5 Water Saving Bathroom Devices You Can Install Yourself

5 Water Saving Bathroom Devices You Can Install Yourself

Australia isn't the world's wettest country. Drought is a legitimate concern for everyone from farmers to city-slickers. That means it's the responsibility of every citizen to conserve as much water as possible. But that doesn't mean you need to blow hundreds or thousands of dollars on professionally installed low flow appliances — not when these inexpensive items can be installed with the tools you (should) already own.

Low Flow Faucet Aerators and Shower Heads

The fastest and easiest way to reduce your water usage is to simply install aerators on your faucets. These perforated metal sleeves reduce water usage by about four per cent on average and can either be installed into the end of the faucet itself (you simply have to unscrew the tip — counter-clockwise — using a pair of slip-jaw crescent pliers) or by screwing on as an external attachment, like a Pur. There will be a noticeable drop in your water pressure, but that's how you'll know it's saving you money.

Installing a low flow, or aerating, a showerhead is just as simple, as they operate nearly identically to faucet aerators. Look for a head unit with a flow rate of 1.5 gpm (gallon per minute) or less. Compared to a regular 2.5 gpm head, these low flowers will save thousands of gallons of water annually. You'll need that same crescent wrench you used on your faucets, some plumber's tape, and a rag for this installation:

  1. Use the wrench to loosen the nut that's holding the old shower head onto the pipe (remember, it's lefty loosy, righty tighty) then finish unscrewing it with your fingers and remove the head.
  2. Wipe down the pipe's threads (the ones that were just exposed by removing the head) to ensure that there isn't any mildew or rust or other bits of gunk that could bind the threading.
  3. Wrap a thin layer of plumber's tape over the threads to ensure a watertight seal with the shower head, then screw on the new head until finger tight before cranking it down to the appropriate tension with the crescent wrench.

And if you want to get really serious about saving money while bathing, you can also install an intermediary water cut off nozzle that sits between the pipe and the head. This device features a simple thumb turn mechanism that fully halts the flow of water. This will allow you to soap up without wasting water and without having to fiddle with the hot water controls once you resume. Regardless of which brand you buy, make sure that it meets or exceeds federal standards by looking for the EPA WaterSense label.

Take a Look at Your Toilet

Sure, you could spend big bucks on one of those flash water heaters (and give up a helpful supply of potable water during the next 72-hour crisis) or you could look to your toilet for more practical water savings.

Dual flush triggers have become pretty common features on modern toilets. These devices forgo the conventional handle of favour of a pair of buttons, usually mounted on the top of the tank cover — the small button releases just a little water when you go #1, the big button releases a full 1.5 gallons for flushing #2. However, adding this function usually requires buying a new toilet. That is, unless you pick up a dual flush conversion kit like the Tap N Flush.

This device doesn't require any tools for installation (you simply hang the device's float-weight to the existing flapper chain and you're done). You flush normally for #2, but for lighter loads, tapping the tank-mounted controller before hitting the handle will result in a shorter, less wasteful water movement.

If that sounds like more trouble than it's worth, you can always just install a tank bag. These inflatable devices occupy some of the space in your toilet tank that water otherwise would — effectively shrinking the size of the tank and reducing the amount of water that goes down the tubes every time you flush.

While you're rooting around in the backside of your toilet, you might as well get in there and make sure that it isn't leaking — and, if it is, make sure you fix it. The easiest way to spot a leak is with temporary dye tablets. Just drop one or two in the tank and wait. If you notice brightly tinted water in the bowl within the timeframe prescribed by the dye's packaging, you've got a leak.

To correct it, you'll likely have to replace either the float and handle assembly, which will require your crescent wrench, a screwdriver (the new unit's packaging will usually list what you need in order to install), and about 20 minutes of concentration.

The leak could also be due to a worn out flapper, which is the rubber mat that sits at the bottom of the tank, covering the drain, and is affixed to the end of the chain. That project is slightly more involved but still easily within the realm of a DIY'ers abilities.

All of these items can be picked up at your local home improvement store and found at a variety of online retailers. Heck, Niagara Conservation even sells a variety of kits that include many of these devices so you don't have to spend your afternoon wandering Home Depot's plumbing department in search of an 85 cent aerator sleeve. And when combined with the water saving techniques described below, your daily water usage will slow to a trickle.

lead image: Denis Ponkratov

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Comments

    The best water saving device is yourself. Not letting the tap run while you're shaving yourself, shorter showers, no excess watering of gardens etc, etc. The same goes for fuel consumption in your car. It's the user that dictates how much water and petrol you go through.

      That's only true if everyone in the house has been educated to use water wisely, what about kids, their education usually takes longer and a lot of water can be wasted until they wise up. As for petrol, well that's different, most people concerned about fuel consumption are trying to save money, this article is about saving water. Besides the amount of control on fuel consumption with a car you already own other that driving economically is limited. Unless you downsize to a smaller more economic vehicle, that's a discussion for some other time.

    Just follow a vegan diet and your water use will be reduced dramatically!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM6yfP_yI2I
    The majority of the water used is from the food you eat. The thing is we don't really think about that and we just get the end product.

      wow that got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen...

        Maybe you should watch the video before commenting, or you end up looking stupid for your uninformed comment.

      Then explain how little water washing all your fruits and vegetables use..
      Not eating meat.. that's a "missed streak" lol

    At $2.20 per kilolitre, Qld., that's a lot of water, and it's damn cheap, and all the magic water saving devices on the planet do not change the most expensive component, the INFRASTRUCTURE. People also spend mega-dollars on plastic bottles of water, paying for the BOTTLE, the water is a few cents per litre, and many of the bottles are NOT RECYCLED....look in the oceans.

    I get sick of articles written by immature people who have not spent one iota of time in the research of their article. Cut the scare-mongering and report on the whole, not a minor slice of of the total cost, water is free from the sky, the treatment and delivery in pipes is where the high cost lies, a great proportion to the CEO's and shareholders.

      But this article is about saving WATER, not money. Water in Australia is not as free from the sky as you think it is, if it was there would be no droughts. Right now in W.A. the main water supplying dam for Perth and the metro region is over full capacity, come summer it probably won't be and that's only a few months away. Read the first part of this article again..

      "Australia isn’t the world’s wettest country. Drought is a legitimate concern for everyone from farmers to city-slickers. That means it’s the responsibility of every citizen to conserve as much water as possible. But that doesn’t mean you need to blow hundreds or thousands of dollars on professionally installed low flow appliances — not when these inexpensive items can be installed with the tools you (should) already own."

    My friends have this nifty thing in their house. They got a basin on the toilet cistern. You flush, and the faucet starts, you wash your hands, and it uses that water to fill the cistern, without you having to use more water to wash your hands.

    Most of this used to mean alot to me until I realised that living in an apartment means that if everyone in your building is putting in the same effort you might get some saving, otherwise you'll still end up paying the same amount each quarter, so no benefit to me. I've stopped worrying about how much water I use now, because no matter how hard I've tried, the bill doesnt change (which is my personal end goal). Yes I understand the environment and yada yada, but the main driving force for a lot of people is money saving first and foremost. On a single income supporting a family that needs to be possible based on my actions.

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