Dual Flush Toilet

Changing bathroom fittings can save water.

A dual flush toilet offers all the features of a standard toilet but includes important water saving features.

The flushing of a toilet is one of the major uses of water within a household. Water is a necessary part of bathroom hygiene, however the traditional form of flush uses several gallons of water. The actual amount will vary by type and performance of the individual toilet, however a report on the ConserveWater.Utah.gov website states that the average amount of water used in a pre 1992 toilet is between 3.5 and 5 gallons per flush.

This is an amazing amount of water and when it is added up, is a significant amount of water that is literally flushed down the drain a day. Just imagine the quantity of water in one 3 gallon flush. The large bottles of water that supply water coolers contain 5 gallons, so more than one of these are used with every two flushes of an old style toilet.

In 1992 the U.S. government stated that new toilets should use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This represents a large savings over old style devices and while this is only the requirement in post 1992 toilet systems, many households change their bathroom suites reasonably regularly and are already taking advantage of water saving equipment.

The Dual Flush Toilet System

It has long been recognized that there are more efficient ways of flushing toilets. Over the years people have tried to save water by putting a brick in the water cistern which reduces the amount of water released in each flush. This is an effective way of reducing the amount of water used, however it is very informal and ad hoc, and does not offer a consistent water saving method.

The dual flush toilet system is a toilet with two buttons to operate the flush. One button gives a short flush and the other button operates the full flush. The system has the added benefit of using significantly less water, even on the full flush.

Most dual flush systems uses less than a gallon for the short flush. This is an amazing saving over the old style toilets where the same flush was made regardless of the actual requirement. The short flush is designed to remove fluids, leaving the long flush in dual flush systems to deal with the flushing away of solids.

This smart way of dealing with two types of toilet waste adds significantly to the saving of water in households.

Problems With Short Flush Systems

Some problems with early water saving toilet flush systems were that there was not enough water flushed down the toilet and into the drains to effectively remove all the waste and blockages sometimes happened. Although this was reported to happen only occasionally, it was still an unpleasant experience. These issues have been resolved and new systems are not prone to blocking.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring a program called WaterSense. In a similar manner to EnergyStar, this gives consumers the confidence to buy goods knowing that they have met rigorous and defined standards. Products that are labeled with the WaterSense mark are all guaranteed to save water and to meet high quality standards.

WaterSense have identified a range of High Efficiency Toilets (HET) and these include several dual flush models. A complete list of these products are available on the high efficiency toilet section of the EPA website.

According to the EPA, if the whole of the U.S. was to replace old style toilets with WaterSense labeled toilets, approximately 2 billion gallons per day could be saved across the country.

For more information take a look at the WaterSense website - epa.gov/watersense

Saving water need not mean a change in lifestyle -- by replacing old equipment with modern devices with many efficient features built in as standard, significant savings can be made which are good for the wallet as well as for the environment.

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Dual Flush Toilet