Stuck with an old-school, pre-1992 toilet? Then with each flush, you're using 3 ½ to 5 gallons of water when about 1 ½ gallons will get the job done. Switching to a low-flow or high-efficiency toilet will help you conserve water and save money on your water bills. But if your budget is tight and you can't afford to install one of these modern toilets, all is not lost. You can get a "lower-flow" toilet for less than $2 in two very easy ways:

1. Place 1-Liter Bottles into the Toilet Tank
Two 1-liter bottles of soda will cost you about $1 on sale. Don't worry that this water-conservation method will harm your toilet; it won't. Here's what you do:

  • Once you've finished all the soda, rinse the two bottles and remove any labels from the exterior.
  • Put some pebbles or gravel in the bottom for weight — about 2 inches deep — and then fill the bottle with water. Screw the cap on the bottle tightly.
  • Make a mental note of the water level in the tank and then place the bottles into the corners of the tank at the opposite end from the handle.
  • Flush the toilet once to make sure that there's no obstruction when you flush and to see the difference in the water level when the toilet refills.

Amount of Water You Save Per Flush: Displacing two liters of water in your toilet tank is roughly equal to ½ gallon.

2. Install a Toilet Tank Bank
If you're not thrilled about the idea of having soda bottles in your toilet tank, put a toilet tank bank instead. A toilet tank bank looks a little like a hot-water bag you can snuggle up with on cold winter nights. It's made from non-corrosive material that also resists fungal growth and has an attachment for hanging. Purchase one for as low as $1.75 from

To install:

  • Open the valve to fill the tank bank with water.
  • Close the valve and hang the tank bank in the toilet tank. That's it.

Once the tank bank is filled you never have to refill it. Amount of Water You Save Per Flush: Each tank bank saves 0.8 gallons of water every time you flush your toilet.

How Much Will You Save Overall

This depends on a variety of factors, including the amount of times your toilet is flushed each day, the volume of your current tank, and water rates where you live. However, the average American flushes the toilet 5.05 times, according to WaterSense, an EPA Partnership Program. Multiply that amount by 365 to estimate how many gallons each person uses when flushing the toilet to determine the amount of gallons used per year.

To estimate the amount of money you'll save, check your water bill to find out how much you currently pay per gallon as it varies depending on where you live. If you don't know, recommends assuming $0.005 per gallon. Multiply the gallons of water each person uses per annum by $0.005 and you'll have an idea of your yearly water expense for flushing the toilet.

So let’s say you have a family of four and save 0.8 gallon of water with each flush. Your family will save 16.16 gallons daily, or 5898.4 gallons per year. With an estimated water rate of $0.005, you'll save nearly $30. Over time this can really add up!

This has been a guest post by Andrea from Ontario, Canada
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