Saving Private Water!

Written by coreArchitect

Topics: Saving the Environment

As Architects committed to energy saving practices and sustainability we find ourselves examining and challenging old and new conventions. One such area of important understanding and investigation is the importance of saving water.

The Toilet Cistern

The decision to place a water saving device or bag or even brick into every WC cistern in your home is made so that you can make your own effort into saving on precious water resources, or is it?

WC Cistern Water Saving Bag
Is this really a water saving bag for a WC cistern?

We have been told to add these devices to our cisterns for years especially if the toilets in our houses are old[ish].

Back in 1999 the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions issued the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations,  which came into force on 1st January 2001, and since then, amongst other things, new WC’s have had to comply to the following:

  • The maximum allowable flush volume for a newly installed WC suite should be 6 litres [previously 7.5 litres]
  • If replacing an existing WC a 7.5 litre cistern is allowed to be fitted
  • Dual flushing should be proposed on new WC’s with 6 litres maximum full flush and 4 litres maximum short flush
  • All WC Suites need to conform to / pass the new regulators tests

This is all good news, I hear you say, as we need to conserve water especially in the summer months and considering that we are already hearing of possible hosepipe bans in the winter flooded areas of the North West.

But what about these devices for our cisterns, they have to be good don’t they, saving a litre of water every time has to be good, doesn’t it?

Should we examine further?

We are lucky enough to have four WC’s in our house [yes four lots of cleaning too!] used by two adults & three children [this often rises with visiting children and parents], therefore we should be saving water with these bags.

Toilet bowls are designed for the volumes of water that they hold in their cisterns and therefore every time they are flushed they should remove all that has been, lets say, deposited. However, because of these cistern intruders do they actually function as originally designed, as there often seems to be a need for further flushing to be undertaken.

Which of course results in much more water actually being used; nearly twice the original, not less.

Use more to save more!

We have therefore decided to remove all the items placed in our cisterns over the years, to examine if the originally designed flush does indeed do the trick or whether a second flush is really required.  We hope to find that flushing is reduced, albeit with a slightly larger volume of water, and thus we will actually be saving water without the use of  “water saving” devices.

In the interest of saving our natural resources, I would be interested to know if anyone else has examined their WC cistern recently or had any thoughts on saving water flushes!

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