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The Facts About Dual Flush Retrofit Kits – Do They Really Save Water or Not?
From the President of Water Saver Products: Claude B. Tyson, III – BSEE, ASMT, CCNA
If you are considering a dual flush retrofit project for the first time, you will quickly find a confusing array of kit choices and an equally confusing amount of information from a variety of sources, some saying they work great and others saying they are a waste of time and money. As with many products and “Green” products in particular, there is a lot of positive hype on one side by the various resellers and then an equal amount of negative bias from the toilet manufacturers who want you to buy a new dual flush toilet, not retrofit your old one.
As a consulting engineer with 35 years of experience in plumbing products and the president of this company, I have exhaustively studied dual flush systems and worked closely with the manufacturers on a variety of design elements. I have also personally installed and tested hundreds of dual flush retrofit kits and of course use them in my own home with plenty of feedback from my own family and friends. My business is family-owned and distinguishes itself from the other dual flush kit resellers in that we provide accurate detailed information on our kits, installation support with videos and also carry a complete line of replacement parts.
Before making your own decision on whether to try or not try a dual flush retrofit, please click the “Read More” link below for a brief overview of our findings. Then if you do go forward with the retrofit project and we of course hope that you do, please let us know about your particular installation and experience by sending any information, tips, suggestions and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
Most toilets are single flush, meaning you push the flush lever down and it simply activates a full flush cycle, using the same large amount of water each time. A dual-flush conversion kit replaces the single flush mechanism in the tank, known as the “flapper valve”, to allow for two different flush cycles: the same basic “full flush” for solid #2 waste and then a water saving “half flush” for liquid #1 waste. Rather than buying a new expensive dual-flush toilet and putting a perfectly good older one in the landfill, it can be retrofitted with basically the same dual-flush components as found in the newer toilets. Any home handyman or DIY type who is familiar with basic toilet plumbing can install these kits using common tools.
Does a Dual-Flush Retrofit Kit Really Save Water and How Much?
When a quality dual flush retrofit kit is properly matched to a given toilet and correctly installed by an informed home do-it-yourselfer (DIY), it will in fact save substantial amounts of water. Because of their frequency of use and previous design standards, toilets use and waste more water than any other home appliance, including the shower, dishwasher and clothes washer, so any water saved per flush adds up quickly. Exactly how much water is saved for a given installation depends on several factors, but assuming 1/2 to 1 gallon of water is saved per flush and considering how often the toilet is used, the math is simple and undeniable: an average family of four can save up to a surprising 10,000 gallons per year, which is about one month’s total water usage for most households.
Has The Water Savings Been Verified By Independent Plumbing Laboratories?
The water usage of most new dual flush toilets from the larger manufacturers has in fact been tested and verified by independent laboratories and endorsed by various industry and government agencies. However, even though these toilets use EXACTLY the same dual flush valves from EXACTLY the same manufacturers as our retrofit kits, the kits themselves have not been verified independently and are often not endorsed by the plumbing industry. The reason for this is simple: neither the toilet manufacturers nor plumbers make any money from DIY dual flush kits, so there is no incentive to test, sell or recommend them.
Confirming the water savings is not rocket science of course and the results are observable, measurable and can be extrapolated forward without exhaustive and expensive testing. Even better than a lab, there are thousands of real world users out there right now and many have researched and reported their own appreciable savings, though as with any similar product, results naturally do vary for a variety of reasons.
Note again that many new dual flush toilets have been fully verified and the dual flush components used in them are EXACTLY the SAME from the SAME manufacturers and built to the SAME standards as our retrofit kits.
Does a Dual Flush Kit Improve or Reduce the Flush Force or Normal Toilet Function?
The majority of dual flush retrofits IMPROVE the flush force due to the non-obstructing piston valve that replaces the old style flapper used in most toilets. Further, when properly adjusted, they do produce a full bowl clearing siphon (known as a “chug” among plumbers) on the small flush and then a larger or double chug on the full flush. In many cases, the water used on BOTH cycles can be reduced with virtually no loss of toilet function or sanitation problems. Further, many frugal customers report NEVER needing to use the full flush again. We have made a video that clearly illustrates the improved toilet function for both flush cycles on a standard toilet . . . see for yourself over on the “DIY Install” tab.
Will Installing A Dual Flush Kit Void My Warranty?
Installing ANY toilet flush components other than from the original manufacturer and not by a licensed plumber will likely void the warranty. The reason for this policy is to avoid warranty claims caused by non-factory parts and unlicensed installers, so that is understandable. However, when you think about it, the warranty issue is really not a valid concern. First of all, the toilet structure is obviously a simple fixed ceramic, so there is nothing to “break” other than the tank components and those are inexpensive and easily replaced. Secondly, when it does come time to replace the toilet flush components, most everyone simply buys a universal flush kit at their local hardware store and puts it in themselves without problems. In no way will the toilet itself be damaged or compromised with a DIY regular or dual-flush kit valve. If the dual-flush retrofit doesn’t work out, the owner can always go back to the factory or similar OEM components and no harm done.
Maximum Water $avings per Flush
along with complete DIY Quick Start Instructions.
We also offer Email Tech Support should you run into any trouble.