What are Double Flushing Toilets?

By Danika | June 12, 2023

What are Double Flushing Toilets?

Astronaut sitting on a toilet with full space suit on

Double flushing toilets have two separate user-controlled settings (with either buttons or levers) each providing a different amount of water flow. On a dual flush toilet, the first button gives a half flush of water at a low pressure, which is ideal for liquid waste. The second button delivers a full flush at higher pressure, providing enough power to clear solid waste from the bowl.

The double flush system helps conserve water by allowing users to choose the appropriate flush for their needs. Since most flushes are for liquid waste, double-flushing toilets can conserve about 4,000-6,000 gallons of water annually for a standard 1.6 GPF toilet.

(Need help with toilet installation and plumbing fixtures? Call Danika for fast reliable plumbing service in Everett and the Greater Seattle Area)

toilet water levels for full flush and half flush
Image Source: Salmon Plumbing

How Does it Differ from a Regular Toilet?

The main difference between regular toilets and double-flushing toilets lies in the type of flushing mechanism they use.

Regular toilets use only one water pressure setting. It allows the same amount of water to be discharged when you flush regardless of what type of waste is present in the bowl. They are the most common toilets you see and have a handle attached to the side of the tank. When you push down the handle, you initiate the full flush cycle. In other words, you are always using the same force and amount of water each flush.

By providing users with two flushing options, double-flushing toilets offer a more efficient way of disposing of waste. This is because users can choose the appropriate type and amount of water needed for each use. Thus, making double-flushing toilets highly efficient in conserving water while still performing as intended.

The most common design in US households for double flush toilets is the close coupled variation, which has two buttons on top of the cistern. However, if you choose a back-to-wall or wall-hung toilet, the dual flush system is integrated into the flush plate at the front of the pan.

In terms of design, double-flush toilets are available in a variety of different shapes, styles, and colors. So you can find one that will fit your bathroom perfectly, no matter what type of look and feel you are aiming to create.

close up on buttons for dual flush toilet
Image source: How Stuff Works

How Exactly Does it Work?

Whilst regular toilets come with a single flushing setting, the dual-flushing (close coupled) toilets feature two buttons, one for a full flush and the other for a half flush. The two buttons allow you to choose the volume of water needed when you flush.

The dual flush toilets’ low volume flush delivers 1.1 GPF (about 4 liters) for liquid waste. This is about 69% of the amount used by regular toilets for liquid waste. The full flush setting discharges 1.6 GPF (about 6 liters) of water for solid waste. In addition, double-flush toilets have a larger trap way for waste to travel through, leading to more efficient flushing.

The cool thing about these highly efficient toilets is that they are quieter and less prone to clogs. Plus, they are installed just like regular toilets with the same drain fittings and water lines. They deliver strong flushing performance with less water, meaning you won’t have to give up flushing power to conserve water.

a) How to flush Liquid waste

  • Close the lid before flushing to prevent microbe spread
  • Firmly press and release the smaller button of the two (for back-to-back and wall-hung toilets, press the crescent-shaped button)
  • The toilet will flush with a low volume of water and the cistern will refill with a reduced amount of water, making it highly efficient for liquid waste.

b) How to flush Solid waste

  • Close the lid before flushing to prevent microbe spread
  • Firmly press and release the larger button of the two (for back-to-back and wall-hung toilets, press the oval-shaped button)
  • The toilet will flush with a full volume of water and the cistern will refill with the required amount.
double flushing toilet button on top of tank

Do I Need a Double Flushing Toilet in My Home?

The decision to purchase a dual-flush toilet is often based on environmental and economic concerns. As we mentioned before, these toilets use less water, which means that you’ll end up saving a lot of money on your water bills.

In the last couple of years, major toilet manufacturers in the US have been working hard to develop water-efficient, comfortable, and stylish toilets for households. Working in conjunction with Environmental Protection Agency, the toilets have been redesigned to fit in with modern-day bathrooms, delivering excellent performance while using less water.

These toilets are marketed as a great choice for households looking to conserve water and reduce their energy consumption. However, they may not be the perfect solution for everyone.

  • Not ideal for commercial establishments
  • Reaching the top of the tank might be difficult for some with mobility issues
  • Children may not be strong enough to push or reach the buttons on top of the tank
  • If a house has elderly people or young children, they may have difficulty distinguishing buttons.

We recommend that you consider investing in double-flushing toilets if:

  • You care about the environment: A community’s widespread use of these toilets can lead to significant water savings, which is great for the environment.
  • You want to save money and water: These toilets use less water than regular toilets, meaning you’ll end up saving on your monthly water bill.
  • You want a quieter flush and less clogging: The double flush toilets are designed to be quieter and less prone to clogs, making them a great choice for busy households (no need for drain cleaners-which you should never use anyway)
  • You want a stylish and comfortable toilet: Thanks to the recent advancements in toilet design, you can now have a modern-looking and comfortable dual-flush toilet.

Related reading: 6 Signs of a Clogged Drain

Wrapping Up…

Times are changing and so do our needs for innovative and efficient use of water, not just to save money but also to be mindful of the environment. So now that the toilet market has been adapting to these changes, why not go ahead and upgrade your bathrooms with double-flushing toilets? Their simple operation, low maintenance, water-saving features, and stylish design make them the perfect choice for any household.

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