We’re all human, and so it is no surprise that all of us have to use the toilet multiple times a day! But when you flush, do you ever think about how much water is being used?
In this article, we are going to be looking at how much water a toilet uses and how this differs for different types of toilets. Let’s get started.
How Does A Toilet Work?
Before we get into the ins and outs of water usage in a toilet, it is imperative to know exactly how the system works, so let’s take a quick look at all the different components of a toilet and how they work together.
- Water Tank: Filled with around two gallons of water, the tank holds the water that is used for flushing.
- Bowl: Where waste is collected and disposed of into the drainage system.
- Tank Ball/Flapper: Sits on the flush valve opening and releases water into the bowl when lifted up. Usually made of rubber.
- Lift Chain: Connected to the tank ball/ flapper and the flushing mechanism. The lift chain will open the flush valve to allow water to go into the bowl. The chain is vertical, running from the bottom of the tank up to the handle.
- Handle/Push Button: Flushes the toilet by lifting the chain within the tank, allowing the flush valve to open.
- Shutoff Valve: Shuts off the water supply to the tank.
- Ballcock/ Fill Valve: Releases when the water tank is empty, letting the tank refill water from the main supply.
- Supply Tube: A pipe that connects the main toilet water supply to the shutoff valve. Normally made from steel mesh, plastic or vinyl.
When the button/ handle of the toilet is pressed or pushed, the lift chain will pull on the flapper, which sits on the opening of the flush valve.
Water from the tank releases into the bowl via small inlets found in the rim of the bowl. This water is released with high pressure from a short pipe.
A small torrent is created due to the influx of water rapidly entering the bowl. This forces both the waste and the water to go into the main drainpipe.
The water tank will now be empty, with the flush valve closed and the flapper moving back to its place.
The ballcock lowers into the bottom of the tank, which will then cause the valve for the water supply to open. When this happens, fresh water will flow into the tank.
The ball will rise as water enters and once the water is at the tank’s limit, the ball will shut off the water supply valve and make the toilet ready for use once more.
How Much Water Does A Toilet Use?
There is no set answer to this, as it will differ depending on the kind of toilet that you have, though on average a conventional toilet will use around 1.3 to 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
Let’s look more closely at different kinds of toilets and what they offer in terms of water efficiency.
High Efficiency Toilets
As their name suggest, these kinds of toilets can save a great deal more water than others. They can use as little as 1.3 gallons of water for every flush, which in turn can lead to every person flushing saving 9,000 gallons of water a year (at the very least!)
The technology of high efficiency toilets is always improving and expanding, with various brands currently available.
Low Flush Toilets
These toilets came to be after a federal law was passed in 1992 that required all standard American toilets to use 1.6GPF (or gallons per flush), which came into effect in 1994.
The issues with these toilets were their low flushes, which many saw as inefficient and unable to remove waste as effectively. However, over time, these toilets have been able to improve their efficiency, making them a reliable and effective water saving toilet type.
Dual Flush Toilets
The dual flush gives users the option of a full or partial flush when it comes to clearing waste. Partial flushes use around 0.8 GPF whilst full flushes use around 1.1 GPF, with the dual flush toilet using about 1.4 gallons of water on average every year.
These toilets can cut back your water use by around 30%. Not only will this make an impact on your water bill, it can also save up to 13,000 gallons of water a year per person.
Older toilet models are the least efficient in terms of saving water, especially models that came out during or before the 1980s.
On average, these kinds of toilets would use 3.5 gallons of water per flush, which could lead to a household using upwards of 17 gallons of water a day.
How Much Water Can A Leaking Toilet Waste?
A leakage in your toilet can lead to major water wastage. Minor leakages can waste as much as 3 gallons of water a day, with medium leaks wasting an average of 250 gallons and serious leaks wasting a massive 4,000 gallons a day.
If you find that your toilet is leaking, it is essential to fix the problem as soon as possible. Turn off the water supply to your toilet- found at the back- to try and find the issue.
If you can’t find the root of the problem, you will need to get in contact with a plumbing professional.
Overall, the amount of water that a toilet uses all comes down to what type of toilet you have. An older toilet will use more water, whereas a newer dual flush, low flush or high efficiency toilet will be more environmentally friendly.
Make sure that you know exactly how much water your toilet uses to not only lower your water bill, but also to save on water.