Saving Water 1.6 Gallons at a Time

I have an aversion to cold showers. I expect most of us do. To make sure the water temperature is closer to 98.6° before I expose my skin to the spray, I run the shower or a bathroom fixture for about 45 seconds (yes, I measured it) to bring up hot water from the water heater. This water running down the drain is wasted.

It occurred to me that I also just used 1.6 gallons of water to flush the toilet. But what if I piped HOT water to the toilet? Actually, the plumbing change would be fairly simple. I don’t see any problem with filling the toilet with hot water, as a matter of science, I expect flushing with hot water would expedite removal of residue from the pipes. Actually, with this change, the water filling the toilet in the morning would not be hot–not until the water in the hot water pipe is replaced with heated water. So let’s look at the benefits:

  • I could save about 1.6 gallons of water per flush, when I was taking a shower, so I would waste little or no water to bring hot water to the shower.
  • The toilet might flush more efficiently with hot water (after the second flush).
  • I would gain peace of mind that I was helping the environment–even if only in a small way.

And the downsides?

  • The hot water heater would have to heat 1.6 more gallons per flush, but that same amount (or perhaps more) would have to be reheated anyway using the traditional let-it-run-until-it’s-hot method.
  • Perhaps toilet valves were not designed for hot water? I have repaired many toilets and I didn’t see any parts that would melt or otherwise malfunction in 90-120° water, but I might be mistaken.
  • This change would require a plumber, and perhaps a carpenter, and permission from a spouse.

So this idea might very well increase the cost you pay to have your water heated by a small amount. I expect that it would be minimal. IMHO, the benefits outweigh the cost.

Just an idea.

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