Home & Garden

Ask a plumber: Choose your flush with a dual-flush toilet

The Highline Elongated Dual Flush Toilet from Kohler.
The Highline Elongated Dual Flush Toilet from Kohler. TNS

Q: We’ve read your columns on water-saving toilets and want to replace our old master bedroom toilet. Since this is our private bathroom, we want a new toilet that will be efficient and fit our lifestyle. Are dual-flushing toilets considered high-efficiency toilets? We are looking to save water but want to choose our own flushing options.

Mark and Cheryl, Massachusetts

A: Installing a new high efficiency toilet is one of the best ways to start saving water in your home. Standard toilets are rated at 1.6 gallons per flush, while a high efficiency toilet is rated about 1.28 gpf or lower.

The reason dual-flush toilets can be a popular choice is because they can deliver a full standard flush when needed. But, if you’re basically flushing liquids, a second flushing option is available at about 1 gpf.

In most cases, when you average in the amount of highly efficient water-saving flushes used, a dual-flush toilet can qualify as a high efficiency toilet. That is good news for anyone looking for a high efficiency toilet where you can choose your flushing options.

Speaking of flushing, some dual-flush toilets use buttons; others use a special lever, so you may have to duel over the flushing style of your new high efficiency toilet .

Master contractor and plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call” and the host of TV and Internet shows. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com.