Picture of Hack a Toilet for free water.
This Instructable is a step by step description of the process of adding a sink to the top of a toilet allowing the use of the clean water before it goes into the bowl.

Water is a precious resource and our everyday lives are immersed in consuming it. The average toilet uses excessive amounts of water. This hack allows you to minimize some of that water consumption.
I wanted this instructable to be simple enough that anyone could build it with basic tools and materials. I also tried to be material conscious with this project in that: many of the materials are recycled from other things (sheet wood and copper tubing) or second hand (metal bowl), and that it is put together using screws and friction fittings so when the sink has finished serving its purpose it can easily be taken apart and the parts can be recycled.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

9inchx20inch piece of sheet wood
Small plastic funnel
Copper tubing half inch outside diameter
Metal bowl approximately 8 inch diameter
4 feet of Vinyl tubing 1/8 inch inside diameter
4 "L" brackets and small wood screws
Scrap paper
Silicone latex caulking glue
Steel binding wire

Hand drill
Jig saw
1/2inch spade drill bit
1/8inch drill bit
Center punch
Hole saw 3 inch
Exacto knife
TravisL717 days ago
Why has no one pointed out that, unless someone else is paying your water bill, there is nothing free about it?

Instead of having to flush the toilet to use it, why not make a water switch that pushes down on the valve to tun it on anytime? You also don't need to worry about where the drain is. The bowl drain can fill up the water tank to the overflow if the level is set lower.

In the picture below the Phillips screw top can be pressed down to run the water. A wooden cam knob could hold it down when turned any time. Not just when flushed, thus saving more water if the tank level is lower than the overflow. Then you are actually using the water twice, not saving any. Any water going into the overflow is not actually saved either.


Even simpler, adjust the float so it doesn't fill the tank completely after flushing. The extra volume freed up can handle the drainage from the sink.

Makes sense! Great idea.
diy_bloke2 months ago

another solution that I have seen with urinals is that the drainpipe of the basin, immediately streams into the urinal to flush it

This is a great Idea but I would consider using higher grade wood that has been sealed with polyurethane or another water resistant coating. With the sink and the toilet bowl on and under the wood, it's eventually going to get wet. It won't take long for it to start to separate, mold and/or hold in bacteria.

Madren6 months ago
Honda Enoch2 years ago
Ok, here are a few comments and questions I have.

1) What if you only need to wash your hands, like before eating. Flushing to activate the "sink" would be wasting more water then your saving.

2) We conserve water by following the "if it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down" rule. The toilet is only flushed 2-3 times a day rather then after every use. No it does not stink.

Just some thoughts.
I would just use hand sanitizer if just needing clean hands. I would also pee outdoors if conserving that much water.

Yes it does stink as you get older but so what . good saying

Actually I thought about this as well and I figured out that you could do two things to solve this problem:

1) Carefully notch the lid and run the faucet hose to a tee attached to the tank inlet hose.

2) Instead of using a simple pipe install one of the levered water dispensers you see on kitchen sinks. The kind that have a definitive on and off not just a momentary press.

Doing these things in addition the to sink install would give you a sink you could use all the time. For extra points notch and carefully drill the original ceramic lid for a true bathroom look. (The basic idea behind drilling ceramics: http://ds5.org/4039 )

Failing that they now sell these: http://sinkpositive.com/web/

But where's the fun in that! ;-)
Jails have been doing this for years. We did some construction work for the jail here. The top is a water fountain so you can drink, It flows into the sink on top the "tank". When you flush, it activates that as well to flush and fill the "tank".

This is a good way to help save water. Great project.

Nice idea. FYI, in the plumbing and green building trades, this is referred to as grey water. Some buildings collect drain water from sinks in big tanks and after filtering it a bit, use that as the water to flush the toilets or for irrigation.

Akin Yildiz7 months ago

so exciting to see how many people have copied your work and all the comments. this is such a cool hack.! thanks for sharing

Yong20107 months ago

Whoo Aha~!

What a genius!

This is that I have been looking for.

Thanks for the idea.

ironsmiter8 months ago
Since Hackaday revived this 'ible, I thought it a good time to revisit, reread, and comment.

If renovating a bathroom, or designing a new one, my main complaint about this idea could be easily solved. That is, you have to straddle the bowl to use it! In building new/remodeling you could have the toilet rotated 90 degrees, on a kneewall and be able to stand on the side of, or behind the tank. Much closer to the sink portion.

There aee a few comments about wasred water and...well, top mount dual flush valves would mitigate that, AND make JUST washing your hands 'waste' less water without having to rig a seperate faucet valve.
Having grey water sitting in the tank may not be the best for the plumbing parts, so occasionally dosing with bleach or other scum remover will be required, and keep an eye on the plastic and rubber parts for leaks; especially the rubber flapper.
Flash6710 months ago
I'm curious, can you drink the water?
AllenS1 Flash679 months ago

Technically, yes. The water that goes into the back tank of a toilet comes from the same place water at the sink comes from.

I haven't looked at the materials list close enough to see if there wouldn't be any contaminants from that, though...

John Nosh1 year ago

This is such a nice post thank you !!

I installed a french suspended model "WiCi" from www.toilet-with-sink.com last year. Quite expensive but works fine. So for my other toilet I will try to build one by myself like you explain !

etcmn1 year ago

Thanks. I'd seen these and figured I could build one for a fraction what they cost. Always nice to find someone has saved me time by having done the design work for me. :)

P-FANTASTIC made it!1 year ago

Thanks for the awesome idea, man! My bathroom doesn't have a sink, but with your instructions, I was able to make one.

thessejway1 year ago
Curious about the overflow idea.
If you want to save water use wouldn't the extra... soapy water go back into the tank. Are you actually saving water or simply making use of the water source. If you don't have a sink this is great. I wonder if it is possible to reuse the "grey" water for the next flush?
Excellent instructable! Off the shelf alternatives are so much more expensive (e.g. SinkPositive or the Caroma 305)... so followed this general DIY with a few adjustments and only spending $15 in basic parts and made the version shown in photo. Used a temporary plastic cover, as shown, but will likely drill directly into the original porcelain lid to make it look nicer. Thanks so much to gregorylavoie!
Just what I needed. Now let's see if I can convince my ever cautious DH. Thanks for sharing.
rokclmb3 years ago
Sorry if this has been said already but I didn't read through all the comments. This is a great idea that is very common in Japan. Many toilets have lids that have built in sinks. It is a great way to have a toilet and sink in a small room.
Our prison systems have toilet /sink combo units made from one piece stamped stainless steel, but they share the same drain ,the sink water does not help fill the toilet tank.as there is no tank to fill ,it uses a flush valve like your typical wall urinal.
Is this like the japan units?
Since it seems no one answered your question. In Japan the toilet/sink combo has been around since the 1960s and mainly found in public toilets. The water is used to rinse the hands and fill up the tank. Toilets without tanks are that way simply because they are in areas where the water comes in fast enough to create a flush. Most residential water supply lines don't allow water to enter a toilet fast enough to trigger the siphon effect, so the tank provides a solution. When a toilet is flushed, the water held in the tank cascades down with enough force to activate the siphon. Without that gallon or so of water pouring into the bowl all at once, the water would simply spill over into the siphon tube and remain more or less level without creating an actual flush.

I think they also set up prisons this way, with enough water power as to not need a tank, so prisoners can't hide things in the tanks.. or maybe make toilet tank wine.. haha!
Honda Enoch2 years ago
fill the pipe with sand. pack it down, fill again, keep doing this till you can not pack it any more. plug the ends and bend with ease.
EtCetera1123 years ago
Toilet water
EtCetera1123 years ago
Toilet water
My attempt at a retro fit cisten sink, mail order for UK fittings


95 % reclaimed materials, water saving, hygienic etc
First  I'd like to say that the idea here is one of the best, dare i say simply brilliant, ideas to innovate the toilet in years. That said, I think that the comments left in this posting prove full circle the errant views and attitudes so many of us have when it comes to anything "green".
 To all the plumbers that found problems with the design... dont  attack the poster for the flaws you find post solutions, if your licence is worth the paper it was printed on then you should have the knowledge to help himm fix the problem if not please seek employment at McDonalds.
 To the Americans who say "oh well water issues are a third world country problem" take another look at the globe buddy this is the same world the same planet and America is a new country when people have been here as long as they have been in Africa we'll have the same problems
 And the scientists the US goverment pay to be smart are too busy determining that santas reindeer were female and creating super computers thats only purpose is to test the theroys of Newton and Einstien.
 We need to get together and get it together, adress the problem and and make sure the money goes to the right places   
Im an american, i didnt see anyone here ( american or otherwise ) say that water was a third world problem. As for the critics, i think that instructables welcomes critcism when it helps to solve problems. Many of these instructables are " in the works " and are open to improvement, such is life in general.
To attack people as you have is of no help at all. Now ,go to your room til you can play well with the other children. ( of course that last part was a little brevity to lighten the mood ) Great ible-- i recently saw a toilet that used the water and the pressure of it comming into the tank to forse the water and waste down the sewer line--ingenious!!
Big thumbs up from me.
great idea! will do this at my home :)
I think this is super, you don't have to touch the faucet before and after washing like with a standard sink (the fatal flaw in no touch soap dispensers). Better yet, if the sink begins to run when you flush, there is no excuse not to wash. (I have a family member whose excuse is "I don't pee on my hands." As if that was all there was to that.)

I can't do this to my john now (I rent), but I will do this and some other grey water utilizing hacks as soon as I buy my own place. The main hack I had already planned was to divert waste water from the washing machine to an outdoor cistern for use in the garden. All that will take is to extend and reroute the the drain hose.
I am currently redirecting the waste water from my washing machine into the toilet, so we are no longer using any excess water to flush (water is precious in Israel). Let me tell you: the water that comes out of the washing machine is nasty. It junks up the inside of the tank and smells worse that the stuff we are flushing down.
Try filtering the water before using it to flush the toilet. That will help keep the pipes, tank, bowl and everything else clean. It will not smell.

Thanks, bennelson, that is a great setup that you have. It is impractical in our current apartment, but I will remember that for our next place! Could you mention on that page a bit more about the soap that you use. I saw mention of it being locally-made and eco-friendly in the comments, but more information would be great.

Thank you!
The idea behind this is that you can do it to any toilet without messing up the original hardware. You just have to find a place to store the tank cover, such as under the sink, till you are ready to move out. Then simply remove the made top, reattach the original rubber tube, and put the original cover back on. Then you can use it at your new place with a little tweaking. Also, grey water from a washing machine would contain any soaps/detergents you used to wash them with. Unless you are using some super organic stuff that is tested plant safe I would not water anything with it. Talk about a quick way to kill your landscaping. = )
Its actually easy to buy detergent that wont hurt your plants, since they all have to be biodegradable. I would also be using bio-filtration, growing native duckweeed which can quickly turn the murkiest water clear while generating compostable biomass. And I'm not the only one to consider this basic idea, it was covered on the most recent episode of Ask This Old House. I can't find a link to view it online yet, but PBS always reruns everything. I'm sure anyone interested can find episode 17 of season 10 in local listings pretty soon.

links: http://video.pbs.org/program/old-house/

They also show a manufactured version of the toilet hack so you can wimp out and buy one. I'm sure it works fine, but its not as cool as handmade.
wisellers3 years ago
Just to say that I was visiting a friend in Japan and they had one of these as a regular, commercially built item. It did save water but I'm sure it was the space saving that was more important. The room the toilet was in was tiny and there would have been no room for a wash basin. The lid to the cistern was a regular ceramic one moulded to contain the bowl and the filler was a chrome pipe just like your copper one. My rather hazy memory was that the cistern was corner mounted which would give it a little more depth so the bowl could be a little larger but I could be wrong about that. It's a really neat idea. I'd guess the one I saw was at least 20 years old so I'm not sure if someone still makes them though.
palika603 years ago
Hello, I'm Paul from Hungary, this is my home made greywater system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utan3QT3IkE
TT-MON!4 years ago
could you not connect the line to your existing bathroom sink and connect the drain to the toilet tank somehow? Just brainstorming. It would be awkward to stradle the bowl to wash your hands....
I did this very thing. I disconnected my drain from my sink and connected a tube which ran directly into the commode tank. It worked well but didn't look pretty. But I ran into a problem after about a month the tubing and my tank begin to grow this nasty black mold that reproduced so quickly that I just disassembled the whole thing. Has anyone else had this problem with reusing greywater? Maybe I just don't flush enough. I usually let yellow mellow, but if I flush more often to avoid this problem I end up using more water than I would've anyway.
Check to see if you're a diabetic... Black mold in the commode is a sign of high blood sugar.
Also a Licensed Master Plumber, here... I've wondered this before. There used to be the toilet with the tank up high (the old chain-pull type)... I think this same sort of connection could be used in place of a toilet tank. The brass compression fitting for attaching a toilet "flush valve" could possibly be adapted with a slip joint fitting, to be plumbed into the drain of the lavatory sink. This way, after you conduct business, you wash your hands, and the water (provided you run at least 1.6 Gal US) flushes the toilet. The connection from the drain to the toilet is where the airgap is... so theres no worry about a vacuum of noxious gasses, etc. It won't create a vacuum and suck toilet water and methane up into the house.
Worthy of mention would be to say that you wouldn't have the problem of standing over the toilet to wash. Also... for a... (shall we say:) "larger" person... having the tank out of the way would allow for more space. Also, you wouldn't have any problems of storing the water. I might suggest, however, that you may want to remove the water flow restrictor from the faucet... so this would allow more water to come forth.
JKPieGuy3 years ago
This is a neat idea. I mean I wouldn't do this in my home but this would be a great idea for like a camp site, especially a Boy Scout camp and if you've ever been in Boy Scouts you know what I mean.
breeanna5 years ago
You inspired me.  Thanks.
very nice looking! I like the soap dispenser built in too. I am assuming you removed the internal valve on the faucet though so the water would run freely/ Otherwise if the faucet valve was closed and you flushed your connection could spring a inside the tank, simply not refill it, so there would be no flush next time you needed it. Or do you have some sort of pressure sensitive automatic valve in the toilet that allows the water to flow into the tank if the valve on the faucet is closed? Just curious. Great looking final product though.
You should do a instructable for this :) very nice.
Very nice and well constructed.
Yes..I was trying to think of a way to make a replacement top shaped and fired to fit the tank with necessary holes for the goose neck. I would like to know what the second knob is and how its attached.
The second "knob" appears to be an under counter soap dispenser... this one would be called an "in toilet" soap dispenser though considering its location.. brilliant idea but would be a pain in the neck to refill considering the additional weight of the toilet lid and additional lines running in it lol...

For Ideas:
You're right. It is a soap dispenser, but it isn't hard to refill since the top pulls out and you just pour new soap in. I had to replace the bottle with a slightly smaller one to make it fit in the tank without interfering with the flushing mechanism. I think I cleaned out a hairspray bottle and used it since it was nice and narrow.

When my brother and I build his toilet sink I plan to make an instructable for it, but I think we might be making it directly on the existing tank lid, rather than pouring a concrete one. I may also try making one out of a slab (granite, slate...) and one with mosaic tile. Right now though, I have too many other projects going. One of these days...
Clever... I was under the impression that the dispenser was permanently mounted and then the lid would have to be removed for access... I will for sure be implementing this detail into my own project as that small issue had me on the fence. I might have to finally crack down and make an instructable for mine as well I think... I finally have a pretty decent camera and intend to take a mold from my current lid out of sculpie and then turn it into a mold which can be poured with ceramics. I actually have been quite successful with ceramics myself and have a few pieces around the house that I have done with stock molds but haven't taken on the task of pouring a large one. Fortunately I have access to a ceramics shop were we have full sized kilns and access to pretty much any ceramics glaze that you could dream of so I'm lucky in that regard. If it works out well I might be inclined to pour for a few people on the side.
This is very nice. I was thinking of doing something similar. What type of fitting did you use to connect the water supply to the the faucet?
The cold water faucet is set up to use a compression fitting with a small rubber tube as a hose, such as you might use to connect to a water filter. I just bought some clear tubing at the Depot (the same stuff gregorylavoie used to run up through his copper tube faucet) and connected it using the compression fitting that came with the faucet. If you were trying to use a standard faucet you would need to do some jury-rigging. The basin is just a bowl I bought at Target. I used a diamond bit to drill it, and then some diamond grinding bits on my dremel to carve out around the hole so the drain piece would fit flush. The toilette top itself is poured concrete to match our counter-tops.
More photos please...
Could you create an instructable? I like your elegant version.
I might be making one for my brother's new house. I'll try to put together an instructable then.
 How lovely!  Great job!
This is ingenious.
If you could 1)find some way to catch the splash from your hands and 2)get past the ignorant people that don't know that the water going into their toilet is the same water going into their kitchen sink, you could market this (with a slightly niced material than particle board).
Dimitrios4 years ago
Great idea. My question would be, would you have to adjust the float to let's say half tank, and any additional water comes from the sink? What if there is not enough water coming from the sink (not much being used) adjust float so there is just enough to flush? thanks!
When you flush water flows through the float valve, through the tap, into the sink and down into the cistern ready for the next flush.
No adjusting, no "additional" water.

You just flush and wash your hands with the clean water (assuming you're not on a system that flushes using grey water) as it is on its way to the cistern.
not trying to be a nay sayer, but I wouldn't drink that water, a lot of times to save money (newer built houses) have secondary water running to the toilet (i.e. water that goes down your sink) because your toilet water doesn't need to be clean because you're not drinking from it. So I personally wouldn't suggest this.
Really good idea, especially considering how we usually take less time to wash our hands than the toilet finish filling the tank.
jj.inc4 years ago
I was sitting here trying to figure out how this fills the tank, I thought it would just dump all the water into the bowl then I saw this for like the fifth time and was like duh. The thing has two water outputs, one for the bowl, and one for the tank. Yay, I wan't to make one.
mrbiff4 years ago
This is great. They've had toilets like this in Japan for years. It makes so much sense. I've always wanted one and now I can make my own. great job!
haakon.k4 years ago
Holy cow, that's freaking brilliant!
Yes, yes it is ... esp for my future earthship! ;D
lburrow4 years ago
I'm wondering how much soap scum builds up inside the tank...
djenjen lburrow4 years ago
How much soap do you need?

The average humanoid needs less than a dime's worth of liquid and even less with bar soap. Water itself has cleansing beneficial bacteria and it's often chlorinated anyway. The uggy parts of your hands are really the nails so if you're thorough with the nails then the bulk of the 'germs' are eradicated during a proper wash.

So, a monthly wipe down of the inside of the tank (when emptied and water is temporarily shut off from it) with bleach or baking soda (or some other green cleaner) should suffice.

Curious tho... what are the effects on keeping a large salt tablet in the tank? That could keep the water highly alkaline so that little mildew build up occurs. But would the salt build up in the water lines?

Also, how to flush the water lines. A nice long soak of bleach or vinegar in the tank before flushing once a month should suffice in de-gunking them, yes?

Cpt. Caleb4 years ago
i was admittedly skeptical at just reading the title, but this is incredible. It could be a total space saver for small bathrooms, i once saw one like it only underneath the sink it was just a "waterfall-style urinal."
Again, really ingenius!

supra97106 years ago
removing the "supply line" from the toilet in this example is dangerous the tube keeps the trap in the toilet from siphoning dry after the flush, preventing (methane, a poisonious gas and hydrogen sulfide, a deadly gas) from entering the home from the sewer system. unfortunately a hotel in texas in the late 60's suffered 68 or so deaths overnight due to improperly functioning refill tubes on the toilets. i am also a licensed plumber and seen results of this type of malfuntion you would be purposly causing by using this idiodic hack. they put that tube on the toilet for a reason. think about this before attempting.
So from a plumber's point of view, how would one be able to work around this problem? I like this idea and would like to make something similar in my own home, but I don't like the idea of poisoning everyone in my home including myself.
theres not really ne way in this situation sometimes things are just best left alone, now if you can ensure that enough water is getting back into the overflow tube you would probably be okay, but theres not really any way to ensure that due to the concealment of the waterways in the toilet.
tonyi supra97105 years ago
Hi Supra, i total understand your concerns and are worth pointing out ... but your being a total job's worth, especially the way you refer to it as "idiotic hack".

Many, many countries don't have a "refill tubes" on the toilet cisterns and they don't have any concerns about it. If it were a real public safety issue they would all have a refill tube fitted.
supra9710 tonyi5 years ago
cisterns do not operate the same way as toilets designed in the united states, they also have trap seals to keep gasses out of them, i have lived in foriegn countries excuse me for having a little concern but do what you wish in your quest to alter the design of  something without completely understanding the ramifications of your actions
A big part of the community of this website is very much to play with the things we don't fully understand knowing that we have the backing and assistance from the community to help us make things work correctly and safely. This community thrives on the idea that knowledge isn't supposed to be held by anyone group of people solely by themselves and that there is nothing that imbues a person by their title with some secret license to information only they can hold. While you may be a licensed plumber, there is absolutely nothing constructive about your criticism. It is of course little surprise that you offer up your criticism without ever publishing anything on this site of your own, nor giving back to it by supporting it with a real membership. From your followups you are clearly knowledgeable, I challenge you to provide the site with something more than " omgz0rs your idiotic hack is going to kill the whole wolrdz!"
Perhaps an instructable on "How to be a troll on the interwebz" would be a good start.
hey supra9710, just a Q about the gas quote are you reffering to the S-bend or the water supply in the cistern? is the water out of the tap to cistern not the same as any other tap in my house (drinkable)...im interested in this but would like to find a halfway point between
Did you even look through the instructable, he has a funnel that drains the water back into the overflow.  So this hack is awesome Maybe use chrome faucet and stainless steel and this could possibly be marketable. Add a thermostatic control valve and have warm water instead of cold water.  And maybe even make it where it is a little easier to use.  And since your using the overflow to drain then you could actually had a little lever to activate the water if you need a little more to wash with. 
P.S. I'm a Licensed Master Plumber.
I'm picking this up after hacking a completely different system (a modern Geberit in-wall system).
As far as I learned the siphoning dry can occur from a vacuum forming due to a large mass of water passing. This is avoided by having a pipe with a connection to open air in the pipe system behind the toilet, after the siphon.
Is this "air pipe" what you mean with the "supply line"? Is that built in, in American toilets?
Of course the completely separate"air pipe" course this remains untouched in "Geberit in-wall" hack.
The water coming from the valve, normally flowing down free in the reservoir (not in the overflow tube) is lead around into a sink and runs directly back into the reservoir to fulfil it's original function.
Or am I missing something?
reddevved4 years ago
This saves time too!
zack attack4 years ago
( reads title, seas picture ) "I think I'll pass..."
Jollyrgr8 years ago
This is so PRISON!

A toilet uses about 3 gallons per flush. Washing your hands less than one gallon. City water costs about $1.50 per 1000 gallons; or $0.0015 per gallon. This translates to 0.45 CENTS per flush. NOTE: THIS IS NOT 0.45 DOLLARS but less than HALF A CENT PER FLUSH!

Build one if you must, but this is SO not needed.

(Reference: http://www.irwd.com/WaterEducation/story_of_water/html/costs.htm )
lets work this out, say you flush your toilet 10 times a day (its probably more in real life)

10 x 365 = 3650

3650 x 0.45 = 1642.5 cents

or $16.43 a year.

so, basically you pay for the materials in one year. for an energy saving device that is a great payback time
Actually it will save you more than that.
Places I lived so far charged you per gallons of water used.
Also according to gallons of water used they charged for the sewer use too.
And what ever you save on water consumption and sewer use you will save on sales taxes also.
Indirectly you may save on property taxes by avoiding for the city to have to build new water plants and sewer plants and for conserving energies and water.

So 1 gallon per hand wash saved could lead to more saving than what you directly see.

But saving well over 3,000 gallon of water per household is the biggest savings from them all especially in areas that have drouths.
Excellent response to the naysayer. I actually pay $3.04 per 1000 gallons so the savings for me would be closer to $33 a year. A 6 month payback time.
More important than the payback (let's assume you go all-out and build a nice sink next to the toilet that uses this method for drainage.) There's still that much less water going down the drain. Using the 1 gallon per hand washing, assuming you wash your hands an average of 5 times a day, that's 1,825 gallons of water used per year (roughly a 10' by 10' by 3' deep kid's pool) PER PERSON. All of this water will be flushed into your septic system in the best case scenario, but in most cases, will be flushed into the city's waste water supply which will require that it be chemically treated and recycled.

A project like this is flat-out "good" for everyone involved. So what if it only saves you a few pennies? Is it HURTING anyone to do this? No. It is, however, making a fairly significant difference in the long-run. Can you imagine if every single person in a city reduced their water usage per year by 1,825 gallons? How is this not a requirement in cities that often have summer water usage restrictions?
It's not about the money it's about using less water and therefore using less energy. Brillant idea I was thinking of doing a garden but this is a good idea too!
 Well said.
jawga Jollyrgr7 years ago
One problem-O to properly wash your hands you must use hot water. Sorry but you just wont kill that Shigella, e. Coli and other stuff if you don't use hot water. This is a fact see ServSafe.com , the FDA Food Code and you local health dept for details. Great idea though if you are building you house or adding a bath it could be done. Just pipe hot water thru a mixing valve of cold and fill you potty from that and you will be all set. Jawga
greggspen jawga5 years ago
Your unlikely to kill shigella or ecoli at any temperature you can hold your hands under. E coli - 75 degrees celcius for 15 seconds. thats what antibacterial soap is for.
also a great idea if you live in Australia, and for half of the year you get hot water coming out of the cold taps for the first couple of litres!
mshouppe jawga7 years ago
You don't have to use hot water when you wash your hands. 30 seconds of running water with some type of soap is necessary. I checked my local health department (the hospital I work at).
In my experience, hot water is mainly good for getting gooey or baked on things to dissolve off of dirty dishes and the like. If anyone is having this problem on their hands while using the biffy though, they may need some lessons.
Seconded. There is no way to wash your hands with water hot enough to kill germs. In fact, hot water might even help the little buggers out. A warm, wet germ is a happy germ.
ledzep567 jawga7 years ago
thats why you use anti-bacterial soap...
Antibacterial soap is the worst thing for your health and the worst thing for the environment. Plain soap like a hundred years ago is just fine if you lather it up for a full minute and rinse off. And, yes hot water is preferable, but don't put that into the toilet tank or bowl as the sudden temp change could crack the fixture.
nachobobs jawga7 years ago
E Coli and Staph bacteria are only harmed when they hit at least 63 degrees Celius. (even boiling for an hour might not kill 100% of bacteria) If you washed your hands in this temperature water I'm sure you would know about when they turn bright red and feel like they are burning. As long as you use soap and clean water, your hands will be clean.
Uru Wolf jawga7 years ago
lol, you could allways add a heater coil to the pipe to warm the water as it rises. You could make it solar powered to save energy -_
Maybe when the author said "Motivation Water is a precious resource..." he wasn't talking about money dude. By the way, what means "This is so PRISON! ?" Sorry I don´t have a tv so I´m outdated from Mtv´s cool suburbia slang.
Toilets in prison/jails are part sink, part toilet. The top of prison toilets are sinks. See this:
A suicide resistant toilet, gotta get me one of those
Not sure about where you live, but the rates you cite are VERY low compared to the rates in Seattle. The Winter water rate in Seattle is $2.53/100 Cubic feet (~7.5 gallons). On top of that, we pay $7.45/100 CF for wastewater (Sewer), which is calculated as 100% of you water usage in the Winter. Summer water rates are even higher. So the effective water rate in Seattle is 1.36 cents per gallon or more.

This project probably cost $50. At Seattle rates, assuming a family of four who each use the toilet 3 times a day (probably a low estimate I'd guess), and assuming 1 gallon of water used per handwashing, you'll pay for such a system in about 10 months.

Regardless, the reason to use a system like this isn't to save money, it's to conserve water. The reason that Wastewater is so expensive in Seattle is that we've outgrown our wastewater treatment capabilities, so we're having to spend millions of dollars on a new wastewater treatment plant. By washing your hands with water that would otherwise be 'wasted' you can help delay such a plant being needed in your area.

(Reference: http://cityofseattle.gov/html/CITIZEN/utility.htm)
ac7ss gnoodles5 years ago
100 CF is 748 gallons. your math is off by 2 decimal points. $0.014 per gallon.
gnoodles ac7ss5 years ago
Yes, as I pointed out two minutes after the original post back in 2007. It was actually a typo, not a math error. Too many decimal points in the post, so I inadvertently through in another without noticing. Unfortunately, the correction has long ago been pushed down by comments responding to the initial post so it's easy to miss.
I live in the Seattle area also. I just moved from Queen Anne and Bell Town before that. I never conserved water and I never paid what you would have called an effective rate of 1.36 per gallon. Considering I can buy a purified gallon of water at Fred Meyer for 99 cents your statement sounds quite ridiculous.
1.36 cents, not 1.36 dollars. In other words less than two cents, but more than one cent.
Umm... I assume that you didn't see my follow up clarifying that 100 CF is 750 gallons, not 7.5, right? Scroll down a bit. If you still think it's ridiculous, go here to see Seattle's residential water rates, and go here to see the wastewater rates. You'll note that with the exception of that typo, the rates are exactly what I stated, and if you do the math, the rate per gallon is $.0136, exactly as I stated.
Oops... To clarify, $2.53 is the price for 750 gallons (748.051945, technically), not 7.5.
Using your 1.36 cents per gallon means a flush costs you 4 cents per flush; almost ten times my rate. Let's say a very good hand washing uses a gallon of water. If you were to save that 1.36 cents per hand washing and invest the $50 to make this, it works out to be 3676 flush/handwashings before you see a savings. I'm not making a judgement here, just running some numbers.
jollyrgr, i feel like you're being very negative, and for no reason. if you do your research (just take *one* class on environmental science and you'll quickly see that dwindling water supplies are one of the biggest environmental disasters that the world as a whole faces), you'll realize that water usage isn't something to be flippant about. by conserving water, you're essentially doing charity work for the rest of the world. so saying you can afford not to do this is irrelevant. i can afford not to volunteer tutoring at-risk youth, can't i? but our planet can't afford for its citizens to forget about being socially and environmentally conscious. so we should all do what we can, and it's totally bogus to criticize anyone who's doing their small part.
This is exactly where I stand on this issue. Who cares if it costs $50 to make this? That's $50 out of my pocket to save a few thousand gallons of water a year. Who cares if it takes 480 years to recoup the piddly $50 it cost to do this, I'm still SAVING A FEW THOUSAND GALLONS OF WATER A YEAR! Why would anyone actively discourage someone from doing something that in the long run is better for the environment?

A small town has 20,000 citizens. If each citizen did this (and not every citizen has their own bathroom, so the cost would be a fraction of that) and yes, I know I'm dreaming, but let's pretend... If each citizen did this in a small town, and we assume an average of 2,000 gallons saved per year per citizen (I have my own ideas how to stretch this further, but I'll refrain for now) that's a total of 40,000,000 gallons of water that does NOT NEED TO BE CHEMICALLY TREATED for every YEAR this town does this. That's as much water as is in a small lake, or a huge pond. EVERY... YEAR... For one... small... town...

How can anyone possibly argue "oh well, water's cheap." Just how good can it possibly be for the environment to chemically treat a small lake every year? I may even be lazy enough that I won't do this myself, but I absolutely would never try to discourage someone from it. If they made it a legal requirement, then I would happily oblige despite my laziness.

A brilliant idea this one: Let's take those figures and apply it to a couple living in an apartment: On average I use the toilet twice a day, that would be 1838 flushes or (/365) around 5 years to have my return. Add another person (my wife) and occasional use by guests and you're looking at a little over 2 years for your return. Reduce accordingly if you have other people living with you. Now, imagine if this $50 is invested on a toilet in your workplace.
3676 flushings is about right. But like I said, there are reasons other then the purely economic why this sort of a system is a good thing. Conserving water is a good thing in it's own right. This water is basically wasted. By spending a few bucks to retrrofit such a system on your toilet, you do one little bit to help the environment, help save tax payers money, and given enough time, save yourself some money as well.
To re-iterate, this is a method of washing your hands using water that would otherwise be wastewater anyway. Wash your hands and let that water be re-0used to flush your bodily waste, and you technically save water, since you are effectively recycling that amount of water. The typical toilet tank consumes 3 gallons per flush, and the refill cycle to the bowl adds another gallon or so to that. The typical hand-washing session uses more than 2 gallons of water, so recycling the handwash-water to be used to flush your "deposit" does, in fact, save water..... However the best way to save water is in the timeless advice of a former seattle mayor who said the immortal words, "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down"...No ecological disaster was prevented by not flushing on every use, since more than 60% of usage is "#1".... This instructable is a great way to make dual-use from a single-use device, but simply-put, to save water, don't flush when all you have to contribute is a mere sprinkle that could barely put out a match-flame....Oddly enough this also makes the bowl easier to clean due to the resultant alkali pH in the bowl. I live in seattle and even though I have unlimited water use, I flush only when needed to save water. This discipline comes from being a Hawaii ex-pat, where water is ironically far cheaper ($0.009 a gallon) last I checked... Also remember that wastewater treatment plants may return more than 90% of the water back, but the refining process consumes energy, which is part of your "co² footprint", hence making this method of recycling worthy for the environment either way you look at it.
maka Prometheus8 years ago
the "if it's yellow" rule is in effect at my house. we go a step further than this in recycling water, though...we have the valve for the water inlet to the toilet turned off, and we keep the plug in the bathtub drain when we shower in the morning, and then with a pitcher, we use that water to fill the toilet tank, which causes the toilet to flush. it's a little clumsy for folks to get used to at first, but it certainly reduces the amount of water we use.
gregorylavoie (author)  maka8 years ago
I live in the land of sun and fun and never flush for number one
What if you're like me, and suffer from especially smelly pee? (When asparagus is in season, the ol' "lemonade" has an unbearable stank.) Actually, I do have a water saving solution for this, called "pissin' in the sink". Washing your hands afterwards, (I am not a complete barbarian) puts enough water down the drain to flush the pee out of the p trap, or s bend, or whatever the hell that thing under the sink is that holds some water in it, to deny the entry of deadly poo gas from the sewer, into your happy home. btw # 1 I wouldn't do this in other people's houses btw # 2 I am not posting drunk
I skip that whole sewer bit and go onsies in the flowerbeds, my mum still wonders why one end was always alive even when she forgot about watering, truth is I can hit the bed from my little window roof... Btw I am drunk while doing this mostly but it has been proven as a way of saving the plants...
HeHeHe. I do that too. Doesn't work too well in an apartment though. I could pee in the potted plants, but you can get problems with buildup of urine salts. Also, wifey might object to such practice.(She didn't much like it when the cats was at that...) I find that the best place to have a slash, is on the compost pile. Helps with the compostification and provides valuable nutrimentaries. btw # 1347 I am only moderately high at present, will only repeat "the cats was at that" a few more times, before seeking other amusement...
Ah try the cats was at thats the little 's' helps... Maybe off the balcony? if there are lots of window plants you could alternate them... people will be grateful of the great urine giver above, the ones above will be mildy grateful of the great urine giver from below...
Nuts! Don't got no balcony! I do live downtown, and could pee out the window on those who make rowdy at 2 A.M. on the sidewalk below said window, usually on days when I have to go to work, and then I'll be all gripey, not having had enough beauty sleep, then wifey will criticise when I get home, then... what was I talking about?
Peeing offa stuff... You could rig up a sorta navy shower system with a bucket just below the window, keep going in there until they make rowdy, pull the chain and listen...
I like the cut of your jib, Admiral... We did, on one occasion, dump a glass of water on some. My, but they did bleat at that. I'd hate to think of the splutter that a bucket of skanky old piss would cause...
I reckon by that point they'd just go away. There's only so far before they give in and go home or more likely a park bench.
incorrigible packrat, this is an awesome idea. i like your spirit. and if this is relatively easy for folks to do (that is, if you're a boy), i think we should consider this a first alternative, as this can use less total water than a toilet flush (assuming you don't use tons of soap and spend a long time washing your hands).
Here's a little joke I thought might be vaguely relevant. A man is eating soup at a restaurant and drops his spoon on the floor. He beckons the waiter over. The waiter notices the dropped spoon and rapidly produces a clean spoon from his back pocket. The man says "Thank You"' in a somewhat faraway and puzzled tone, as he has just noticed a piece of string sticking out of the waiter's pants. He stares for several moments. Waiter: "Something wrong sir?" Man: "No, I was just wondering ..." Waiter: "...about the spoon?" Man: "Well, that too, I suppose" Waiter: "Oh we had this efficiency consultant come in a few months ago. He found that, if a customer dropped their spoon, we waiters would spend up to two minutes going to the kitchen and fetching a fresh spoon. He recommended that all the waiters keep spoons in their back pockets." Man: "That's interesting, but I was really wondering about the string" Waiter: "Oh that, yeah, the same consultant found that the waiters would take up to a minute and a half, washing their hands after ,excuse my language, peeing. So he recommended that we all tie a string around our, excuse my language again, dinks, so that we could fetch them out of our pants. That way we don't touch them, so we don't have to wash our hands. Saves a lot of time, really." Man: "That seems pretty efficient, but how do you get your dinks back in your pants?" Waiter: "Oh, generally we use the spoon!"
this would be helpful in places where you have to haul your own water...
To paraphrase Phineas Phreak (for you younger folk, P. Phreak was a comic book superhero from the 60's) "Water will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no water. International conflicts over water are already a part of recent history. Water is the next oil... look into it just a bit and you will see that fresh water, drinkable water, is being privatised fast, and major corporations are paying insanely small prices to pump the water out from under your feet, depleting your aquifer. In some places it is illegal to use graywater, even treated graywater, or to install a graywater system in your home. If you use a real soap, and not some chemical perfume-y soap substitute, it shouldn't at all harm your toilet to wash your hands in the water. It isn't going to hurt the poop you put in there either. Speaking of which, isn't is strange that two of the most precious things we have, our manure, and our drinking water, are mixed together so that neither one is as valuable before mixing?
"International conflicts over water are already a part of recent history. Water is the next oil... " Only in areas where water is scares, like Africa, Middle East, and the southwest US. Look at all the legal fights that go on in Arizona, farmers (heavy water users) vs. city dwellers getting charged high amounts for water. Even in Michigan (where I live) which is surrounded by fresh water on 3 sides, water is a problem. We get no rain in July and August. This causes major problems with watering crops. Which is why I have a rain barrel. It holds 6 weeks worth of water if I use it carefully.
Oh yeah, nice instructable, very stylish result, kudos for the use of secondhand and recycled parts and for making it easily recycled. And it's pretty.
it prompts people to wash their hands "hey! wow! wtf! the water turned itself on" "i guess i should wash my hands"
craigh Jollyrgr7 years ago
I think you missed the point. It's not about the money. It's about the water.
yeah, but the money savings is a nice side effect. the money savings isnt probably very much, but hey, i could almost see installing this just for the money savings alone.
In countries where water is running out like Mexico. it seems like a good idea, you have to think that this website is visited for not only Americans but the rest of the world.In Guadalajara Jalisco the third largest city in Mexico, when it's dry season, the water service it is cut off for days.I don't think it is about the cost,it is about using water with responsability.Good instructable!!!
boocat Jollyrgr7 years ago
This will get little kids to wash their hands, though. Add a gel soap bar with a plastic toy frog inside it (I get mine from the local health food store.) Kiddies also love to flush because it turns the "sink" on! (Children often forget to flush, you see.) I like this. I told my hubbie that the next toilet we buy is going to be a model with a sink on the tank top.
It is unfortunate in this society that people do not recognize that just because something is inexpensive ... or that the alternative is more costly ... that it's ok not to care about what you use. It is that same mentality I think that keeps people that are "well off" driving hummers because the cost of gas does not matter when it's the "Use" that is what really matters. I love this idea. I think to give it more mass appeal one might need to "pretty it up" and either drill directly through the original lid or go with maybe cabinet grade wood and give it a nice sanding/coating. or even a copper/metal covering?
I think what jolly is trying to say, and stated at the end of his comment, is that for some this is unnecessary, but for the environmentalist that has everything... this is great! for them.
Jollrgr, I understand that it may not make monetary sense but it certainly would save water (I guess you are lucky that you stay in a place where water supply is 24 hours), maybe you need to go to a place where water is supplied for 1-2 hours a day (even if you are willing to pay for it its not available).
I have a couple questions regarding your concern. Where is it that you have indoor toilets and can only get water 1-2 hours a day? Do these locations have Internet access? If they don't have water but do have Internet access, then I believe their priorities are in error. I am not trying to be a smart alek; I'm serious.
johann Jollyrgr8 years ago
Where I live in Mexico part of the year ( Nayarit state) we have water twice a month which fills our cistern. The supply is unreliable and usually non existent in the dry winters. Any gallon of water saved is definitely worth while. Wtaer is a scarce resource in many parts of the world. The concept of piping drinking water to our homes 24 hours per day and using it to water our lawns has become for me a phenominal luxury. Yes internet in our area is also excellent....JOhan
Many parts of central america only have running water for several hours a day. In mountainous regions, the municipal supply is filled by a pump of limited capacity that only runs for a while each day. Sometime, there is an unlimited supply during the times when the pump is on, sometimes not. People fill their home reservoirs when water is available, and use it frugally. Internet requires just requires cables, which are much easier to get over a mountain than water (electrons much lighter than H2O molecules).
+1 from me
jsanghera4 years ago
what about when you takke a dump and water splashes ur arse and/or balls, it will be all like soapy dirty poopy water.....k nevermind
Apollo29474 years ago
FRAUD! The original creator? Bear Grylis.

(Don't worry I'm kidding)
t0annguy3n4 years ago
You inspired me too! :)

I followed the same idea but tried to make it look a little nicer. Got a serving bowl laying around and drilled a hole in it with a diamond bit. The copper pipe I used has a stainless steel coating and can easily be bought at Home Depot in the toilet piping section (is a water supply line pipe, "flexible copper pipe." I bent the pipe by hand little by little, just don't over bend. Drilled through the toiler lid as well lol.

Note: Bowl need to curve down all the way to the drilled hole to prevent water retention. Get a nice diamond bit ($16-24) so you don't spend more money then you have to. Also, submerge the bit in water when drilling the hole and be patient. Have fun guys :)
Really good :)
im gonna do this... does the water come before or after you flushed?
nope post flush.
erajala4 years ago
With a google search of "toilet and sink combination" I found this pre-made toilet lid with sink:
(I'm not endorsing this company/supplier - I know nothing about them.)

I recall seeing toilets topped with sinks used in prison cells on a reality or documentary tv show. I believe that's the same system used here - right? So this isn't an outlandish, crazy, or reckless idea.

The point is, I hope the skeptics will see the benefits. But, with ANY instructable, use your own best judgement and don't install anything you fear may be dangerous OR you don't have the skill to accomplish safely.
dvorask4 years ago
I saw this kind of thing in my house in Japan. The faucet and sink bowl were built right in to the porcelain covers for the toilet tanks.
I like this idea till I could construct something more permanent. I have to sometimes water my garden so the idea of water being precious is even more so when you have so many projects for it. So why use drinking water to flush?
Kintaro Oe4 years ago
Great idea, congratulation.
kricketone4 years ago
nothing free here and this is just a waste of time and meterals
I believe you missed the idea behind the instructable. The water is going to fill the toilet's water tank right after you flush. The flowing water is routed above the tank so when you wash your hands, you are using the water twice. The run off from washing your hands is filling the toilet tank for the next flush.

Instead of using drinking water to fill the toilet tank and more drinking water to wash your hands. You flush water from washing your hands last time. And fill the toilet tank with the water you wash your hands with this time.

It is a simple but effective idea.

The term free water is referring to using the recycled water. You pay for water once instead of twice.
BGreenHVAC4 years ago
I like your concept. It's nice to see people coming up with new ideas. I have seen really complicated grey water systems. I guess my favorite feature is how simple this effective idea is.

Thanks for using your grey matter to utilize grey water.
etw4 years ago
Great idea. I did a somewhat simpler implementation. I connected the drain of my washing sink to the pipe that flushes the toilet (with a 'Y' connector.

So, after any 'number 1' no need to flush the toilet at all, just wash your hands and that suffices.

Now the best solution of course would be to just pee in your sink ;-). But the wife and any visitors might find that a bit odd, let alone that it might be dificult to even get a wife if one has such behavior ;-)
bribo544 years ago
When I first installed one of these years ago, I found my 4 year old daughter going into the bathroom and flushing the toilet for no reason! She just thought is was neat! (I stopped her from doing that.)
ginamarina4 years ago
bundtusmc5 years ago
I was a little skeptical at first but this is brilliant. If you think about it the water you would use to wash your hands is being re-used when you flush the toilet, so technically its free or saved water... I definitely think you are on to something here...
w0rm55 years ago
Adding a sink to the toilet really saves space, but there´s nothing free about the water.
d1ndian5 years ago
greatttttttttttttttttttttt for emergencies.
GsE-Lance5 years ago
Ugh i allmost puked when i saw that water xD
Namaste7 years ago
this is an awesome idea, though I am not sure I would want to drink from it having seen the inside of some tanks :0
The water does not come from the tank, it comes from the fresh water supply valve.
noahh5 years ago
This is brilliant.
jet_ski5 years ago
tonyi5 years ago
Inspirational ! great instructable ! i'm going to do mine now.

To be honest  ... what you did is not the prettiest creation (nothing a lick of paint will not cure) but very functional and practical, very well done.

When i tried to convert my UK400 Fluidmaster flush system it did not have an open top nipple vent port (or whatever you call it) , so i had to restrict the bottom half to force the water to the top half vents, drill open the nipple port and restrict some the top vents to increase water flow to the nipple port, but got there in the end and works great.

check it out the vid on:

and watch out for an entry on this site.

Amir6 years ago
This has got to be one of the best instructables that I've seen. Your idea is brilliant, simple, and noble. Your pictures and instructions are clear. I have such a small bathroom and pulling out the sink is going to give me so much more room. I'll put one together this week. Thanks, Amir
Amir Amir6 years ago
Sometimes I say things like "this week" when I should be saying "this year". I've gotten myself tied up with starting a local lawn service (LawnArchy.com;) and now my other projects are waiting in line. But I'll get it done some day and I'm still really looking forward to it. Thanks again for the awesome instructable, Amir
Cartuner55 Amir6 years ago
how did it go?
msolek6 years ago
great save water - 5 ****
inkblotter6 years ago
Somebody come up with a homemade bidet that uses the water of the toilet! No more dirty bums!
James321456 years ago
Excellent idea! You've inspired me. :)

I live in England, and I have a toilet that uses 9 litres of water per flush, and no, I won't be sticking bottles of water in the cistern to prevent water use as the toilet requires that 9 litres to rinse and flush the bowl clean.

So this will be great to reduce the water, plus the room the toilet is in is very small and has a tiny sink on the side wall by the toilet, which gets in the way.

So I plan to make something like this, but instead of a gold bowl and a copper pipe I'm spicing things up a bit. Starting with having a shallow mosaic pool covering the whole cistern (By pool I mean flat surface with raised up edges, it won't be full of water) and mosaicing down the back wall. Then I plan to connect some copper pipes up agaisnt the back mosaics, and have a water fall down the back and another spout to wash hands in and it all flows down into the cistern again to refill it and flush. :)
(I can't refill the bowl with it as the toilet bowls here don't need refilling as they don't suck the water out, so I'm refilling the cistern with it)

Thanks again for this idea. :)
RaNDoMLeiGH6 years ago
My cats would SO love this! They can go in the toilet, and they love to drink running water from the tap. Maybe it would teach them to flush too!
Decepticon6 years ago
It's a good idea and all, but won't the dirt and soap from washing your hands that sit in the tank until the next flush start to buildup dirt/bacteria and whatever else (soap scum) in the tank after a while? I understand that it gets flushed out every time, but it will have a buildup over time making the tank even grosser than what is already perceived as a nasty area to hold water.
biloyp6 years ago
Soap and water do not kill the bacteria at the temp coming out of the faucet. It just washes the bacteria off your hands, so really cold water and soap or no soap will wash the bacteria off of your hands. "The combination of scrubbing your hands with soap — antibacterial or not — and rinsing them with water loosens and removes bacteria from your hands. "

thelin6 years ago
Real Goods has been selling this product for years. It's a Japanese idea that makes too much sense for most Americans. Think about it: no going to the sink for more water, no touching faucets, increased hand washing, efficient use of space, and save water. All that using water that's already there! Instead of filling the bowl with fresh water, why not fill the bowl with gray water?
=SMART=7 years ago
i hope you wernt really poopin' in that vid :P
lol nerds | | V
WOW your that confident you washed and DRANK out of it ha ha ha. im sure theres some sanitary issues here man!
Actually, the water that goes into the top is the same water that you drink out of a tap. Water from toilets is completely safe to drink, as long as it's not in the toilet bowl, or has no chemicals in it.
But most people don't clean the tank meaning old water stays for days if you don't use it. Inside mine is brown because all the dirt collected overtime (tap isn't all clean). Unless you want to clean the tank first.
But with this system, the tap only flows when the toilet is flushed, meaning that the water is changed after each use.
husendg7 years ago
If you live in the west (US), especially the southern region you are paying WAY less for water than what it's actually worth. The complex network of dams, reservoirs, canals, pumping stations and aqueducts that feeds the southwest's nearly insatiable appetite for water essentially results in a product coming out of your tap that, if not subsidized, very few could actually afford. I don't have any exact numbers but I'd be willing to bet that sometime within the next ten years (assuming the current growth rate continues in these areas) that the ACTUAL, unsubsidized price of the water that comes out of your tap is more valuable per unit than crude oil. I'll have to look into the numbers...
durr husendg7 years ago
less than free?
this could be used as a no scrub toilet cleaner system just put some comet toilet cleaner in the sink
rharlow7 years ago
this is very common in Japan. The toilet tops are already made to be able to use the water. And why not? That water is eventually gonna go down the drain anyway. If you don't like the idea, or you think it's a wasted effort, then move on. Some of us like to be frugal no matter how much $$ we make. It's just the challenge of it all. Thank you for sharing your Instructable. I think it's a wonderful!
Bardouv7 years ago
Ah! Great work. I recently visited New York CIty and some restrooms had manufactured versions of this. It really saves space and resources.
knarx7 years ago
I think you like to know that your idea has been featured by the german Newspaper Zeit Wissen: http://www.zeit.de/online/2008/07/bg-make
Maybe you write them an e-mail, because they don't have mentioned your name.
yariv_ar7 years ago
very good! liked it!
mouse237 years ago
good idea. and as long as you are flushing with used water, why not use bath water as well, many folks run the warm water until the water IS warm. that water could be caught too. That is clean water though; could be used to wash your behind. (The majority of people on earth do not use paper)
AT7 years ago
Nice instructable. I can't do it to my toilet as it has a Sloan pressure assist thing in the tank. Kind of like a super soaker for your toilet. But I like the idea. We have a well so our water costs us virtually nothing per gallon but that isn't the point. The point is about conserving water. At my house all of the water goes into a septic system. The water part is returned into the ground and filtered by mother nature. So you get to use your water over and over. But that doesn't work for everyone and even if it does, many people I know do not want to over tax their septic systems with extra anything. Every little bit helps. :-)
***idea*** put a little flow generator(red arrow) in-line before the faucet. water pressure will generate electricity to light water proof led's(blue arrow) inside the bowl
Ummm.... Wouldnt you wash your hands in pee?
wow if youre a super toilet technician like me, :) you would know that the water coming out of the copper faucet is the same as the water coming out of your regular sink.
only if there's pee in your drinking water the water that comes out of that faucet is the same water you shower in
No in fact toilet water inlet comes from the same inlet as your sink. You even brush your teeth with it so its not dirty. The water is only dirty in the bowl and the outlet is the S bend. Which leads into the septic tank.
WhiteGrub7 years ago
Nice instructable, this may be my weekend project. Plus it takes some form of energy to pump the water to the where it is cleaned and chlorinated, then pumped to your house (unless you resivoir is on top of the mountain and you live at the bottom), energy to clean the water when it goes down the sewer (I am thinking of a person who lives in a city, not septic tank type), etc. Where I live, we burn good ole clean coal (sarcasm) to create the electricity. Rock on!
robprimeau7 years ago
Very cool greywater project (does this count as greywater?). Nice to see something innovative done in the spirit of conservation!
yoshhash7 years ago
Nice job! Yes, they've been doing this in Japan for over a decade now, we are SO behind on these little things that actually make sense. However, I think some people will never ever understand things beyond the simple mathematics of cash economics. So sad....and embarassing.
kroperx7 years ago
Nice work. I just want to mention that this has been used in Japan for almost 10 years. Anyway well done.
jawoo7 years ago
Actually this is wonderful! When I was in Japan a couple years back, my host parents had a toilet similar to this! Awesome idea!
tom0047 years ago
I forgot to say. Great idea. Simple, useful. don't listen to the trolls.
tom0047 years ago
You have to wash your hands quick or you have to flush again. What a waste!!!! LOL. Better come up with another dookie real quick.
yankee19797 years ago
I think you have the next bright idea for the future, it is all about waste......!!!!!! our country is throwing away way to much,conservation is the future. so this is for jollyrgr; usa jobs are going overseas and the simple man always saves every penny he can wile there is a penny to be made, great idea to a new toilet,get a patient, NOW GOOD LUCK
Truly wonderful. I saw an expensive kit through treehugger.com, but was put off by the price. I live in Virginia where water is cheap AND plentiful, but I am going to do this project simply because it makes sense and is responsible. I am not insecure, like some commenters, and can deal with strange looks from guests. A foaming soap dispenser is a perfect companion since you can lather up before even flushing, allowing for more sterilizing time. Thank you for posting, and loved the video.
Sgt.Waffles7 years ago
Too cool man. + and faves. I might do this to my toilet just for shiggles.
Valche7 years ago
This is such an amazing instructable, if for nothing more than the potential aesthetic value (I say potential because I wouldn't be using plywood). As for hand cleaning, I'd be concerned with what havoc soap residues might inflict on the internal workings of the toilet. A nice water sculpture on top would be quite a terrific idea though.
spylock7 years ago
Dont you have a sink in your bath room,if so why not just use that.
spylock spylock7 years ago
The water thats going down the overflow tube into the bowl is needed,it was made that way so that you would have the correct amount of water in the bowl for a proper flush,not haveing the water do so could allow the toilet to become stopped up.
jkm7 years ago
if you're really serious about saving water, check out this site: http://www.de12ambachten.nl/English/index%20english.html
this toilet uses hardly any water at all.
When I saw this, I thought of my late cat Jake who would have been in heaven. He used to hop inside the bathtub and cry with his eyes until I'd give him a dribble to drink from. Standing water had no allure for him. Personally, I think it's a good idea, and you could make it look pretty with river stones and maybe a slate lid for your tank. Look, someone's marketing this:

Pettibone7 years ago
Despite all of the Trolls we seem to have on this one, I for one love this idea. This is the first time I have seen it anywhere, and really do not care that it was thought of somewhere else first. I for one am that much smarter and more aware of the water issue. I think that means that this is an excellent Instructable. Thank you for opening my eyes and enabling me to do something about it through a well constructed Instructable. Good job!
moseph7 years ago
i've seen porcelain sinks like this used in other countries but I haven't found ways to get them in the U.S. I really like how simple and elegant your design is.
I don't remember the date, but the U.S. government regulated plumbing fixtures and their water consumption. Namely toilets that once used 3 GPF (Gallons Per FLush) now have to use 1.6 GPF or less, and urinals now 1 GPF or less. Believe it or not, some toilets during the 70's used as much as 8 GPF. Anyway, toilet manufacturers used to rely on the brute force of water to flush waste. When that brute force was cut nearly in half, they had to redesign the rest of the toilet. Now, fully glazed trap ways are almost the norm with many being larger than two inch diameter, whereas most used to be 1 1/2 inches and rough cast, which tends to slow waste flow. Also, water from the tank is dropped down the front of the bowl pushing the waste through the trap with less water used to wash the perimeter of the bowl. There are such things as "dry" toilets and urinals, but I don't personally like the smell they tend to emit over time. An Australian based company Caroma makes a dual flush toilet that uses two buttons to control either 1GPF for liquid waste or 1.6GPF for solid/paper waste. They also make a toilet with the hand sink on the tank as in this instructable. Also, the new Toto toilets are really getting into water conservation with some toilets using 0.9 GPF. I think Green Plumber offers good advice, often overlooked in water conservation, of working with grey water instead of just sending it to the treatment plant. Just my two cents.
aminMake7 years ago
I have seen similar concepts before. Without an air filter in the seat top or if you forget to leave the seat down (ugh), you are risking cross contamination of the sink. A flushing action acts a bit like an aerosol when you flush. Nasty little bacteria can then spread through the air and onto surrounding surfaces. Clever hack, though.
dannyboy757 years ago
The UK isn't exactly short of water so I can't see myself making this but I really like the thinking behind it. If water is hard to come by a gallon per flush is really worth the effort!! That said if water was that scarce perhaps you wouldn't be flushing in the first place...any instructables out there for a makeshift ceptic tank... ;)
its about saving water... who cares about weather or not you re-coop the cost in 5 years or 100 years... who cares if water isn't scarce in the UK... its f***ing scarce everywhere else in the world... recognize your privilage... its about saving water... i love this instructable... thankyou
boocat7 years ago
Maybe you could use a round, glazed flower pot for the sink part. I've seen some around that I think would work. But then you'd have to buy something, unless you have an old Talavera-style flower pot lying about. My sister takes ceramic classes; the sink could also be one of her soup bowls (but with a hole in the center.)
boocat7 years ago
I think I would tart my board up with a decorative paint effect of some kind. Perhaps faux mosaic, or something of that sort.
Saving water is saving energy. Water is a renewable rescorce but much of the cost of water is the electricity to filter and pump the water. My water bills in northern Mass. are about $500 a year. I talked to a guy who lived closer to Boston in a different water district and he was paying $2500 a year. Toilets typically consume 40% to 60% of the water in the household. I installed a grey water system in my house. I ran my shower drain to a 150 gallon fiberglass tank in my basement. I add chlorine tablets and enzymes to consume bacteria, and I pump the water up to a separate water pipe, just for my toilets. If I get a 50% savings on my water bill, that will pay for all the materials I used in about 6 years. Go to my web site for more info at www.BobGagnon.com Thanks, Bob Gagnon
TTF7 years ago
I have seen this in Japan in a number of bathrooms. Its a really good idea.
Another thought for the cover. As a couple of other responders noted, Trex decking would work (darn someone left a whole pile at the dump a while back) and the cutout for a sink from a counter top would work. Try your local installers/builders for their trash. If you see someone remodeling, ask early on for things. They have to pay per ton for those dumpsters, so anything you are willing to take away, is less $ they have to pay to dump. You'd be surprised what people throw away when remodeling. I snagged 10 glass doors at the dump which will become my new sun room.
This is a great Idea. When I lived in Boston, not only was the cost of water outrageous, the cost of sewer was twice the amount of water. They assumed that all water you used was sent to the sewer. So even when you watered your garden you paid for sewer charges! No they would not allow you to have a separate meter for your non-sewer water use. Even now living in the Mountains of NH, using well water, this water re-use would add to the life of a septic system. Besides, like others have said, it's not all about saving money, it's saving the earths resources. I love the idea, and may just use it on my farm. What a great idea for an "outhouse."
Transquesta8 years ago
Don't know if anybody pointed this out (I didn't look through all the responses to see), but the funnel or drain of the sink doesn't have to drain into the overflow tube. It just has to drain into the tank--meaning you can mount it anywhere on the deck. The "overflow tube" ends by the seat for the float valve at the bottom of the tank, so it all goes to the same place, anyway. Second, be careful how much tubing you have/use inside the tank, as too many loops will interfere with the mechanics of the ballcock/float assemblies.
You want the water to go into the overflow tube because it will go directly into the bowl, and the dirt and soap from your hands won't get into the toilet's equiptment.
bruce868 years ago
You manage to used the most water unfriendly piece of wood ever. If that wood gets wet its gonna warp and sagg
Neodudeman8 years ago
sockeye1018 years ago
i could be wrong, but wouldnt a bunch of thick, bubbly, soap running through a toilet be bad for its insides, which are designed for clean water straight from the plumbing source. oh, and how hard is it to cut a hole or two into porcelain.
gregorylavoie (author)  sockeye1018 years ago
With this design the water goes directly into flushing the bowl minimizing build up, you could also use a harder soap. To drill into porcelain you would want to use a diamond plated drill bit, running water on it while you drilled to cool it.
you don't need a diamond plated bit, but you do need to poar water on it. my dad and I put some ceramic tile in once, and it gets very hot if you dont put water on it while your cutting it.
the ceramic will KILL a normal drill bit. but there is an easy way around it. Get one of the carbide cement drill bits. Either drill on a very slow speed, or even better, chuck it in a brace, and drill by hand! at the slow speeds, it'll take a few min to make the holes, sure, but the bit will last forever, and the heat has plenty of time to dissapate. Do still use water though, to keep the dust down("flood" it if you can)
I once read that you can "drill" a hole in ceramic by creating a "well" out of modeling clay, which is filled with a thin slurry of water and carborundum powder. A short piece of pipe is then chucked into a drill (this may require some modification to add a thin shank to a wide pipe), and used to drive the abrasive into the ceramic work. The water in the clay well keeps the abrasive circulating between the edge of the pipe and the ceramic, while also keeping things cool. I imagine a similar arrangement can be used to cool your drill bit without having to continually drip water on your work.
wow, you've been reading some old-school texts lately ;-) indeed, you CAN drill things like that. It is the method I've used for drilling holes in plate glass. It's a bit shade-tree mechanic, but my method is to start with a length of copper tubing. File some notches into the end, or cut very small slits with a fine tooth hacksaw blade, a few mm deep. Then find an old drillbit that fits the ID of the tube, and solder it in. For the abrasive, you canuse almost anthing... very fine sand, baking soda, abrasive powder... the drilling technique is just as you say. make a watertight well around your hole-to-be, fill with water and abrasive, and drill. but go slow, and don't push on it. let the abrasive and the weight of the drill do the work to avoid unsightly breakout, and to avoid filling the tank top cavity with fluid, measuer precisely, and once you've drilled through the first layer, flip the lid, and drill through from the other side. this should keep any minimal chipping and breakout on the inside, where it won't be visible
Is anyone here aware how brittle porcelain is? Drilling it IS NOT recommended, especially since you have TWO layers to cut through (the lid is hollow). Ceramic tile is a completely different form of ceramic and is fired very much differently than porcelain. It is extremely brittle and attempting to drill it will, in 99% of cases, result in two or more pieces. Try drilling into a scrap toilet before you attempt to find out the hard way that it wasn't worth it. If you haven't drilled glass before, don't even try to drill porcelain.
yeah, good idea to start on someone's old or broken toilet lid for practice first.
both normal ceramics and porcelin are TOUGH as well as brittle.
Usually, drilling results in cracks if too much pressure is applied, or the heat is allowed to build up and cause stress cracking.

IF you break your top, you could always make it into something else useful http://www.instructables.com/id/EG4H19IOUIEP2879MC/?relatedLink

ya but toilets are ceramic....some of them at least I think. but I agree, porcelain is very brittle, and sharp when it breaks.
not to nitpick, but porcelain IS a form of ceramic, and generally toilets are made of a low-quality mix and casted thick, since weight and absolute purity is not a factor...It's like using crappy steel to cast something like a fence-post, instead of using aircraft-grade aluminum for the same purpose...
oh, didnt know that.
and it smells
this is true.
although its nothing compared to flour and water thats been sealed in a container for 2 weeks.
or milk. thats the nastiest cause it gets all chunky.
dude milk is NOTHING compared to this........try it. mix flour and water 50/50 and let it sit in a sealed container for 2 weeks, its disgusting.
no thanks. ill just take ur word for it.
heheh. its honestly the worste thing I've ever smelled, worse than poop or rotten milk.
Wet your hand first, then soap up, then rinse. the soap won't be thick due to dilution from the water. Kind of like the "blue water" thingies that some people put in their tanks anyhow.
If soap gets into the reservoir it will cause algae to grow, just to warn people that try a similar mod. Algae even grow in purified water used in computer watercooling rigs, they are so ubiquitous and hard to avoid, and soap is food for them. You could throw some bleech once in a while in the drain though, that should prevent it I guess.
Just what kind of soap are you using??
They are probably not algae as alga make their food from light and the inside of a toilet is dark.
Generally speaking, the water is doing more harm that the soap will. Actually the petroleum distillates in most soaps might slightly extend the life of some parts by not allowing the water to dry the oil out of them so easily. This is not to say that putting a bar of soap in your tank is a good idea. How hard is it to cut porcelain? Got at least 9 hours to cut a 1/2" hole?
Haha, in Japan, this is how a lot of the bathrooms' sinks are. XD
Prometheus8 years ago
Good idea with the spring idea, but another method would be to bend it around something hard, but with an even curve. You could either find a nice large cold-water pipe, portable propane tank, or even a tree. This would be called "mandrel bending". Ideal bend to start is roughly 3 inches of bend radius for every half-inch of tubing thickness.
Mandrel bending? You mean this? It's a lot more than bending it around something hard, in which case most thin-walled pipe will crease; not something you want. Mandrel bending involves having a mandrel (small metal object) inside the pipe to force the insides not to collapse or warp. That way you have a constant diameter, vs. a slightly smaller stretched curve, vs a completely creased an botched job.

If you do want to mandrel bend, you'll have to find more equipment/machinery than just a tree or propane tank. It may work that way, but it isn't called mandrel bending.
My mistake for posting while drunk lol. New instructable on how to prevent one's drunken self from posting and risking making a fool of one's-self coming soon... In any case, wouldn't using 1/8th inch tubing be more ideal, to match the flow of the bowl fill-tube? It looks like you used 1/4-inch,. which is largely excessive for the flow that should be expected. Also in that case, you can make bends more easily without risk of kinking in 1/8" copper tubing, as it bends more like copper wire and is far more manageable....however 1/4" might be more sturdy post-construction... I might add that I have bent tubing as large as 1/2" within a 4" radius using nothing more than a rounded groove in a wooden post and have suffered no loss of diameter or roundness whatsoever, this is what I was implying. In any case, worth a try in my book, where a sink is otherwise not easily available.
Hah! Yeah, friends don't let friend post drunk. Good post about bending big tubing though, I've never tried bending tubing and it's good to know that you can bend it without creasing. Also, the 1/4 tubing would probably make the water flow faster/harder, which may not be a good thing if you just want to use it for your hands (splashing, etc). I would really love to make one of these, but I just know my friends would not be comfortable using it. Even though I know it's clean, I still cringed when he drank from the faucet.
? im not sure on how this works :-\ help
Open your toilet tank Inside is the float and "ballcock" valve (this is its name so stop laughing). There are two tubes for this valve; one points straight down (tank fill tube), the other (the bowl fill tube) goes into the overflow tube (the open tube sticking up the middle of the tank). Route the hose that goes to the overflow tube to the copper "faucet". You will likely need more hose to do this. Make a top out of wood or drill holes in the ceramic top. Fasten a bowl to this top with a hole or holes drilled into it so that the water can drain from the sink to the tank. This instructable used a funnel as well under the bowl. Make a faucet neck out of bent copper tubing that aims into the bowl. Connect the fill tube removed from the overflow to this copper tube. Depending on how you set it up, you will need several inches of plastic or rubber tubing to do this. When you flush, the tube formerly used to fill the bowl is now going to the faucet.
lol so i have to adjust the ballcock? ...jk :-P ok i get it the sink water is what fills up the tank! cool, but i dont like the whole mini sink on the toilet back :-( so if i do this ill rig somthing from my current sink, to empty behind the ballcock :-P into the tank. :-D nice. lol who the hell came up with naming that thing a ballcock haha!
the "ballcock" was named for earlier designs where the stopper for the tank was literally a rubber ball, instead of what is now called the "flapper-valve". The first gravity-flush toilets simply had a ball on a chain that, when the lever was pulled, would pull from the "dump" fitting (as said before, stop laughing), until the water level dropped it back down, and the tank would fill again. As we moved into the "modern age", design has slightly changed, but the nomenclature and operation typically remains the same, with some modernization...
thanks for further informing me on the ballcock :-P
The mini sink is there to catch the water you sue to wash up. It drains into the toilet tank ready for your next flush. Basically you are PRE-cycling water. (yes I just made up that term right now)
DrStoooopid8 years ago
excellent idea, I so needed to figure out how to put a sink in my tiny bathroom. This is EXACTLY what I needed....only difference is, I'm going to put in a tankless water heater and have hot AND cold.
Oh my....thanks for saying so, I have a project coming up to make one! thanks for reminding me!
Hmmm I,m reading 3 gallons to flush + 1 to wash = 4 gallons so if you spend $25 making this you save 1 gallon.
I just spent $25 installing a low flow retrofit kit. 1 gallon to flush + ! gallon to wash = 2 gallons saved.
As an added bonus, because the water level in my basin is lower my butt doesn't get splashed when I experience a violent evacuation. :-)
Cool concept though, I think I'll make a tranquility fountain out of it.
Got a link for the low-flow kit you used? I'm curious...
try www.homedepot.com/ ?
Unfortunately, no. It was a Manns branded item, so if you have one near you... At the time because of this line "Make sure the secondary reservoir is mounted as high as possible inside the original wile retaining the ability to properly place the lid" I got to thinking, I would love to mount this in the attic to see if I can get a good flush with a half gallon.
I have an idea, bend the bar on the shutoff float valve so it shuts of using less water. same effect, $50 less.
woops that will only work on old toilets. but I'm sure there are ways of modifying new ones for the same effect.
The other method is to displace the tank-fill with a glass jar, trapping an amunt of water per flush, or simply using a 2-liter bottle filled with water in the tank.....I think this was the solution you were thinking of...
h2oknow8 years ago
Hey, check out SinkPositive if you don't want to go through all the work.
my father won't let me do this. :(
Grady8 years ago
Our water here runs over $8 for a 2000-gal Minimum; so, if you don't quite use that much, it counts as only 1K, which makes them collect more, the next month, when you go 1 gal over the 2K minimum; in which they then collect another over $8. This is Central Florida.
farbs8 years ago
people. shut up. all of you. this is an environmentally friendly way to save some water, and some money. i dont see any of you having environmental epiphanies here. (im sure i spelled that wrong) kudos to you, gregorylavoie
fstedie8 years ago
I'm surprised no one mentioned that you should spend the time to clean the bathroom before you hack your toilet. Just look below, pretty disgusting, IMO...
hahaha true you should clean the toilet and make sure theres no mold in it......we had black mold (one of the worst kinds) in our toilet reservoir.....right where the water comes in, it was going over it every time it filled.
who needs free water i need to know
its a great idea, but the Japanese have been doing it for quite some time. Personally, I think the idea of this type of toilet should be implemented in the US asap.
So true! This gave me deja vue, as I always remember seeing these on japanese toilet tops (the "western" ones at least). Also, they usually have a little and big flush (the flush lever turns 2 directions) for number 1 and number 2. It's great, as you imagine all the flushing needed to get some things to go down is not needed for everything. But again, they're much more resource conscious there and conserve quite a bit (fuel, electricity, wood, etc). But good DIY article at any rate.
Brilliant idea for saving water, especially since that water is going to flow anyway. It's also a no-touch system, minimizing the spread of germs. My job is making sure people are using water efficiently in their homes. Perhaps I'll mention this idea to them. Keep it up :-)
carlos66ba8 years ago
I lived in Japan for 3 months and there almost all of the toilets have this. I found it somewhat strange (even though the water is perfectly clean, I still had a bit of "yuck factor" associated with using water from the toilet---it is irrational!). THIS IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA!!!
gregorylavoie (author)  carlos66ba8 years ago
On the last step I posted a video of me drinking from the tap just to show that it is clean, but when I did it, it still felt a little strange.
Hah, but at such a low level near the bowl I think it's not hygienic anymore, the water might be clean (although the last time I worked inside a toilet reservoir it was full of algea growth!) but splattering will have spread some nasty at the bottom of the reservoir at some point I fear, I would not advise drinking from anything attached there.. Now the water intake is just water and attached higher of course so that's clean.
Stealth mod! make a small scrapwood cabinet to sit next to the toilet. cut two small groves into the top of the tank, and bottom of the lid lip. Plum the fill line out to the new sink, and the drain line back into the overflow tube. since the cabinet will rest against the tank, no lines should be seen. If you have somewhat more observant bathroom guests... eliminate the "faucet" and replace it with a tabletop fountain! Aesthetics are important too!
VERY NICE! Excellent suggestion. This is a great hack, but really even understanding how it works I still get creeped out watching that guy drink that water. Separate the contraption - take it off the toilet, you can still get it to work. How about running it to one of these tiny wall mounted sinks:
Theres an exhibit at the Exploratorium.. The title is "A sip of conflict" - you're told it's clean and never used - but you still feel awkward drinking from it :p "Strong emotional associations with objects or people can make it difficult to act objectively around them." The picture is not exactly the best representation, but it's a water fountain in a clean, never used toilet :)
Yup, these have been around in Japan for a long time. You can find kits in the states, but it's not too common. Gaiam sells them here.
I do have to say that I like the copper tubing and metal bowl aesthetic better, though.
The chipboard needs work though... Maybe some polypropylene from a over sized cutting board. Cheap and durable.
An old counter top or, continuing with the "green" idea, a counter top cutout may be a bit more aesthetically pleasing. For those of you not familiar with the terminology, a counter top "cutout" is the part of the countertop that gets cut out for a sink. These parts are usually either discarded or offered for sale at greatly reduced prices. I'm not sure that they are big enough but if they are, they'd sure look nice. Finish the ends with some strips of veneer of your choice and you're looking really good. Great instructable!
WilderLust8 years ago
Hmmm... neat mod but if the goal is to save water, you can do so with no cost and in about 30 seconds. just remove the hose that drains down the tube and place the tip into the tank. the water now does not go to waist but helps fill the tank. no parts, no cost, almost no time! the down side is you will not have a cool micro sink and the water level in your bowl will not be up to normal level (which is the purpose of the tube wasting water. cheers :-)
Geordiepom8 years ago
Our sole supply of water comes from the roof of our house and shed. This will be a great mod for us, especially as we're in the worst drought on record here in S.E. Queensland.
BobbyMike8 years ago
Excellent mod. A better choice for the top would be a scrap of Corian, or similar. Cuts/drills/sands with normal wood tools, but much more mold/mildew resistant. If you have trouble locating a scrap piece, look for scrap sinks from a remodel. I picked up a small "bar" sink that's molded out of a Corian like substance that might be the right size for one of these. This is a great idea for people like me that have our own wells. Depending on how dry it's been around here we can experience problems if we draw too much from our well too quickly.
Tom McGuire8 years ago
Sooo... your saying now people can drink out of the tiolet? My dog is going to laugh his head off.
IdahoDavid8 years ago
My compliments. An excellent Instructable and a really great idea. It makes me wonder why somebody isn't already selling conversion kits commerically or maybe I'm not shopping in the right places. Good job.
Being a person living in the South (where we love our SUVs and our A/C at full blast), if you asked the average person on the street whether or not this is something they would want, they would be completely disgusted by using toilet water, and probably aren't aware of how much water their toilet uses. They would need to be told of a convincing ROI (like what CFL manufacturers do on their packaging -- "Save $38 per bulb!" and such) before really considering it at all, and even then it would be difficult to get over the disgust factor.
While I understand the potential for yuk factor, this is NOT toilet water, it is the exact same water that comes to the sink tap anyway, and in my house it is mains water (rather than from a cold water tank) so it is the same water that goes to the drinking taps in the Kitchen. With the world the way it is, this sort of thing is the least we can do. Seems a bit wierd that we are not all already doing this considering millions of people have to walk miles to get water and then carry it back to where they use it, the thought of even having running water where they live would seem like a complete luxury.
Oh, I completely understand what you mean, and I think this is actually a cool idea (not just for saving water, but for saving space by combining a sink and a toilet. Viola, a one-piece half bathroom!), it's just that I don't think it's currently very marketable in the US simply because people don't know that it's clean water and, for the most part, cleanliness habits and sensibilities are taught at a young age and are hard to shake (especially for people who don't think particularly logically). I just figure that, even if you told people it was clean, they wouldn't really believe you, or they still wouldn't want to go so far as to really treat it as clean because in their subconscious it's still 'toilet water' because it comes from the toilet. Telling them something like "Well, if you just pretend it's not toilet water then you'll save $xx a month, or be able to fit a half bath into a closet" is probably going to get them to listen. I hate to make generalizations, but it seems to me like Americans assume there are infinite resources in the world, and the only limiting factor is how much these resources cost, so "going green" for us needs to concentrate on saving us money.
Actually there are shades of it all over the world. I mean who wants to give up their convenience unless they are effected. In the future there will be water wars. Already in Africa one country is un fairly taking all the water out of a river before it gets down stream there by committing another country to poverty and lack of water... who owns the water. In the US it might yet happen (and has in certain places) where taking too much water out of the ground has resulted in severe water depletion and whole towns have dried up, in the future it could be whole states. In the the UK the green or organic or eco or whatever drive only goes as far as the pocket as well. The only reason they have toilets like this in Japan isn't because of the environment it's because space is so limited and people have to take out multi generation mortgages so they have to cut back on unnecessary space. No, the only way we will get these things to be commonplace is for legislation to make grey water systems mandatory in all new builds and then gradually penalize with some form of sales tax, property that hasn't been modernised to meet existing legislation. We are starting down that track in the UK with House Buyers Reports which now must be done and give the house a eco rating which can affect the price or saleability of the property. The only thing I find weird about the toilet hand basin is that you would have to bend awkwardly over the toilet bowl to wash you hands, which would be very hard for the young, elderly or disabled, but if space wasn't an issue then I'm sure this problem could be designed around.
gregorylavoie (author)  nihilocrat8 years ago
Excellent point, sadly going green will take more than making small changes in our lives, it will involve changing ourselves and our way of thinking.
Many toilets are build like this in asia.
Rubylass8 years ago
I love this idea! I'd seen it years before but never thought about incorporating it into my own home....until now. I have the perfect little laundry/powder room where this would be a great space saver. Thanks!
At Liberty8 years ago
Very interesting. Repulsive, but interesting. ;o) ( I'm fairly certain this sort of thing is used in prisons. )
Repulsive? Why? You do understand that it's clean water, right? It's a cheap, easy way to conserve water.
Yes, of course I understand it is clean water. If you are asking why I find the idea of drinking water, clean as it may be, from any part of a toilet is repulsive, then there wouldn't be much I could say to make you understand my eeww factor. :oD
This is commonplace in Japan-most houses have a bathroom the size of a small closet, so many toilets have this built in.
kishida8 years ago
I too saw this in Japan, when I was there 27 years ago. I thought it was a good idea and wondered why no one here had one. Sometimes I thought a delay would be good because when I do a #2, I like to flush as soon as possible then pull up my pants, then wash my hands. Especially with the low flow toilets, the water fills up the tank quicker -- I suppose you could turn down the water supply/pressure a bit. You've given me some ideas for a non-practical project -- how about a mini-waterfall/pond for each flush? Or maybe a mini fish tank ,sitting on top, that cleans itself a little, by each flush -- each flush would add a little fresh water to the bottom of the fish tank and a little old water would overflow out from a tube attached near the top of the tank, out into the toilet tank...
kishida kishida8 years ago
For the fish tank idea, there might even be a way to siphon a little air into the tank with each flush, thereby avoiding adding an air pump and aerator...
thinker8 years ago
Brilliant idea man, may try it out in my bathroom, how long would the pipe be able to be from the toilet to the sink before the pressure got too low for the return journey? and also, i got a bit confused by the overflow pipe bit as my toilet doesnt have one, it wasnt until i realised that you meant the part where it flows over the barrier and into it that i got what you meant. i thought you meant like a pipe in case the water level too high >_< ace instructable,
Water flows downward. You would have to place the sink higher than the toilet tank--about 1" higher for every foot you put it away from the toilet.
but then wouldnt the water be flowing uphill to go downhill or is it carried on its own pressure?
Coming out of the black tube (the fill tube) it has sufficient pressure to go maybe 10' if you are lucky. I was talking about the return water, after you have washed your hands--that has to be 'downhill' so to speak.
timothy8 years ago
I love this. I would like to nominate it for a Modest Mod award: big results from minimal effort and cost. Many mods, while nerdishly cool, are nerdishly complex. The simplicity is killer.
skip2mylou8 years ago
ugh u drank it!! still dude that a REALLY cool thingy majiggy that u've got there, im gonna try it. props man!
It's the same water that comes out of the tap in the sink. So if you drink from your sink, then you can drink from that. Just not out of the bowl. That's bad.
efrenjo8 years ago
I'm definitively doing this in my house. EXCELLENT!
TimAnderson8 years ago
I love it!!! I've wanted one of these ever since I was a kid in Japan 30 years ago.
Very nice, and much cheaper than the ones I have been looking at online.
juanjleon8 years ago
Not to bring you down, but these type of toilet tops come on the toilets here in Japan. It is for washing your hands since the toilets are almost exclusively in a separate little room. But I like the look of yours.
gregorylavoie (author)  juanjleon8 years ago
I had seen those, that is where I kinda got the idea to modify my own.
I think it is an excellent idea and great for space saving as well (although that is a minor benefit compared with the grey water recycling aspect. Ideally the toilet should be filled from old bath, shower or washing machine water anyway. In the UK new houses have to be built with disabled access to ground floor toilet areas, what would be better would be a compulsory grey water recycling system built into the house to start with.
stasterisk8 years ago
Some kids from my school rigged an unused toilet to mix lemonade powder and water, and produce lemonade out the bottom, to serve to freshmen.
Best idea I've seen in ages! Sure, you can buy them pre-made, but they're expensive. Plus, this thing looks ghetto fabulous.
steve blair8 years ago
I can't see myself doing this anytime soon unless I find an apartment with a super eco-conscious landlord/lady, but it is absolutely genius!
gregorylavoie (author)  steve blair8 years ago
Yeah that is why I made a new lid out of wood instead of drilling a hole in the old lid so it can easily be restored without losing my damage deposit.
Although the decision to use wood, which can promote mold growth in a high-humidity environment, is my least favorite part of the project. I'm usually railing against the use of plastics in Instructables where wood would do, but this is one case where plastic or metal would definitely be a better idea.

Or you could just paint the wood. A coat of sealing primer and a nice gloss finish would keep the whole thing from becoming a petri dish, and make it look snazzy too.

So, since all the water to refill the bowl comes out the spout and through your sink before entering the bowl, I guess this thing runs for a decent amount of time after each flush. That could encourage people to wash their hands more thoroughly, too!
gregorylavoie (author)  Myself8 years ago
I could not agree with you more, I think a nice counter laminate would be a nice finish or galvanized steel. There is probably enough water to have a quick shower.
there's a product here in chicago(probably elsewhere too) that is a composite of wood chavings and recycled plastic, used for outdoor decking. Looks sort of like wood. Cuts just like wood. And doesn't rot. can be cleaned with bleach IF mildew does appear, just like a shower, or any other plastic product. it's a bit pricey, but if you know someone puttin gin a deck of the stuff, beg for the scraps? :-)
trebuchet038 years ago
Wow, I'm totally doing this! I'll find an abandoned toilet somewhere and get the tank lid - and add a sink and such :) Awesome :)
gregorylavoie (author)  trebuchet038 years ago
What would be sweet is a custom concrete top http://www.instructables.com/id/S55LIKOF4JUPEEM/
Browncoat8 years ago
SO cool!!
whatsisface8 years ago
This is one of the better ideas i've seen here in a while. Well done :)