Simple solution to a trickling problem scores the Smart WaterMark

Monday, 24 August, 2009

Everyone has seen or has had that toilet cistern that never finishes after it flushes. In some cases it is just a trickle down the toilet bowl, other times it can be quite a stream - either way it can result in thousands of litres of water literally going ‘down the toilet’ over time.

This is often caused by the seal not closing properly, but now a device has been manufactured which solves the problem.

It is called FixAFlush and it is one of the latest products to be awarded the Smart Approved WaterMark, in recognition of its water-saving benefit. FixAFlush also enables users to determine the amount of water they use, as it automatically stops the flow as soon as the finger is lifted off the button.

The interesting aspect of the FixAFlush is that it was not invented by a plumber or technician, but by concerned water users Debbie and Peter Gwynn, who were worried about the amount of water used by the three toilets in their home. Just prior to their daughter’s 21st birthday party, when they had about 100 people coming, the FixAFlush was created.

“The FixAFlush is an innovative solution to a problem in many toilets. Our independent expert panel was impressed by its simplicity and its ease of installation,” said the CEO of the Smart WaterMark, Julian Gray.

The brass adapter is easily placed at the top of the outlet valve inside the cistern and does not require a plumber for installation. It only allows the valve to lift and stay lifted while the finger is on the flush control button. This has the potential to save thousands of litres of water as many people keep their finger on the button to ensure a full flush, which is often not necessary according to the FixAFlush inventors.

The adapter forces the outlet valve to immediately reseal once the finger is removed from the flush button so that only enough water is used to flush, rather than the full flush, whether it is an old 13-litre flush or a new dual flush.

“For an outlay of less than $10, the FixAFlush could not only save thousands of litres of water, but could pay for itself many times over with savings on a water bill,” added Gray.

The FixAFlush is one of 10 products to receive the Smart Approved WaterMark in the latest assessments, bringing the total to over 180 domestic and commercial products and services that have been approved by the scheme. The additions are:

For the home:

  • The Digital Shower Timer from Ripple Products is a waterproof, steamproof and shatterproof digital alarm clock for the shower that comes in a choice of fun design casings. It features a countdown timer, clock, memory log of past shower time and a loud buzzer to advise when shower time is over.

For the car:

  • Freedom Formula One Waterless Car Wash from Freedom Waterless allows you to clean and polish your car without using a hose or bucket.

For the garden and landscaping:

  • ENKi dripline from Reece is used in landscape and turf irrigation to reduce water loss through evaporation. With a diameter of 13 mm, it features a large flow path (two litres per hour), reducing the possibility of clogging, and is pressure compensated - allowing it to be used over long distances as well as on undulating landscapes. Spacing is at either 30 or 40 cm and it is available in 50 and 200 m coils.
  • Waterlog from Easi Eco interacts with the soil to gradually release water to the roots of the plant. It is composed of 97% water and 3% cellulose that solidifies the water, releasing the water slowly to supply the plant over a period of time.

For the swimming pool:

  • Bariloche from the Portella Group is a solar pool blanket made from 400 micron bubble material. This material helps to increase the pool’s temperature by up to 8°, almost completely eliminates water loss by evaporation and reduces pool chemical use by up to 50%, according to its manufacturers.
  • Elite PVC Security Cover from Elite Pool Covers is made from heavy-duty PVC which is rolled out between tracks on the side of the swimming pool to prevent water evaporation and provide extra security for the pool.
  • Elite Rigid automatic pool cover, also from Elite Pool Covers, an automatic rigid blanket, is a slat cover that rolls out onto your pool to stop water from evaporating. The slats are manufactured from heavy-duty, UV-resistant materials, designed to withstand the harsh climate and also allow a longer swimming season through solar heating.
  • MacBall Heatsaver 8 thermal insulating pool blanket from Ian Coombes Australia is a 3 mm polyethlene foam sandwiched between top and bottom layers of woven polyethylene which not only helps heat the water, it also provides a barrier to evaporation and water loss.
  • Poolmaster from Hydrosmart International is a water treatment system fitted to the return line in a swimming pool. It allows for pH balancing in pool water without the overuse of chemicals, thus saving water lost in backwashing. Using resonance frequencies it breaks down the bonding of particles without any disruption to the flow.

Apart from seeing the Smart WaterMark on more products in the marketplace, the mark is being strongly supported by water authorities around Australia on their websites, as well as the mark’s own sites for consumers (www.smartwatermark.org) and industry (www.smartwatermark.info).

The independence of the Smart WaterMark is also being recognised by state government authorities which are requiring or recommending products to have Smart WaterMark approval to qualify for use or rebate.

The Smart WaterMark was established by the Water Services Association of Australia, Irrigation Australia, Nursery & Garden Industry Australia and the Australian Water Association with funding from the Australian Government's Water Smart Australia program through the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.

Smart WaterMark has the backing of the Australian government with funding through the Water Smart Australia Program. The scheme is also written into the National Water Initiative alongside its indoor sister program, Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS).

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