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To flush or not to flush...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I got in a "heated debate" (argument) with a family member last week who thought it was crazy that I don't always flush the toilet after every use.. My general policy is that at my own home, I just don't flush if it (pee) is clear... it just seems unnecessary and wasteful.  My opponent's argument was that 1) it is unsanitary, and 2) toilets these days are so efficient with the amount of water they expend in a single flush that it's silly not to just flush every time. 

 

Thoughts?  Good counter points?  Anyone agree with her? 

post #2 of 17

In general I agree with you.  I don't think the unsanitary argument holds water (pun intended).  How sanitary are toilets to begin with?  It's not like you're going to use your toiletbowl as a dinnerplate!

 

It also depends on your toilet.  If you've got a low-flow toilet, you're not wasting too much water by flushing.  If you've got a dual-flush toilet, you're probably using less than a gallon to flush your urine.  If you've got an ultra low flow single-flush toilet, it's 1.28 gallons.  A low flow single flush is 1.6 gallons.

 

In general I don't see anything wrong with not flushing urine if you don't have a personal problem with it.

post #3 of 17

When I was little, my family used to operate on the "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down" philosophy.

 

As for her 2nd point, most toilets in the United States are in fact NOT high efficiency toilets.  Quite a few still use anywhere from 3 to 7 gallons per flush (clearly far above the 1.6 GPF efficiency standards).

 

What do other folks think?

post #4 of 17

It may be a terrible waste, but I flush every time.  I don't know, the idea that there's something in the toilet is unsettling to me.  Especially because I have to sit down, and my backside (not to mention the other unmentionables I have down there) are only inches away from the water in the bowl... and that if there's any splashage (you know what I'm talking about) the yucky stuff can go anywhere/everywhere.

 

And I have cats, and they like to drink from the toilet.

post #5 of 17

 I have to agree with Missy....unsettling to leave "anything" there.  The new dual flushers reduce water consumption to 0.8 gallons per flush - a 50% savings re low volume and almost 1/2 gallon compared to super low flushers.  Sounds like a progressive, if not a complete solution.

post #6 of 17

Since we have a 20 month old that likes to play in the bathroom the toilet gets flushed every time.  Up until last year our two dogs (dead now) would drink from the toilet regardless of what was in it. So we end up wasting water and flushing our toilet but.......I make up for it by using the tree outside after it gets dark outside. 

post #7 of 17

I agree with the first post about not always flushing after every use... we flush about every other time..usually the 2nd "usage" person is the flushing person.. and of course if you do anything else it is expected of you to flush... we just bought a house a year ago this past march. It was built in 1904 and we can honestly say there have been no updates on  the house since the 1950's!  We are planning on gutting and remodeling the house and when we put in new toilets to put in the low-flow toilets that have 2 buttons on the top: a 1 and a 2 for the obvious reasons for usage. But that won't be for a year or so. Our toilets are some of the older ones that use anywhere from 3-5 gallons of water a flush! So yes, I agree to not flush everytime unless there is a NEED for the flush... it took me a little bit to realize and personally get over the fact of not flushing everytime and our philosophy of the "saving of the water" and our water bill has been greatly appreciated. But let's put this out there too, that of course if there is company.. flush every time!


Edited by ruth08 - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 00:36:53 GMT


Edited by ruth08 - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 03:38:22 GMT
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruth08:

But let's put this out there too, that of course if there is company.. flush every time!


 

Haha, that's fair! I think the benefits outweigh the costs on leaving things alone when you can. Thanks Ruth.

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by stins:

When I was little, my family used to operate on the "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down" philosophy.

My friend has a beach house that operates this way because they have a septic tank, so the less water they dump into it the less often they have to pay to have it emptied.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by missy:

It may be a terrible waste, but I flush every time.  I don't know, the idea that there's something in the toilet is unsettling to me.  Especially because I have to sit down, and my backside (not to mention the other unmentionables I have down there) are only inches away from the water in the bowl... and that if there's any splashage (you know what I'm talking about) the yucky stuff can go anywhere/everywhere.

 

And I have cats, and they like to drink from the toilet.

This is probably TMI, but I almost always have to urinate prior to defecation so there's already urine down there when I'm at risk of splash back. Maybe most people do not operate this way, I don't really know.

 

You can also prevent most pets from drinking out of your toilet by closing the lid. I know that's a terrible thing to suggest but no one said saving the world would be easy :p

post #10 of 17

Quote:

Originally Posted by missy:

It may be a terrible waste, but I flush every time.  I don't know, the idea that there's something in the toilet is unsettling to me.  Especially because I have to sit down, and my backside (not to mention the other unmentionables I have down there) are only inches away from the water in the bowl... and that if there's any splashage (you know what I'm talking about) the yucky stuff can go anywhere/everywhere.

 

And I have cats, and they like to drink from the toilet.

This is probably TMI, but I almost always have to urinate prior to defecation so there's already urine down there when I'm at risk of splash back. Maybe most people do not operate this way, I don't really know.

 

You can also prevent most pets from drinking out of your toilet by closing the lid. I know that's a terrible thing to suggest but no one said saving the world would be easy :p

 

Well, I'm not the only person who lives in my house.  I'm not really all that worried about my own fresh splashage... but I'm a bit iffy on other people's.  Especially if it's been sitting there for eight hours growing bacteria and other godknowswhat.

 

And letting the cats drink from the toilet means less bowls of water I have to maintain for them.  Besides, they LIKE the toilet water.  I've even seen them trying to pull the lid up.  And training my cats not to drink from the toilet would be a bit easier than trying to train my husband to put the lid down.  (I have enough problems trying to get him to put the seat down!)

post #11 of 17

When we get a house someday, Kiwi wants to get a waterless urinal.  Sounds like a good solution to me, for the guys at least- pee doesn't need anything to wash it down.

 

Sometimes we'll have to pee at the same time (like if we just got home from shopping or eating out)- in which case we don't flush in between.  But I don't like to let it sit- it gets to my germ OCDing.

post #12 of 17

Toilets account for almost 30% of residential indoor water use in the United States.

Toilets are also a major source of wasted water due to leaks and inefficiency. In a home that was built prior to 1993 it is most likely that the toilet uses 3.5 gallons or more for every single flush (in Dekalb County alone, approx. 165,000 homes were built prior to 1993 - there are approx. 1 Mio. Homes in the Greater Atlanta area that still have old, inefficient toilets in use). Experts say that the minimum needed to meet the basic human needs of drinking, cooking and hygiene is five gallons of clean water per person per day. It’s far from enough to ensure health and well-being-just enough to get by. Do we really need to flush down that much each time we go “Number One”?

In the beginning of modern toilets there was the seven-gallon flushing porcelain lavatory. Then there was the low-flush toilet. And by the time you’d flushed several times the bowl was “clear” and you had flushed more water than you did with the faithful lavatory.

Then there was the new and improved low-flush toilet, which was better but still not what always got the job done. And finally, the High-Efficiency toilet arrived; you now have your choice of flushing as little as .8 gallons with dual flush toilets. The best part is that they really work!

What Are High-Efficiency Toilets?

Under federal law, toilets must not exceed 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). High-efficiency toilets (HETs) go beyond the standard and use less than 1.3 gpf. The WaterSense label will be used on HETs that are certified by independent laboratory testing to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency. Only HETs that complete the third-party certification process can earn the WaterSense label.

 

Do High Efficiency Toilets Work?

Everyone is concerned about the performance of low-flow toilets. Do they clear the bowl and leave it clean? Do they stop up frequently? Unlike the first 1.6 gallon / flush toilets, WaterSense HETs combine high efficiency with high performance. Advances in toilet design permit WaterSense HETs to save water without loss of flushing power. In fact, many perform better than standard toilets in consumer testing. Want proof? Watch this amazing video of Eddie Wilcut, the Water Conservation Manager for the City of San Antonio, flushing a Russet potato down a Caroma toilet with the full flush (1.6 gallon) AND half flush (0.8 gallon), which is meant for liquid waste.  

How Much Water and Money Do HETs Save?

High efficiency toilets save you money by reducing your water and wastewater costs. Over the course of a lifetime, an average person flushes the toilet nearly 140,000 times. If you install a WaterSense HET, you can save 4,000 gallons per year and your children can each save about a third of a million gallons during their lifetime. If a family of four replaces one 3.5 gpf toilet made between 1980 and 1994 with a WaterSense toilet, they can save $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet. If the toilet being replaced was made before 1980, it uses 5 gallons per flush so the savings will be much greater. If you’d like to calculate how much water you can save try the water savings calculator on www.ecotransitions.com.

With these savings, new high-efficiency toilets can pay for themselves in only a few years. Even better, many local utilities offer substantial rebates for replacing old toilets with HETs. Detailed information on the rebates available in Georgia can be found here Rebates in Georgia

What are Dual Flush toilets?

Dual flush toilets offer a patented dual flush technology consisting of a 0.8 Gal flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 Gal flush for solids. They can save up to 40% (approx. 4600 gallons) compared to today’s standard 1.6-gallon single flush toilets. On an average of 4/1 uses a day,  Dual Flush toilets have the lowest water consumption of all - 0.96 Gallons per flush. Caroma, an Australian manufacturer that invented the Dual Flush technology manufactures award winning toilets that are both user friendly and, with a full 4″ trap way, virtually blockage-free!  Wouldn’t that be nice to be able to finally kiss the plunger good bye? Beware of some products reducing the amount of water flushed to use with your existing toilet. Existing bowls are not designed to perform with reduced amounts of water, so the likelihood of clogging your toilet while you are trying to flush paper and solid waste increases drastically.

 

Select a WaterSense Labeled High-Efficiency Toilet!

Whether you are remodeling a bathroom, beginning construction of a new house, or just want to replace an old, leaky toilet, a WaterSense labeled HET is your best bet. Look for the WaterSense label on any toilet you buy. If every home in the United States replaced just one old toilet with a new HET, we would save almost one trillion (spelled with a T) gallons of water per year, equal to more than two weeks of the water flowing over Niagara Falls!

Note that some manufacturers offer high-efficiency and ordinary models with very similar names, so be sure and look for the WaterSense label. A list of WaterSense labeled High-Efficiency Toilets can be found here List of WaterSense labeled HET’s published by the EPA.

Where can I find a HET?

To find WaterSense partners and resources in your area, please follow the link and click on your state below or choose from the list that follows. EPA - Where you live

For a watersavings calculator and more information on Dual Flush toilets please visit www.ecotransitions.com.

post #13 of 17

My family used to only flush when the water in the bowl becomes a nice golden color and of course with number 2. We noticed that changing to this method from flushing after every use did decrease our water bill.

 

We should really consider getting a BioLet for our residence like we did for our vacation home. Every dime we can save in today's economy helps.

post #14 of 17
We have a dual-flush and still use the "if its brown flush it down, if its yellow let it mellow philosophy". Urine is actually sterile, so there is no sanitary issues involved. Water treatment and supply accounts for over 5% of the total energy used in the US each year. So reducing water use not only saves water, but energy as well.
post #15 of 17

In this house when we are done,

We never flush for number one.

But when the bigger thing we do,

We always flush for number two.

smile.gif

post #16 of 17

Growing up, my family always flushed everything down, number one and number two.

Since moving in with my girlfriend three years ago I try to conserve as much water as I can and generally follow the "if it's yellow, let it mellow.." saying.

We do have two bathrooms, and sometimes one goes unused for a day or two - which can cause unpleasant encounters once in a while.. but for the most part that's the way my household works.

For some reason this debate always reminds me of Bear Grylls..

 

-Todd,

Healing Natural Oils
 

post #17 of 17

A relative has a houseboat, which is obviously not connected to the city sewage system.  For water conservation they have a sign above the latrine that reads "If its brown, flush it down.  If its yellow, let it mellow."  Yes, its a bit gross, but the reality is that they don't have the luxury of city water.  So its possible, yet a bit uncomfortable for house parties.
 

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