What's the deal with low-flow and dual-flush toilets?

Benefits of Dual-Flush Toilets

There's really no downside to dual-flush toilets, either. They use about .8 gallons per flush for liquid waste and the standard 1.6 gallons for solid matter, a concept that makes total sense -- we actually wonder why it took this long to implement it. The American Water Works Association says that the average dual-flush user flushes 4.8 gallons per day, as opposed to 8 gallons for toilets that use 3.5 gallons per flush. When you compare a dual-flush to a conventional low-flow toilet, the dual-flush uses about 25 percent less water.

Because your annual water bill will decrease by about $100 (or more with a dual-flush), investing $100 to $300 in a high-efficiency toilet is actually a money-saving endeavor. And when you take into account that installing a low-flow or dual-flush toilet is no more difficult than installing a traditional toilet, the decision becomes even more of a no-brainer.

If you still don't want to shell out the money for a new toilet, there are plenty of DIY options for making your old porcelain throne into a low-flow. All you have to do is take a sand- or pebble-filled half-gallon plastic jug and sink it in your toilet tank -- this will save you a half-gallon per flush. You can also buy extremely inexpensive, easy-to-install converter kits that can make your toilet into a dual-flush in a matter of minutes.

So, now that you know the ins and outs of low-flows and dual-flushes, there's really no reason not to take the plunge and buy one already! On the next page you can learn more about the inner workings of toilets.

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  • Chiras, Dan. "Best Options for High-Efficiency Toilets." Mother Earth News, April/May 2010. (July 8, 2012) http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/best-options-for-high-efficiency-toilets.aspx
  • Nash, Jenny. "The Lowdown on Low-Flow Toilets." HGTV.com. (July 8, 2012) http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/the-lowdown-on-low-flow-toilets/index.html
  • Thomas, Justin. "The Best Low-Flow Toilets." Treehugger, Aug. 29, 2005. (July 5, 2012) http://www.treehugger.com/bathroom-design/the-best-low-flow-toilets.html