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Would You Think I Was Crazy if I Said I'm in LOVE with my New Dual-Flush Toilet??

Updated on September 11, 2012
No, really.  I'm in love with my new dual-flush toilet!
No, really. I'm in love with my new dual-flush toilet! | Source

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!

Dual-flush toilet gives you two buttons to choose from for each flush: peeps or poops?
Dual-flush toilet gives you two buttons to choose from for each flush: peeps or poops? | Source

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!!

A look at the mechanism inside the tank of a Glacier bay dual-flush toilet.
A look at the mechanism inside the tank of a Glacier bay dual-flush toilet. | Source

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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    • jezebellamina profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Dallas, TX

      @Sharkye11 It may be worth checking with your city to see if they have some kind of rebate or incentive. My future mother in law just got 2 brand new dual flush toilets free from the city of Fort Worth and all she had to do was pay to have them installed. There was a waiting list and it did take several months to get them but I'd say that's a pretty good deal!

      It's in everyone's best interest to conserve their resources of water; maybe other cities will begin following suit if they haven't already!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • jezebellamina profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Dallas, TX

      @TToombs thanks so much, I appreciate the kind words!

      The first time I saw a dual flush toilet was in Europe probably 10 years ago . I remember thinking, 'as soon as I see one of these that I can afford in the US, I'm getting one!'

      Lo and behold, they have them at Home Depot now for a little over $100, and I was able to make my lifetime dream come true a lot sooner than I expected. Having no other dreams to pursue, now I make my life worthwhile by writing about my awesome toilet :)

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      This is pretty cool. We have one of the ooooolllld toilets that I'm sure uses at least fifty gallons per flush. And you are lucky if it flushes on the second try rather than the third or fourth. I definitely can't wait to save up for a more economical toilet model, and I think I fell in love a little with yours. Great hub!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I ran across one of these lovely little latrines in a hotel recently and was intrigued. When we buy ourselves a house, I will definitely be putting one of these in asap. Oh, and a great write up. I love your writing style! Voted up and shared.

    • jezebellamina profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Thank you so much, billo and for your comments. I finally did measure the water used by each flush, and found that I had mistakenly set the small flush to its highest possible level, making it use exactly the same amount as the larger flush at 1.5 gallons, which is why it was so difficult to tell any difference between the flushes.

      I still don't fully understand how the system works to use less water by depressing both sides of the mechanism, but at least I know for sure which button does what and how much water is being used!

      I have corrected the article to reflect the facts, and again, thank you for setting me straight!

    • profile image 

      7 years ago

      Yes. The smaller button is for liquids and the larger button is for solids. You can do a similar test by pressing each button and timing how long before the refilling stops. The larger button will take about 50% longer time to refill!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The smaller blue button is for liquids (even though it presses both sides of the mechanism). And the larger button is for solids (even though it only presses one side of the mechanism (the white side).

      If you don't believe me, mark the water level inside the bowl and shut of the water supply to the tank. Flush the toilet with the smaller blue button, then use a graduated bucket (or gallon jug) to manually add water to the tank. You'll find the blue button uses around 1 gallon and the larger silver button uses 1.5 gallons!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative and fun to read.

      Thank you for enlightening us about dual-flushing toilets.

      Looks like we need to go shopping for three new greener toilets.

      Hooray for DIYers!

    • Ash Hicks profile image

      Ash Hicks 

      7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      I loved my dual flush toilet, and I had the same issue! The bigger button was for 'number one,' and the smaller button was for 'number two.' It's because on average, people only go 'number two' about once a day. They go pee a lot more often, so the bigger button is easier to locate and depress. It's not about the amount that's in the john, it's about how much you use it. Thank you for posting this article! I think I am in love with your toilet at well!


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