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  #1  
Old 17 May 2010, 03:10 AM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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Whalephant Does a brick in your toilet tank save water?

So I'm listening to the radio this morning, and some woman comes on with electricity-saving ideas for the upcoming summer. She then starts talking about how to save water and mentions that putting a brick in the tank part of your toilet will save on water. UL or not? I've heard both yes and no on this question.
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  #2  
Old 17 May 2010, 03:17 AM
Salamander Salamander is offline
 
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Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
So I'm listening to the radio this morning, and some woman comes on with electricity-saving ideas for the upcoming summer. She then starts talking about how to save water and mentions that putting a brick in the tank part of your toilet will save on water. UL or not? I've heard both yes and no on this question.
Well, presumably it doesn't have to be a brick but any object with a reasonable volume is going to reduce the amount of water in the tank and therefore use less water per flush. The catch would be if the amount of water in the tank ended up being insufficient to do the job. A second flush would negate the water savings.

The other thing would be whether or not you can actually fit a brick in your cistern without interrupting any of the mechanism... although it's hardly complex, the last time I looked in a cistern I don't recall seeing how you'd fit something like a brick in there without blocking something.
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  #3  
Old 17 May 2010, 03:41 AM
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Whalephant

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Originally Posted by Salamander View Post

The other thing would be whether or not you can actually fit a brick in your cistern without interrupting any of the mechanism... although it's hardly complex, the last time I looked in a cistern I don't recall seeing how you'd fit something like a brick in there without blocking something.

Good point: there's not a whole lot of room in the tank part, but I suppose if I wanted to, I could put a brick in there vertically.

IMO one of the best things you can is to check for leaks on a regular basis. IIRC the local water company has special tablets for that, or you can always do what I do and use Easter egg dye tablets (bought after Easter of course)
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Old 17 May 2010, 03:59 AM
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Some websites say that "bricks are known to disintegrate in toilet water over time, leading to damaged plumbing. If you are a mason or otherwise determined to use a brick, wrap it in a sturdy plastic bag first."
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  #5  
Old 17 May 2010, 02:57 PM
purpleiguana purpleiguana is offline
 
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It's true that it would use less water to flush, because only the water that is in the tank can go down in a single flushing. Then the tank has to refill (which is why you can't really flush a second time right away after flushing the first time... the lever just goes down all uselessly). Less water in the tank, less water per flush. But I agree, most modern toilets, there just doesn't seem to be place for a brick. A little pile of rocks (and I don't mean gravel, I mean rocks the size of a 1 year old's fist), OTOH, would work.
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Old 17 May 2010, 03:02 PM
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IIRC, newer tanks are smaller and designed to use the minimum amount of water per flush. It is older tanks that these tips are really useful for.

Putting the brick into a Ziploc type bag sould be fine, especially if you get most of the air out before sealing it. I little vaseline on the inside will waterproof it even more it your feel the need.
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Old 17 May 2010, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleiguana View Post
It's true that it would use less water to flush, because only the water that is in the tank can go down in a single flushing. Then the tank has to refill (which is why you can't really flush a second time right away after flushing the first time... the lever just goes down all uselessly). Less water in the tank, less water per flush. But I agree, most modern toilets, there just doesn't seem to be place for a brick. A little pile of rocks (and I don't mean gravel, I mean rocks the size of a 1 year old's fist), OTOH, would work.
That trick worked and is a good idea with older toilets. After 1995 all toilets are required by law to be something like 1.6 gallons per flush which isn't much water to mess with. Before that 3-4 gallons was common and older toilets went as many as 6-7 gallons. I have an older toilet, but I just adjusted the float to get the same results.
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  #8  
Old 17 May 2010, 03:28 PM
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I'm not sure a housebrick will disintegrate in water - they can last for decades through cycles of being lashed with rain, baked dry in the sun, frozen in the winter and cope with all that.

The putting a brick (or other object) in the cistern to reduce the volume of water it holds and therefore the volume per flush is intuative. IIRC it goes back to WWII when we were trying to conserve as much water as posible for firefighting and utility interruptions through initiatives like this and the "five inches of bathwater" rule.
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  #9  
Old 17 May 2010, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
IIRC, newer tanks are smaller and designed to use the minimum amount of water per flush. It is older tanks that these tips are really useful for.
Even more water-saving are very new types with a separate flush for urine, since it needs so much less water (and many people just can't bring themselves to 'let it mellow')

Quote:
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... the "five inches of bathwater" rule.
Is that before or after you get in - if it is after, then that's only a couple of liters for some of us
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Old 17 May 2010, 03:42 PM
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(and many people just can't bring themselves to 'let it mellow')
I can't. It stinks. My father used to do that, I can't stand the smell of stale urine.
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  #11  
Old 17 May 2010, 04:45 PM
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If this doesn't work, then Hippo the Water Saver is a total waste of time.
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Old 17 May 2010, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Is that before or after you get in - if it is after, then that's only a couple of liters for some of us
Eh? Before you get in. Assuming a 5' x 3' bathtub (ignoring corners) filled to 5" depth is about 177 litres.
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  #13  
Old 17 May 2010, 05:03 PM
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Displacement. If you're only allowed 5in with yourself in there, and you're, ahem, of the larger persuasion...
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Old 17 May 2010, 05:20 PM
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Still 177 litres of water though once you get in.

ETA I see the point. But no you fill to five inches then get in.
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  #15  
Old 17 May 2010, 05:51 PM
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Our water company handed out Hippo thingies to go in the cisterns. I have the hippo in one cistern and a brick in the other (2 toilet household!). I also "let it mellow". My pee is pretty dilute as a drink large amounts of liquid. If I've eaten asparagus I have to flush though as I'm one of those who can smell the asparagus breakdown compounds in pee.
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Old 17 May 2010, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
My pee is pretty dilute as a drink
I'm really not sure I wanted to know that.
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  #17  
Old 17 May 2010, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
I'm really not sure I wanted to know that.
I read right past that, obviously just reading phonetically - which I hope is how llewtrah came up with that rendering.
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  #18  
Old 17 May 2010, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
I read right past that, obviously just reading phonetically - which I hope is how llewtrah came up with that rendering.
Just typing too fast, that's all. And trying to multi-task. And not proof-reading because there's a cat trying to help me type!
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  #19  
Old 17 May 2010, 09:59 PM
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I take a bath so rarely that if I'm going to have one, it's going to be as full as I want it to be.
Of course, I have to scrub out the tub before I have one because of soap scum, so that's one reason they're so rare.
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  #20  
Old 18 May 2010, 01:19 AM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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The old tanks that used 5 or more gallon of water this worked well to a point. Lower the float was is a much quicker way. Sticking in a glass jar with out lid in the upright position work quit well and not problem with any type of corrosion.

Do not try anything like this with the new water efficient toilets including the older 2-3 gallon ones.. That is unless you like the smell of sewage. If there is not enough water flowing through the trap. The air lock created by the water in the traps will be broken, causing the air behind it come up through the toilet. The air right straight from the sewage lines. Does not always happen, but you sure know when it does happen. Had to explain this to my apartment manage years ago after putting 1 qt jars in all the toilets. The public water department suggest this to him to save water.

Last edited by Singing in the Drizzle; 18 May 2010 at 01:35 AM.
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