A dual flush toilet is designed just like any other toilet, but with one key exception. It has two handles or buttons equipped to the fixture so that it can flush different levels of water. Initially proposed in 1976 by Victor Papanek, the first dual flush toilets began to be installed in 1980.
The modern dual flush toilet was created in 1993 as a way to cut water usage when flushing.
Due to the complexity of the toilet’s mechanisms, the cost of a dual flush toilet is usually higher than a single flush design. Once installed, however, a modern dual flush toilet can cut water consumption levels by 50% or more when it is used properly.
There are additional advantages and some disadvantages which must be considered when looking at the dual flush design as well.
List of Advantages for a Dual Flush Toilet
1. It reduces a home’s environmental impact.
Many homes live in areas that are conserving water right now. The goal of many conservation efforts is to save 10% on total water usage over a specific time measurement. If you are upgrading an older traditional toilet, you could move from 4-5 gallons per flush to just 1.1 gallons per flush with the dual flush option.
2. You don’t need to upgrade the entire toilet.
There are several manufacturers which have created dual flush conversion kits that can be used with most modern toilets. Although you may need to bring in a professional plumber to make the necessary adjustments to the toilet tank, it is usually a cheaper upgrade than replacing the entire toilet.
3. Both bowl styles are available.
You can find dual flush toilets with round or elongated bowls, allowing your space to have the best possible toilet to meet your needs. Be sure to measure your rough-in distance before finalizing your purchase, especially if you live in or own an older home.
4. Rebate programs might be available.
Because of the water-savings advantages that come with dual flush toilets, many utility districts offer homeowners the opportunity to secure a rebate when they upgrade to this type of toilet. That can offset the added cost of this design for some homeowners, making it an advantageous purchase that will eventually save water at the same time it saves them money.
List of Disadvantages for a Dual Flush Toilet
1. It requires a consistent user experience for water savings.
Consumers must always choose the one flush for liquid waste and the secondary flush for solid waste when using a dual flush toilet to experience water savings. Choosing the second option for liquid wastes or the first option for solid waste can actually increase water usage over time.
2. There are more maintenance issues to consider.
Dual flush toilets have a deeper flushing mechanism that is used to control water. Although the toilet design is often easy to use, maintaining two lever or push-button mechanisms instead of one provides double the risk of cost. Compared to a traditional toilet, a dual flush toilet’s lifetime maintenance cost can be double.
3. It may require more cleaning.
Some dual flush toilets conserve water at the expense of providing pressure. Look for a toilet design that offers a high PSI in the bowl with each flush to maintain a clean toilet. If you have a model that does not offer a high PSI, then you can expect to be cleaning it on a frequent basis.
4. It takes time to get the money back on this investment.
If you are replacing a traditional toilet with a dual flush model, it could take up to 8 years to make your money back in utility savings. That means other environmentally-friendly upgrades to your home, like a conversion to solar energy, might be a better option to think about.
5. Water levels may sit lower in a dual flush toilet.
Many dual flush toilets have a lower bowl water level as part of the conservation process. When this fact is combined with a deep bowl design, some users may experience some splash back after using the toilet. Some models may also require you to hold the button or handle to complete the flush, which increases the chances of a splash event occurring.
What is a dual flush toilet? It is an excellent opportunity for you to save water, save money, and upgrade to a more comfortable flushing experience. Consider each advantage and disadvantage carefully to ensure that you are purchasing the best possible toilet for your home today.