Dual-Flush Toilets Save Money AND the Environment
Designed in the 1980s in Australia, a continent with little rain and frequent, prolonged droughts, the dual-flush toilet is in widespread use throughout Europe and Asia, and is actually mandated by law in Australia and Singapore. These toilets have two separate handles or buttons for flushing, which allows you to manually select the volume of water desired for each flush-a half flush of 0.8 gallons for liquid waste and a full flush of 1.3-1.6 gallons (depending on the model) for solid waste.
How much difference does it make?
Toilets utilize the most water out of anything in our homes, and account for up to 40% of our indoor water consumption. The average person flushes a toilet 5-8 times per day. Using a dual flush toilet can reduce water consumption by up to 67%! That's good news for the environment and your wallet too.
According to the US Government Accountability Office, 36 states expect freshwater shortages over the next 10 years. The EPA states that if every home in the United States would switch to dual-flush toilets, we would save close to 640 billion gallons of water per year. That’s the equivalent of one million Olympic-size swimming pools!
Dual-flush toilets used to be more expensive than standard flush toilets and require a professional plumber to install, but as Americans continue to look for more ways to be green, prices have come down and dual-flush toilets now cost the same as standard-flush toilets and are just as easy to install. There is no need to put in new pipes or plumbing. If a family of four replaces their standard toilets with dual-flush systems, their annual water bill savings will average $170. In addition, many local and state governments offer rebates and tax incentives for making the switch.
How do they work?
In order to understand how a dual-flush toilet differs from a standard-flush toilet we need to review how a standard toilet works. Standard toilets use a siphoning action to remove the waste. When the toilet is flushed the water from the bowl fills the siphon tube and pulls the waste down with it. As soon as air enters the tube the siphoning action stops. This method requires a significant amount of water to pull the waste out of the toilet.
By contrast, a dual-flush toilet uses a larger trapway (the hole at the bottom of the bowl) design that pushes the water out of the bowl, instead of pulling. This system does not require a large volume of water because no siphoning is involved. An added bonus is that due to the larger trapway dual-flush toilets are much less likely to clog as a standard-flush toilet.
Growing concern about the state of our environment, coupled with the rising costs of water and sewage, are encouraging more and more Americans to consider dual-flush toilets. This has prompted many toilet manufacturers and retailers to get into the business, making dual-flush toilets fairly easy to acquire for the homeowner looking to save money and natural resources.