How to Convert Any Toilet to a Low Flush Toilet

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Toilets use the most water in our homes. Every day, Americans flush 4.8 billion gallons of water down the toilet.  Reducing the amount of water that your toilet is flushing away will go a long way to saving water in your home and helping to conserve it generally. With one easy adjustment, you’ll save money, water and the environment… one flush at a time.  A water displacement system is something that takes up space in the back of your toilet so that when you flush, there isn’t as much space to refill with water.

1.  Fill a half gallon container. A plastic bottle (juice/milk) is ideal. Remove any paper or plastic label on the outside of the container. Fill it at least partially with pebbles, sand, or gravel – whatever is handy. Then add water if more weight is needed. If you just fill it with water, though, the container will move around in the tank and interfere with the mechanism.
2.  Place the container in the tank of the toilet
3.  Carefully lower it into the water
4.  Replace the lid of the tank.
5.  Flush away. The New York Times reported that a sealed half gallon container will save half a gallon on each flush. If you, like most Americans, flush 5 times daily, your family of 5 will save 350 gallons (1325 liters) of water every month. These savings will significantly cut your water bill, too.

Another way to minimize toilet water usage is by using grey water—salvaged water from sinks and showers, stored for reuse. The systems for these are a bit more involved than putting a bottle in your toilet, but accessible solutions are becoming more common.

Finally, an important note: If you do have a modern toilet (usually marked with a 1.6 stamp on it, for the gallons used), the “bottle in the tank” method is NOT a good idea. The physics of a toilet’s pipework makes it so the water in the bowl acts as a seal against the sewage system it connects to. By lowering the water level of a toilet too far, there’s a potential for losing that barrier and filling the bathroom with an extremely unpleasant odor. Yuck.

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