m pretty excited about this. That old toilet scared the hell out of me.

  3. I’ve heard this tip for when replacing the toilet isn’t an option yet: fill up a few water bottles with stones and water, and put them in the tank. I haven’t tried it, but have no reason not to because all I have to do is come up with some water bottles! Especially because I’m renting and probably won’t be able to convince my landlord to install new low-flow toilets.

    • i’m not sure it was popular when you were a kid, but the book “50 ways to save the earth” came out when i was about 10, i think it corresponded to the re-launch of earthday. anyway, one of the ideas was to put bricks in your toilet to displace water just like you are suggesting. as a result with each flush we would have little bits of brick in the toilet and lousy flushing – still the idea you are recommending is sound – you just have to be careful not to displace too much water and end up with lousy flushing.

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