Why dual-flush toilets ROCK!

Caroma dual flush toiletOne of the things I love about traveling to another country is experiencing how people use everyday things in different ways.

When Marcus and I traveled to Italy in 2008, the apartment we stayed at had a dual-flush toilet; as in, you push one button to flush away pee (less water) and a different button to flush away poo (more water). They were the coolest toilets ever!

When we moved into our townhouse that summer, we noticed that our toilets were your basic, contractor-choice models. Even though they were low-flow and still in good shape, we knew we could save more water (and hence more money on our water bill) if we switched to a dual-flush model.

Even though we believe in the motto “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke,” we also believe in the Super Frug strategy of spending some money today in order to save more money in the future.

It took us over a year to get new toilets–you know how life goes–but, we did our research and found a store in Seattle that offered a good selection of water-saving, low-flow, dual-flush toilets.

Caroma Sydney Smart ToiletWe decided on the Caroma “Sydney Smart” toilet. We needed two: one for the powder room and one for our bathroom. They cost $350 each, and with a Chinook book coupon for 10% off, the total was about $690.

The toilets weren’t cheap but we knew that we would make the money back in water bill savings in the long-run.

To save money, we transported them and installed them ourselves.

In case you’re wondering, we gave one of our old toilets to friends who were redoing their bathroom and we sold the other one on Craigslist (cha-ching!).

Our old toilets were low-flow and used 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

Our new toilets used 1.28 gallons for the poo flush and only 0.8 for the pee flush.

That meant that for most of our flushes, Marcus and I were only using half the amount of water that we used to use!

That’s a lot of water saved, which is great for the environment and great for our budget.

Let’s do the math.

Before we installed our new toilets, our average two-month water and sewer bill was $131.

After we installed our toilets, our average bill dropped to $94.

That’s a savings of $37 every two months. Which is a savings of $222 per year.

Over ten years, we will save $2220.

Subtract the $690 we spent on them (took 3.1 years to pay them off) and that’s still $1530 saved over ten years, not to mention all the water saved too.

And that is why dual-flush toilets ROCK!

DIY cleaning products

I can’t stand the smell and fumes from cleaning products. It makes my eyes sting, my nose water and my throat scratchy.

Even if you aren’t sensitive to cleaning chemicals, you can save a buttload of money by using DIY (do it yourself) cleaning products.

Get a spray bottle or better yet, save the cleaner bottle that you’re already using and rinse it out well after it’s empty. Fill the bottle with 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water and one squirt of liquid soap like Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap. Put the cap back on and shake well. Spray counters, toilets, showers and floors and wipe off with a clean towel. The vinegar smell will disappear after a while.

Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda in the toilet. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Watch it bubble and fizz. I love that part. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap. Scrub well with a toilet brush. Flush.

NOTE: After cleaning this way a bunch of times, I don’t even measure anymore. Now, I just eyeball how much I’m using.

This stuff is fun to make. Pour about 1/3 cup of baking soda in the tub. Add liquid soap and mix with your gloved hand. You want the consistency of cake frosting. Plop some of your “tub scrub” on a no-scratch scrub sponge and scrub away. Rinse.

Plug the sink. Slosh a tablespoon of vinegar in the bowl. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and a squirt of liquid soap. Let it all bubble and fizz and then scrub with a non-scratch scrub sponge. Turn on the faucet and add some water–not a lot. Rinse the sink and the sponge several times. Unplug the sink and drain. Rinse your sponge and wipe down any leftover cleaner and suds from the sink.

If you want something stronger than the all-purpose cleaner for your kitchen or bathroom floors, get a bucket and add in a cup of vinegar, a few good squirts of liquid soap, and then a good amount of HOT water. Mop with this mix then pour it out and mop with fresh water. Dry with old towels. I do this by skating around on the towels with my feet. And no, you can’t sue me if you end up falling down and hurting yourself.

Know your limits. If you don’t have good balance, then you shouldn’t be skating on towels on your just-mopped kitchen floor. Also, f you have marble counters or floors, you’ll want to check to see if it’s okay to use vinegar and baking soda on them. Be smart. Clean at your own risk.

Last but not least, buy vinegar and baking soda in bulk or when it’s on sale. I buy my vinegar, baking soda, and scrub sponges in bulk at Costco.

If you clean this way, not only will you save a ton of money, but your mucous membrane and lungs will thank you. Happy Super Frug cleaning!