Conserve Water With a More Efficient Lou


For many of us, the majority of our water is actually being flushed rather than being used in more enjoyable ways. Parents of teenagers who take long showers may not agree here, but you get the picture.

And we’re paying for all that flushed water, so we need to stem the outflow and conserve water, not discard it.  There’s a few options when it comes to a choice of toilet with water conservation features:

  • Low flush toilet
  • Dual flush toilet
  • Dual flush conversion kit to retrofit an existing toilet
  • Outdoor privy (zero water use)

When we renovated our home, we wanted to be good stewards of this water resource, so we bought a top brand low (4-ltr) flusher. I have to say that this is one of the worst green initiatives I’ve ever seen. While a low flush should be sufficient, we found that rarely did it flush properly. It usually required a second and sometimes even a third flush, to complete the task, totally throwing our conservation efforts down the sewer pipe.

After a month’s perseverance, frustration finally won and this blushing flusher went right back to the store. Unless state or provincial regulation makes a low flusher mandatory in your area, I would not recommend a low flushing toilet.

There’s another alternative that just makes more sense – a dual flushing toilet. It gives you the option (as needed) to choose either a low or a high flush – so everyone’s happy. And consumers seem to be in general agreement that a dual-flush toilet is the way to go.

The low flush is usually set at about 3 litres with a high flush around 6 litres. The  dual button is easy to see and use, though the option is not always clear on the buttons – you have to commit that to memory.

A dual flush toilet is the best option if you are planning on changing your Lou. One will cost you more than a standard flusher, but you’ll quickly recoup the cost in water savings.

Another viable option for conserving water is worth considering if you are not planning on a replacement toilet expense. It’s a mechanism that converts a regular (high) flush to a dual flusher. Consumer ratings confirm the efficiency of this dual-flush conversion kit and the technology certainly makes sense.

According to marketing information, you don’t need a plumber to install a dual-flush conversion kit, but best to confirm with the retailer.  The dual buttons of this conversion kit actually replaces the flush handle, so there’s no breaking through the porcelain fixture. Prices of conversion kits ($30 or less) are more than reasonable, when you consider the water savings potential.

If you live in a rural area and regulations allow it, building an outdoor privy may be a convenient, water conservation option. An outhouse offers a great convenience if you garden or work outdoors a lot. But check your local codes to ensure the installation is a safe distance from lakes, rivers and drinking water sources.


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