Do You Need a New Toilet to Save Water & Money?

Installing a toilet

With the new water restrictions in effect in California and threats of further restrictions, you’re probably wondering where else you can save water. A toilet is an often overlooked source of  wasted water in a home. The average toilet uses 6 gallons of water per flush, and individuals use the bathroom roughly six or seven times a day.

That’s 40 gallons of water per person a day. Making your toilet water efficient is an easy way to save money. Fortunately, you don’t have to replace your toilet to make it efficient and start to see these savings. Please continue reading our informative guide on how to make your toilet more efficient and save money.

Adjust Your Water Displacement

Water displacement is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save money and water in your toilet. You can do this with a plastic water bottle, a sealable plastic bag, or a specialty water displacement bladder. Then you can fill the bottle or bladder with water and set it up in the toilet tank. Water displacement will help you save water by reducing the tank space. However, you cannot use water displacement with a low-flow toilet.

Check Your Valves

The flapper valve and the filler valve in your toilet can be a source of water waste. The flapper valve is connected to the toilet handle, so it moves the flapper valve when you flush. If your toilet sounds like it is constantly running, possibly this is what you need to replace. If the valve isn’t sealing correctly, it could be because it’s cracked, broken, or worn. These are signs to replace it. Replacing a flapper valve is one of the more accessible valves to replace, and as long as you know the make and model of your toilet, you can get a replacement from the hardware store. These kits will have instructions on how to replace them.

The filler valve allows water back into the toilet post flush. If your toilet is noisy when it fills or takes a long time to fill, it could be because it’s time to replace or clean the filler valve. Like the flapper valve, you can usually find replacement kits at a hardware store and replace them yourself. If your toilet isn’t filling correctly or continues to sound like it’s running after replacing them, it’s time to call a plumber to see what’s wrong.

Adjust Your Water Level

Similar to water displacement, adjusting the water levels in your tank can reduce the amount of water used. All tanks have some mechanism for determining when the toilet bowl is full. You shouldn’t use this method with low-flow toilets; they are already water efficient.

Older toilets have a float ball attached to a rod attached to the fill valve. When the ball rises, the rod turns off the fill valve. If you bend the rod slightly, it will change the water level in the tank.

New toilets have two common mechanisms for changing the water level. Some use a dial; twisting the dial can lower and raise the water level in the tank. The other method is a screw on the fill valve. When you tighten or loosen the screw, it changes the water level.

Check for Leaks

Roughly 27% of water usage is from toilets. Unlike the sink or shower, the toilet is one of the hardest to see if there are any leaks. There are some obvious signs that the toilet is leaking, but it’s not always easy to see.

The obvious signs are:

  • Sounds when the toilet is not in use
  • Needing to jiggle the handle to stop it from running
  • Holding the handle to get the toilet to flush
  • Water trickling down the bowl even after it’s flushed
  • Phantom flushing

If you want to test if there are leaks in the toilet, you can always use the toilet dye test. The toilet dye test is when you drop 10-15 drops of food coloring into the water in the tank and wait 10 minutes. If your toilet makes a weird noise after putting in the dye, wait until the toilet makes that noise; if you see the color in the bowl, your toilet leaks. Call a plumber if you can’t find where the leak is coming from. They should be able to find and fix the problem quickly.

Dual Flush Toilets

Dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently. They help conserve water because they offer two amounts of water to a flush and can save 67% of water per flush compared to other models. They’re popular in Australia and other places where water conservation is integral to life. While you can purchase a new dual flush toilet, it’s possible to convert your current toilet to a dual flush toilet.

Low Flow Toilets

Low Flow toilets are also known as high-efficiency or low-volume toilets. These toilets can save about 6 gallons of water per flush on average. This adds up in both dollars and gallons every month. In this climate, it not only saves water but saves you money. These toilets use gravity or pressure to move waste through the system. Many water districts and conservation organizations offer rebates on low-flow toilets to reduce your overall cost.

It is important to be water conscious in this day and age. Conserving water helps the environment and can save you money on your monthly bills. Checking for leaks, adjusting your water level, and switching your toilet can help conserve water.


Making your toilet water efficient can be a cheap and easy way to save money. Since 27% of water usage comes from toilets, it’s important to test if there are leaks or parts that need to be replaced as we face new water restrictions in California. Now you know how to do just that without needing to buy a new toilet. Water displacement is an easy way to start, but checking valves to see if they need to be replaced can be complicated on your own . If you’ve tried these tips and are still having issues with your toilet just give us a call. We can help identify and fix the problem quickly so you can start saving water and money!



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