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Poor man's flush counter

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by Celtic Blue, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Thought I would pass on this tip. As part of my water use reduction project I've wondered how often per day any given toilet is flushed. Numbers range from 6 to 10 times/day per person in various sources. Of course this varies depending on how much one is actually at home, among other things.

    Trying to keep track of it manually was likely to miss a lot of flushes. So I started thinking about a way to make a flush counter and realized I had an ultra-cheap pedometer handy. I clipped it to the toilet lever arm and voila, a poor man's digital flush counter. :D
     
  2. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Is it hidden so that certain household members who contribute a very high number of flushes don't see and disable it?

    And what about the household political implications of monitoring this when someone suffers what the TV ads call 'bladder urgency'? Are you ready to sleep in the doghouse until that counter is removed?
     
  3. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Oh, it's hidden alright, inside the tank on the flush arm. Nobody ever looks there but Dad.

    I was surprised that it worked. I wasn't sure if there would be enough of a jolt to register. Plus I thought I might have to wire/tape/rubber band it in place, but the clip worked just fine. I'm using a $5 pedometer from Target that I've had for a few years.
     
  4. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    I"m glad you worked out the pedometer because my webcam idea probably wouldn't have worked anyway.
     
  5. Matt Herring

    Matt Herring New Member

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    Ever think about building your own gray water toilet system...plenty of online resources out there to show you how...and inexpensive too. Rather than monitor the number of flushes you can flush it cost free by using excess water from your shower.
     
  6. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Hadn't thought of that...it might have turned into some sort of twisted pay site without our knowledge.

    I haven't really considered it. I'm only monitoring the number of flushes out of curiosity for my household water balance. I'm not doing it to say, "You've exceeded your flush quota for the day!" Some folks are willing to take conservation a lot farther than I am. I'm not even on board for the "if it is wee, let it be" approach. I worked too hard to get my little ones to start flushing the toilets...

    I wouldn't want to put gray water through the toilet fill valves and my toilets really aren't designed for through the bowl flushing. I don't care for the idea of having soap scum, toothpaste, etc. in the toilet tank and bowl 24/7.

    I would probably opt for using roof runoff collection and pumping first.

    On the other hand, any other substantial reductions in my water use would probably have to adopt graywater reuse and the "only flush a deuce" approach (that and asparagus wee.)
     
  7. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    I bet you're really popular in your household ....
     
  8. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    {I don't care for the idea of having soap scum, toothpaste, etc. in the toilet tank and bowl 24/7. }

    You might be surprised how much that gets diluted by the rinse water. Sewer water, with all that it contains, just looks like dirty dishwater coming into a treatment plant.
    I'd worry more about the pool chlorine used in some DIY set ups. Without being anal about the amount used or a carbon filter after the holding tank, it will eat away the toilet innards.
     
  9. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    You could always put a few rocks in the tank to reduce the amount of water used.

    Where I first lived, the water came by truck once a week. Having been taught NOT to flush, it took me years to unlearn that habit.
     
  10. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    My questions are,
    1/ If you find your toilet is being flushed XX number of times what will you do to change that?
    2/ If there is nothing going to be done with the data why collect it?

    I guess you might look into a duel flush cistern or put a house brick in the tank to reduce the volume of water. I have 2 duel flush toilets and have adjusted the water level to the minimum. This can be done without spending any money. I'm not sure I get the American toilets, they hold so much water in the bowl, it's like yanks are a bad shot or something, and when they flush they do it so casually where an Aussie loo flushes with a whoosh!

    I was going to make a video of an Aussie dunny flushing but I found one for your enjoyment.

    Please note, it doesn't swirl!
     
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    There are many different American toilet designs. That quiet swirl was a common style of old water hogs, not legally for sale since the early 1990s. But since then, many water hogs have been smuggled in from Canada.

    We also have plenty of designs, both old and new, that go whoosh!

    The large quantity of water in the bowl is to cover the big smelly loads that helped produce our big fat arses.
     
  12. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Didn't say I was going to change it. What I am doing is measuring it so that I know how much is coming from the source.

    It's called rationalizing the model. Untested assumptions aren't worth much. I've got a pretty good overall balance, and I am checking some assumptions for various components. Having good numbers provides a sound basis for deciding what makes sense in the future.

    Why would I do that? I've got 1.28 gpf high efficiency toilets now. I rejected the complications of a 1.6/0.8 dual flush in favor of these. With two females in the household I figured the 0.8 wouldn't get much use anyway.

    If I used a brick I would have to dangle the brick in the top half of the tank for it to reduce the flush volume in these (since the lower half remains.) If these flush perfectly for 6 months to a year, then I might reduce the water level a notch, but it is way too early for that.

    Perhaps you should actually see a proper U.S. toilet sometime. My new Totos (from Georgia) have nice wide waterspots about 4x the area of the Australian Caromas...yet with a small overall water volume because they are shallow up until the trap. The Totos have a nice short positive flush...way shorter and cleaner than what you posted. My old toilets had a waterspot like those Australian toilets. Dirty awful things they were.

    What whoosh? It's more like a continuous roar. Here is a whoosh (no I'm not the videographer)


    Apparently Aussies like the smell of their own feces. What I learned from my work in Southeast Asia was that it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better to have it covered by some water. :bolt:

    My Toto's don't swirl either. :confused:

    You are proud of those contraptions? They look horribly wasteful and messy--about like a 3 gallon flush. They ran forever compared to my Totos. It looks like they are spraying contaminated water everywhere! :shocked: No wonder folks who have bought them here complain about the mess from the Caromas! Imagine a courtesy flush seated on one of those. Is that what you call an outback bidet? :p

    And here, an observation about Australians and toilets
    Listen to about 1:10 for the answer. :D
     
  13. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Here's a view of one of the brand new Aussie toilets flushing with blue water in it. Problem with Caroma Dual Flush Toilet Nothing like having toilet water and crap splashed all over the seat and bathroom! "Uh, Honey, are you sure you don't want me to leave the seat up for you?"
     
  14. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Shawn, no I am not proud of the toilets I found the video of, they are 40 years or more old. What I was getting at is the volume of water in the bowl is less. I don't want to get into a pissing contest about toilets here, I was just surprised that the toilets in the US are so different to the ones here. By the way, all the poo goes under water in an aussie dunny.
    [​IMG]

    4.5 and 3 litre flush and wash your hands in the water that will be used in that flush.
    I guess not suited to a cold climate but an example of inovation to save water.
    savewater.com.au - Caroma Profileā„¢ Toilet Suite with Integrated Hand Basin

    BTW, love the video you posted, funny!!
     
  15. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Do your aussie dunnies have a special surface coating to ensure that all the stuff that initially misses the water target slides down into the target? In my household, different users have different aim points, and that target is not large enough to cover all the aims.
     
  16. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Never had an issue. The sides are quite steep but it always seems to go in the water for me anyway.
    I have heard of people who sit on the toilet backward to deliberately make a mess, but they are few and far between.
    Urban Dictionary: reverse kanga

    PS, I am not about to post a picture to illustrate.
     
  17. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    You have my sympathy ....

    :mad:

    I was actually looking forward to a photo or two ...
     
  18. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    That's not what the Caroma users in the states are reporting.

    A bit of diarrhea or some flatulence with the poo and there is no way it will all hit that tiny water spot, even with precision bombing. My old toilets had a waterspot almost exactly the size of the Caroma and this was a major issue. I'm glad to be rid of them. :cheer2: However, the very large trap on the Caroma might have held all of the contents underwater that reached the splash point wheras the small trap in the Gerber could not.

    I considered the Caromas briefly until I read reviews. The real killer was the splashing back out of the bowl.

    I don't doubt that they flush extremely well with the large trapway. However, flush capacity is only one of the requirements.
     
  19. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Very appropriate choice of words, sir.

    Of course, this is known as a...wait for it...kanga-loo. :doh:
     
  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Back before web cams ... maybe that's what THIS guy was 'only' DOing ... pun intended.

    http://www.poopreport.com/BMnewswire/1357.html

    :eek:

    .