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Here in sunny southern California, as in many other areas of the country, we’re experiencing a drought, and it seems like all we hear about is water conservation. We were forced to switch out our high-powered behemoth of a toilet for a more efficient low-flow model, but what if you’re not satisfied with that level of water conservation — what do you do?  You pick up a couple of oddly named Toilet Tummies.

Invented 20 years ago, the Toilet Tummy works on the principle of displacement. Just fill the bag with water and hang it on the inside of the tank, and this simple device will save you 80 to 160 ounces of water per flush.

One site estimates that in a family of four the Toilet Tummy’ll pay for itself in three and a half weeks, and that’s no surprise seeing as it only costs about $4.  Saving the environment is cool, but it’s nice to save some dough along the way.

Toilet Tummy [AM Conservation]
Street Pricing [Google]


26 Responses to Toilet Talk

  1. CB says:

    Wouldn’t putting a brick in the tank accomplish the same thing?

  2. Brandon says:

    A used water bottle filled with water will do the trick just as good.

  3. Grobian says:

    That’s the greenies in a nutshell: A rock or a brick would do the job for free, and people have been doing just that for decades — but they’d rather pay four bucks for a piece of nonbiodegradable plastic, because it’s “new”.

  4. Justin says:

    Ooohhh! A $4 plastic bag! Wish I would have “invented” this one.

  5. Zathrus says:


    No, the “greenies” have been doing that for decades. It’s all the people who haven’t given a crap about how many resources they’re using that buy silly crap like this.

  6. Barri says:

    Why not just ajust the syphon for a shorter flush?

  7. Chris says:

    While I agree there are better ways to reduce water usage than paying $4 for a plastic bag, using a plastic bag rather than a bottle or brick does have some advantages:

    1) It isn’t going to break down in your tank. Bricks do, and they may break down faster depending on the material and your water chemistry.
    2) It fits better in a crowded tank without getting in the way of things. Inflexible bottles and bricks can get in the way of the float arm, the flapper valve, etc., which limits their utility. Something like this is usually flexible enough to be positioned out of the way of everything.

    Personally, I’d be inclined to use a used Ziploc bag or two instead, and/or get one of those spiffy Australian toilets (seemingly every toilet in Australia has this feature) that allows you to do a light flush for #1 and a full flush for #2.


  8. Coach James says:

    Back in 1975, when my sister was in college, the area where she was in school was having a drought. The university asked all the students to put a tupperware bowl in their toilet tanks to halp save water. She said everyone she knew did so. If all 20,000+ students did, I imagine a lot of water was saved.

  9. Kris says:

    Toilets are engineered to use a certain amount of water per flush. If you cut down on the amount of water, the flush may not be complete – requiring a second flush a net increase in the water used.

    If you are really serious about reducing your water usage, get a toilet that is designed to have two different flush amounts – one for solid waster and one for liquid waste.

  10. Doofus says:

    Or just pee in the yard.

  11. Barri says:

    I dont know how many litres the US cisterns hold but to be able to save 1.3 gallons a flush means your using far more water than really needs to be used in the first place. UK toilets have used 6 litres for a full flush and 2/3litres for a half flush for over the last 4-5 years.

  12. Andrew says:

    the older 3.5 to 5 gal flushes we used a water filled caped 1/2 gal milk jug. I like the movie staring Anthony Hopkins in the fastest Indian, charter fertilized his fruit tree in the morning by peeing on it, ammonia

  13. Jerry says:

    Save water when using the toilet? Okay – a few years back, California had a real water shortage and they adopted the simple, albeit crude, philosophy: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Pretty simple stuff folks.

  14. Snork says:

    If you have the room install a urinal, they use very little water and you don’t have to remember to lift the toilet seat. Also peeing in the shower works

  15. JT says:

    Ecology tip for the day:
    Recycle that toilet paper folks! Remember, it’s got two sides!

  16. shopmonger says:

    The idea is sound…………..by raising hight in bowl you can create more potential energy……with less water to raise to that hight……But a simple water bottle would suffice……..But a bad is also a good idea……but for $4 you cna get 20 i gallon zip lock bag….

  17. apotheosis says:

    My neighbor has rottweilers, I just poop in a bucket and toss it over the fence.

    Every once in a while I toss a corncob over for them to gnaw on, just so there’s no questions.

  18. Toolaremia says:

    Kris hit the nail on the head: In old-fashioned toilets, reducing the amount of water per flush will cause the toilet to malfunction, leading to either increased water usage from a second flush, or unsanitary conditions from an incomplete flush. Yuk.

    Modern low-flush toilets really have gotten much better in recent years. I replaced an old 5-gallon toilet that never did a decent job with a new 1.3 gallon job last year. The difference is astonishing. The new one can deal with the (ahem) worst I can give it and gets the job complete with one flush. Truly a case of better performance and better economy. It was cheap too.

  19. Zathrus says:

    FYI, 1.3 gallons is the same as 6l. And low flow toilets have been mandated for much of the US for a decade or longer (with occasional idiots trying to repeal the laws).

    And shopmonger — no, it does not increase the potential energy. It reduces the overall amount of potential energy because there is less water. It doesn’t “raise” the level of the water — the water level will be the same, because the shut off will trigger at the same level. That’s why it sometimes causes problems with flushing.

  20. Ken says:

    Follow what Doofus says and then get a bumper dumper( a toilet seat that fits over the hitch)saves alot of water. Just don’t drive with someone on the bumper dumper.

  21. Shopmonger says:

    Zathrus Says: No if you raise the water level adjustment by 10% or so and you only add 5% more water by using the “city” water preasur to raise up the water higher you do add potential energy…….. basic physics 101

  22. Hank says:

    On the low-rise, low gallon toilets, be prepared for sticker shock when you replace the innards. I did it twice, then replaced the toilet with a standard. The toilet replacement was less then the cost of the parts for two repairs for the low-boy.

  23. Apart from conserving water in the toilet, there are dozens of other little things that we all can do to save water and combat the water shortage situation we are facing in Southern California. If you go to http://www.bewaterwise.com/tips01.html you will see a water saving tips page that lists Indoor and Outdoor tips and how much water is saved with each one. You would be amazed at how simple these actions are yet how impactful they can be. Things like turning off the water when you brush your teeth can save 3 gallons per day, taking shorter showers saves 5 gallons a day, and installing a smart sprinkler controller saves 40 gallons per day! Check out all the tips on the site and pass it on to fellow Southern Californians!

  24. Plumbing drummer says:

    Here are the facts, the water conservation act of 1992 mandated that ALL toilets sold in the U.S. market need to use 6 liters (thats 1.6 U.S. gallons) or less. The problem was that the technology wasn’t there yet which is why older generation low flow toilets flushed poorly.

    The urinal idea… Urinals use 1 U.S. gallon per flush. Not much savings there. Displacing the water in the toilet tank? Depending on how much you displace you may cause the toilet to have a short flush. Thus, causeing a partial evacuation of the waste, meaning you’ll have to flush again useing even more water. As for changing the flapper for a quicker flush… Same problem, partial evacuation of waste equills more wasted water due to multiple flushes.

    The real solution. Some manufactuers (Kohler for instance) make a 2 stage toilet with different water amounts for both liquid & solid waste. OR “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Anyone with a septic system knows that one.

    And if your truely conserned about water conservation make sure YOUR water pressure in YOUR home is below 65psi so the FLOW RESTRICTERS in your plumbing fixtures are allowed to work properly. Also, hot water recirculators save GALLONS of water that get spent down the drain while your waiting for the hot water to get to the shower.

    Believe me as a plumber I can tell you that the amount of water you flush down the toilet is nothing compaired to what a inproperly maintained plumbing system can spend.

  25. Texan says:

    a 1/2 gallon milk jug works great. don’t use a brick as it will stain the toilet. use some rocks in the bottom of the milk jug or another small plastic bottle with the paper label removed to minimize flush water. experiment with the amount of water used to get a proper flush. I have found that 1.2 gal works fine with a toto eco drake toilet.

  26. Chris says:

    Isn’t the Toto Eco Drake *already* a 1.2-GPF toilet? No bricks/jugs/rocks necessary…


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