Americans traveling to other countries are often surprised to learn that everyday plumbing systems such as toilets are not the same as they are back home.
Europeans don’t use garbage disposals. If you’re staying with your French pen pal, it’s probably not a good idea to put your dinner scraps down the sink. Garbage disposals are not widely used in France and most other European countries because sewage treatment facilities in these countries cannot handle this type of waste.
Bidets are commonplace in many countries. While rare in the United States, the bidet — a type of sink to wash your private areas — is a common fixture in southern European countries and South American countries, including Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Bidets are also common in Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Not all toilets have seats. Squat toilets and seatless toilets are used in many parts of the world. While a squat toilet looks like a hole in a ground, a seatless toilet is simply a standard toilet without a seat. Such toilets may seem primitive to Americans. But toilets that require you to squat rather than sit actually have several documented health benefits, including faster and more complete elimination. Seatless toilets are standard in southern Europe, while squat toilets are common throughout Asia.
Americans are the world’s biggest water wasters. According to a 2006 United Nations report, Americans have the highest per capita water use, followed by Australia and Italy. U.S. water usage totals 152 gallons per day, with toilets, washing machines and showers representing the largest percentages of household water use. For comparison, Mozambicans use an average of 4 gallons per day. According to drinktap.org, if all U.S. households installed water-saving features, our water use would decrease by 30 percent.
To discuss installing water and energy-efficient fixtures and appliances in your home, contact Thompson Plumbing Heating & Cooling.
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Pipe Gripes is written & published by Thompson Plumbing Heating & Cooling