eHelpfulTips How To Advice & Thrifty Tips
How to Convert A Toilet To Dual Flush
You can convert almost any 1.6 gallon flush toilet to a water saving dual flush model with a retrofit kit like the one above.
How It Works
Most low flush toilets, which are the standard today in all new homes, use all 1.6 gallons to flush. This is very wasteful when all you need is to flush the yellow stuff down the toilet, for which about half that amount or .8 gallons will suffice.
New dual flush toilets in the $300 price range. You don't need so spend a whole bunch of money to have a perfectly good dual flush toilet, made from the one you already own. Plus, you'll save yourself the hassle of taking the whole tank and bowl out and sending it to a landfill needlessly.
To understand how a dual flush toilet retrofit or conversion kit works you can simply lift up the lid of your toilet and reach down to the bottom (don't worry, this is clean water), and lift the flapper up. Let about half of the water in the tank escape and lower the flapper. You'll find that this does flush most waste from the bowl and is just the right amount for "liquids".
Below is a video showing how a dual flush retrofitted toilet works.
How Much Can a Dual Flush Conversion Kit Save?
Lets assume that you have a family of four and that each of you visits the restroom about four times a day to pee. With a regular low flow toilet you use 1.6 gallons each time, or 25.6 gallons per day or 768 gallons per month, which comes out to 9216 gallons per year. With a dual flush toilet conversion kit, your daily use would be only 12.8 gallons or 384 gallons a month or 4608 gallons a year. Your savings could be much more, since most people have guests and may use the toilet much more than this example.
You can see how quickly the thirty odd dollars a dual flush retrofit conversion kit costs can pay for itself.
How Do You Install a Dual Flush Retrofit Kit?
You should follow the instructions that come with your dual flush retrofit kit, but basically here is how it goes.
You will turn off the water supply to the tank and then flush. Use a towel or paper towels to mop up the remaining water in the tank. Then spray WD-40 or other lubricant on the two bolts that hold the tank to the bowl. Use a wrench or pliers to loosen these and also unscrew the hose that attaches to the underside of the float assembly beneath the tank. All this takes about ten minutes or less in most cases.
Next you will take the tank to a clear workspace and remove the flush valve that is screwed to the bottom of the tank, where the water exits the tank to flush into the bowl. You may need a large set of adjustable pliers to get the big plastic nut off.
Next you will unscrew the float valve assemble and replace it with the one from the dual flush conversion kit. Make sure you set the height of the float valve to the same as the float valve you removed. Now replace the old flush valve assembly with the dual flush retrofit kit. Make sure you tighten down all the plastic nuts. Next you will replace the old toilet handle with the two position dual flush handle.
Once you have swapped everything out you replace the tank, run the small line from the float valve to the flush valve as your directions show, tighten down the tank to the bowl, replace the water line to the underside of the tank and then turn on the water.
Check for leaks and if you have none try the dual flush handle first in the low flush position and next in the full flush position.
While this might sound complicated it is not. You will readily see from how the old valve comes out how the new one will go in. If in doubt about your plumbing abilities contact a plumber who can do it for you for less than fifty dollars. (Still much cheaper than a $300 dual flush toilet.)