Would You Think I Was Crazy if I Said I'm in LOVE with my New Dual-Flush Toilet??
Well, It's True!
We recently installed a brand new Glacier Bay dual-flush toilet in our old 1950s house. We were remodeling the bathroom and had to take the old toilet out temporarily anyway to tile the floors. I decided we deserved a brand new toilet to celebrate the purchase of our first home, as a sort of bathroom-warming gift...if you will.
There are so many things I love about her; she is beautiful, demure, curvaceous, subtle, quiet, simple, and cool. But one of the things I love most about her is the fact that she is a dual-flush model, and EPA Water-Sense certified. That makes her highly efficient, eco-friendly, and economical, on top of all her shining outer qualities. She is, quite honestly, the most perfect toilet I have ever met. And she's mine!
What's a Dual-Flush Toilet??
Dual-flush means that you have two choices when it's time to flush--there are two buttons on the top of the tank; one for peeps...and one for poops.
Now, as crass as you may find that idea, it saves a poopload of water every year, which is, by the way, a lot. My particular brand of toilet (Glacier Bay) uses about 1.1 gallons of water (a little over 3 liters) to flush liquid waste and around 1.6 gallons (6 liters) for solid waste. So, every time you choose the onesie button instead of the twosie, you save an extra half-gallon of water! But the really impressive difference is that even if you use the 'big flush' button every time, you're still saving 3.4 gallons per flush over an older toilet, some of which use about 5 gallons (19 liters) per flush!
The math isn't difficult--take the 3.4 gpf savings and multiply that by the number of times the toilet is flushed every day, let's say 10, that's 34 gallons of water a day (34 one-gallon water jugs...picture that!!), and 12,410 gallons per year. That's. A lot. Of water. And the numbers are even better when you consider the lighter flush as part of the equation.
Another great feature is that you can actually adjust the amount of water per flush for each of your options, and I believe the 1.1 and 1.6 gpf are the maximum for each option. By default, I think the settings are at the lowest end, and the installation manual does tell you to adjust accordingly, which I did. My levels are set somewhere in the middle and they are just perfect. No need for double-flushing, ever!!
Find out more about the Glacier Bay Dual Flush Toilet buttons and how to adjust the flush levels on your Glacier Bay Dual Flush Toilet here.
Some Confusion Over The Buttons
If you own this toilet, and you installed it yourself, you may remember that the instruction manual is less than perfectly clear. It is obviously a poor translation from another language, and because of this, it was originally my belief that the way the buttons are labeled in the manual are backwards, claiming that the larger button is for a big flush and the small blue button is for a small one. However, after some very informative comments from readers on this hub I have since investigated further, and ascertained that they are labeled correctly. The small blue button is for liquids and the large silver button is for solids.
Here's the deal--when you press the small blue button, both buttons are actually depressed together, which would seemingly create the larger flush. This was extremely confusing to me, so I did a little detective work, (as suggested by a reader's comment below). I took the lid off the tank and marked the water line, then turned off the water supply valve, so the tank wouldn't refill itself, and I flushed with the smaller button. I refilled the tank manually, from a graduated measuring cup, and it took exactly 1.5 gallons to get the water level back up to the marked line.
I did the same again, using the larger button to flush...and sat there scratching my head when the larger flush used exactly 1.5 gallons as well. I went back to the manual, and realized that I must have made a mistake while setting the small flush level during installation! I had the larger flush level set somewhere in the middle, and the smaller flush set to the highest... silly mistake, but easy to correct. It is difficult to see the level marks to make the adjustments because you have to do it after the mechanism is installed in the tank, and you are looking straight down on it, and the thing you need to see is really only visible from a 90 degree angle. I ended up using a flashlight and a small mirror to read the marks.
If you take the lid off the tank, you see the flushing mechanism inside, divided into two parts. If I had paid closer attention before, I would have noticed that the blue side on the left has a tiny half-moon shape, indicating a half-flush, and that the white side on the right has a full circle shape on it, indicating the full flush. Oops! It's unfortunate that I had it set incorrectly this whole time, but the good news is I was still saving water even at 1.5 gallons on every flush, and now, I'll be saving even more!! (I know, that's a very 'tank half full' way to look at it, but I'm really working on being more positive).
You Can Also Convert Your Old Toilet to a Dual-Flush System!
As far as DIY plumbing projects go, replacing an entire toilet is a pretty intense one, if you ask me. It's definitely a two-person project, and can be a little messy and gross. However, if you are interested in a dual-flush toilet, you don't necessarily have to replace the entire toilet!
You have a couple of choices, depending on the make and model of your existing porcelain throne. Replacing the tank may be a possibility--you can buy them on Amazon and they should come with all the fittings for the inside of the tank, i.e., the dual-flushing mechanism. Please be sure to check and double check before you buy--tanks are made to fit a certain way with the base of the toilet, and if you don't choose one that's compatible, you may end up finding out the hard way with water all over your bathroom floor.
Your other option is to buy a dual-flush retro-fit kit and replace the inner plumbings of your tank (which is where all the leaks and water-wasting occurs). Either of these choices will get you the same water saving results as installing a brand new toilet, and it's so much easier!
One More Reason I Really Love My New Toilet
I think it's kinda fun to have to explain to guests how to flush the toilet. Plus, a lot of people have never heard of a dual-flush toilet, or seen one with buttons on the top of the tank, so it's a lot of fun for me, being the DIY green geek that I am, to get to tell them all about it!
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this informative, inspirational, and perhaps slightly amusing. You may also be interested in some of my other articles, especially my recentlly published hub, Using Recycled Water from your Washing Machine to Water Your Plants--Be Green and Save Green!
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