WNY Handyman

Dual Flush Toilet Options – Easy to Not so Much

Dual Flush Toilets

When I decided to get a dual flush toilet for our cottage project, I mentioned it to a couple of friends and they didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.  These are people would would consider themselves “green” or “conservationists” at heart.  I was surprised that they weren’t aware of the existence.  A dual flush toilet is just what it sounds like. It is a toilet that has 2 flushing modes. The aptly named “number 1” will flush with about 1-1.1 gallons of water. Flush “number 2” will use the full 1.6 gallons of water. Picture that savings over thousands of flushes per month for an average family and the water savings is enormous.  You will also see the “dual flush” option in commercial settings.  Pull the lever up for 1x the water and press it down for 3x the water.

Our cottage project has a septic system and anything that can be done to reduce the volume headed into that system will help.

I did some quick research on the lower priced dual flush toilets and noticed that the stock unit carried by Home Depot is only $99. The stock unit carried by Lowe’s is $169. I will go with the Home Depot brand since the reviews on each unit (Lowe’s v. Home Depot) run about the same. They are both very good.

Dual Flush Converter Kits

There are retro-fit dual flush kits if you don’t want to replace an existing toilet.  However, I would caution you from certain types.  There is a type drop-in dual flush converter that doesn’t require any removal of hardware and the upper tank on your toilet.  That sounds great, but I would be willing to bet that 80% of these installations will slowly leak.  If your flapper doesn’t seat properly, your toilet will lead and completely defeat the purpose of the dual flush “water savings”.  The sinister part of this is that you won’t even know that it is leaking.  The trickle is generally so slight, you won’t know it exists.  You can drop food coloring into your tank to spot the leak.  If the food coloring trickles from your tank to your bowl without a flush, you are wasting a LOT of water.

The higher rated dual flush converter kits will not cost much more (literally a few dollars) but will require some plumbing work.  The upper tank will have to come off to be fitted.  Don’t worry, just about anyone can do it if you follow the instructions.  And don’t worry, there is no nasty water involved, just the clean stuff.  The kit below received very good reviews from Amazon and seems like it is a nice product to retrofit your toilet for dual flush.

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