Down the Drain

I’m trying to get myself to move on to the topic of arable land, but, I found myself going over home use of water for the first time since our Great Kitchen/bath Remodel of 2001.

When I was planning it, I remember my joy at having a reason to seek information. I love research so much that sometimes I feel like a dog looking for something to chase. Having such a clear purpose was wonderful, so my memories of the remodel are surprisingly pleasant. Today my nostalgia waxed as I revisited some household water sites.

Here’re some fun stats from the
Lake Oswego Water Treatment Plant

Where Does all the Water Go?

Below is a list of common water uses and the average amount used for each.

Toilet Flush———————–3 to 7 Gallons
Shower—————————-25 to 50 Gallons
Hand Washing——————-2 Gallons (with tap running)
Brushing Teeth——————2 Gallons (with tap running)
Outdoor Watering————–5 to 10 Gallons per Minute
Automatic Dishwashing—-10 Gallons
Dishwashing By Hand———20 Gallons
Tub Bath—————————-36 Gallons

These are pretty rough figures of course, and the 3-7 gallon flush is an obscenely old figure. I can however vouch for the 10 gallons per use for Energy Star dishwashers. Another reason to use a fully stuffed dishwasher! Washing by hand wastes water! Yea!

During our remodel, one of my goals was to cut our water use considerably. I don’t remember this site, but it’s likely I used it:


And here’s a nifty calculator for anyone who wants to figure out how much water that’s going down the drain:

Water Consumption Calculator

Back in 2001, I had no trouble coming up with a decent 10 gallon per use dishwasher, but finding good information on low water use toilets was more difficult. (If you’re thinking whacko environmentalist, ok, fine, but we also PAY for our utilities.)

In re-researching just now, I ran across a familiar site: “Terry Love’s Consumer Toilet Reports: A Report and Reviews on Low Flow Water Efficient Toilets”. From his comments and a few other review sites, I chose Toto Carlyle toilets.

The sleek design appealed to me because I hate cleaning toilet pedestals. All reviews suggested these 1.6 gallon toilets actually flushed.

Despite my assurances, my traditionalist spouse was dubious, but after nine years he loves them as much as I do. It’s nice to know the model is still on the market.

Back in 2001, no one around here had them, so I ordered from Homeclick. Now we have an independent bigbox here in town that carries the Toto brand.

So why did a buy-local sort of person go through Homeclick instead of switching brands? Easy: Toto struck me as clearly superior. So it was just a matter of finding out where to buy at the best price since they weren’t then available locally.

Accidentally found out why they weren’t available when I asked a Home Depot clerk about Toto. He said they didn’t carry the line because another well known company refused to sell to them AT ALL if they carried Toto. There you go, our free market system at work.

So I had to buy around some obstacles, and I’m pleased to report that research has its rewards. During the last phases of the remodel, the fellow doing our actual construction politely asked how much money we’d invested in the total project–two bathrooms and the kitchen. When I told him, he whistled and said, “I wouldn’t have blinked if you’d said twice that.”

And our household water use is down more than 40%.

Sometimes even my spouse is quite happy that I’m obsessed with research.



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