Improving Your Home: Dual flush conversion helps save water

Dual-flush toilets have the option of a low-water flush for liquid waste removal or a full-water flush for solid waste removal.
By Paul Bianchina Published: July 27, 2013
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It's certainly no secret that there are both environmental and money-saving advantages to be gained by using less water, and there are a variety of ways to do that around your home. One of those is to cut down on the amount of water you use each time you flush the toilet.

Studies have shown that about four out of every five flushes of the toilet are to remove liquid waste and paper (don't ask me who studies these things, but there you have it), and that operation requires less water than flushing to remove solid waste. Dual-flush toilets, which have the option of a low-water flush for liquid waste removal or a full-water flush for solid waste removal, have been widely accepted in Europe and Australia for decades, but are just now catching on in the United States.

If you're not ready to replace your toilets with new dual-flush ones, you might instead want to consider converting your existing ones to dual-flush technology by using a HydroRight Dual Flush Converter, available for around $20 from home centers and online retailers. It's surprisingly easy to do, and the savings can be substantial; a dual-flush toilet, using the low-water flush option during those liquid-only flushes, will use about 30 percent less water, even on the newer, 1.6 gallon-per-flush toilets.

According to the manufacturer, there's another advantage as well. Since the HydroRight replaces the toilet's existing handle, chain, and flapper — three of the most common toilet problem areas — you'll be saving yourself some future maintenance headaches as well.

Simple installation

Most installations take only about 10 minutes, and can be done without tools, and without having to remove the toilet tank. Complete instructions are provided with the kit, and if you'd prefer to see an installation in action, there are several videos available on the Web as well.

First, shut off the water and flush the toilet to drain the tank. Remove the existing handle, arm, chain and flapper. Lay out and identify the various parts in the kit, then separate the release valve/button assembly and the upper housing/base unit as shown in the instructions.

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