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Anyone familiar with toilet lid sinks?

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I guess these are common place in Japan. Makes a lot of sense and seems that it "saves" wasted water by using it resourcefully.

Anyone have any experience with one?

Our main bathroom tank holds nearly 3 gallons. Am I right in thinking that we use 3 gallons of water everytime we flush?! We are still working on a way to jimmy that since it doesn't require that much water to flush the bowl.

I know that I am not going to need 3 gallons of water to wash my hands. So how much water does a toilet lid sink use?

Currently, we just wash our hands in the bathroom sink with bucket to catch greywater and then empty the bucket into the toilet bowl, so I don't see how it would be any different in that regard. (save me some foot work).

A sink on the toilet sure would make it easier for my little ones to reach the sink, and I wouldn't have to worry about them forgetting to turn off the water :sigh:

They look pretty easy to make.

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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Here's a how-to: http://www.greeniacs.com/GreeniacsGuides/Compost/Toilet-Lid-Sink.html
Karen Briggs
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's a how-to: http://www.greeniacs.com/GreeniacsGuides/Compost/Toilet-Lid-Sink.html

Thanks. I thought I had included that link. Guess I forgot it. And in bedded in that post is a video that shows what it looks.

There is a B&B in California that uses them. (still DIY but not as rustic looking as the one shown on greeniacs)
(lid part starts about 50 secs in)
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Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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Most toilets today do not come close to emptying their tanks on a flush. The water is metered by the flush valve and that's where you adjust how much water a flush uses.

Toilets 101.

Parts: Toilets are fairly simple adjustable appliances. They operate using two valves - a flush value to let a certain volume of water flow out of the tank into/through the bowl, and a fill value to meter water into the tank to a certain level. The flush valve includes a vertical pipe which serves as an over flow into the bowl to prevent the tank from running over when there is a filling problem and also provides a simple way to add some more fresh water into the bowl _after_ the flush is completed in order to ensure the bowl is always filled to the optimal point. Keeping the bowl water at the design level often is required for the best flush. Contemporary flush valves are usually a "flapper"; the fill valve is usually a plastic pedestal with either a float on it or an air-cup/diaphragm; either mechanism closes a needle valve when the water gets high enough in the tank. Both are usually adjustable; I find the fill valves with an actual float are much easier to deal with, even though they have more moving parts. The handle lifts the flapper to flush the toilet. Toilets are fairly reliable and easy to work on; adequate parts are usually available "everywhere".


The fill valve controls how full the bowl gets and thus, to a small extent, how much pressure is available to flush the toilet - the higher the water is "stacked" in the tank, the more pressure is initially available at the flush valve. Normally we want as much pressure as possible so we set the fill valve to add water right up 1/4-1/8" below the top of the over flow tube on the flush valve; there is pretty much no downside to to topping up the toilet tank and it flushes better and seals the flapper better (more water sitting on the flapper weighs more and seals it tighter). To adjust the fill valve we move the float up/down on a rod or we bend the brass lever arm on an old ball float, or we adjust a screw at the top top of the fill valve.

The flush valve flappers come in various styles based on the same concept - they're hinged somehow to the flush valve base and they get lifted momentarily by the toilet lever handle, let the water flow into the bowl for a flush and float down again as the water sinks until they are sucked closed by the out-rushing water. Controlling your toilet flush depends mostly on experimentation with various types of flappers until you find one that works reliably in the way you want it to. The rubbery ones sometimes work fine "out of the box". They often come with a "hoop" that slides down the over flow tube and holds them in the right position. Many come with small holes on their arms which fit over hooks at the base of the over flow tube and provide a hinge for the flapper; I often cut the hoop off and use the holes in the arms because it makes the flapper looser and this can work better. Some flappers come with a separate float attached to a bead chain; by sliding this float up/down the chain and setting the clip you control how long the flapper stays open. The float flappers are a little more finicky but the provide more control and so if the plain jane flappers don't do what you want, look to put in one with a float.

Problems (other than getting a flush you like): Almost always the tank leaking into the bowl.

There were problems with water chemicals eating the flappers; not so much any more and depends on locale. You'll know it because the flapper seal will no longer be smooth and flat. Install another flapper, check regularly.

The surface of the flush valve where the flapper sits _must_ be smooth, flat and clean. This isn't an optics project so a plastic pussy or a piece of fine sand paper will usually clean them up OK.

Cracked or incorrectly installed (cocked, loose, not centered, etc) flush valve. Correct/replace.

The handle can cause problems if it's flopping all over the place. It should have a short "throw" which lifts the flapper enough to start the flush; any extra play can cause it to operate differently each flush, tangle the chain that lifts the flapper, obstruct the flapper ... and generally be a huge hassle. The rod should not dangle way down into the tank. The cheap ones with a brass rod usually work fine and you can bend the rod to put it right for your particular toilet and flapper. BEWARE - handles often have reverse (left handed) threads on the nut that installs them to the tank.

Crud in the tank. This includes just about anything, including all patented fix&beautify-everything gizmos sold everywhere. Use the toilet parts to adjust the toilet, not add-ins. 99% of the time this will save you time, money and real grief and work quite well. Anything you put in the tank that slows/blocks the water flow down and out the flush valve will hurt your flush.

Which gets us to toilet top basins. I don't have any real experience with them but I do have a lot of experience with gravity toilets - if the valves get fouled by the tank water the toilet will have problems. So when using the tt-basin plan on inspecting and possibly cleaning/sanitizing the tank and the flush valve regularly until you see exactly how well it's working. Getting soap scum build-up off the inside channels of the toilet bowl may require some kind of detergent flush.

Toilets work way differently based on age, abuse, make & model. You must experiment with most older toilets to find the best combination of parts and adjustments; your main control will be the flapper so buy as many different kinds as you can find (and maybe return though they don't cost much) and see what works best. Keep the bowl clean and don't abrade the smooth surface (if it still exists). If you use a TT-basin, you may need to clean the holes around the under side of the bowl rim regularly - these holes provide a lot of the water to flush the toilet and they're not very large to start with so you don't want them crudded up. Some toilets have a $.25 size jet hole at the very bottom of the bowl which help shoot water down the drain; sometimes (especially in older toilets) calcium or other stuff (like crud from tank additives) build up and partially block these jets. Feel in there with your fingers - it should be fully clear. If not, take a brass float rod (toilet part), bend it into a "U" or "Z" or hook shape and use the thread on the end to clear bad calcium build ups inside the jet hole. Or if there is soft stuff crud, bend a bottle brush and clear it. When present these vents are a major part of the flush process.

For lots of toilet info, search "TerryLove plumbing". He's provided a sort of inet plumbing guru space and has some serious opinions on various toilets. My personal experience is that the Toto Drake (cheapest Toto) is well worth the money ($225+). But modern low-flow toilets like the Toto are very closely engineered and might not take kindly soap scum or other stuff (like hair) from a basin.

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