Friday, July 23, 2010

Saving the Planet One Flush at a Time

I really dig those dual flush toilets. You know, the expensive jobbers with the two-way flusher. One direction releases just enough to flush a bit of paper and the liquid in the bowl. The other direction gives it the full flush for more thrust in times of need. I like the idea of saving water, both for the environment and for our checkbook. But replacing our relatively new toilets with these water-saving contraptions is a bit costly.

Enter an impulse buy today at our friendly neighborhood warehouse store. As I was meandering, child-free, through the aisles, I spotted this HydroRight dual-flush converter. It touted easy installation. Indeed, the box shouted "no tools required!" And it was only 18 bucks; certainly worth a try. I picked up two, hoped for the best, and headed toward home.

The installation was, in fact, a cinch. The most difficult part was removing the existing handle. Before I figured out (on the second toilet) that the handle is reverse threaded, I managed to strip the first handle which then had to be knocked out with the help of a hammer and chisel. Why they were reverse threaded I'll never know, but I thought I'd confess my mistake here to save you some time - and a handle in case you decide to turn back.

The first toilet probably took me close to 15 minutes to complete, including breaking the old handle, actually reading and following the instructions, and finally calibrating the gadget. The second toilet probably took me 8 minutes at most, including the easy calibration.

The only thing I would change about the setup would be to move the link that attaches to the "handle" so that it doesn't conflict with the fill tube. By placing that link on the side of the mechanism, instead of on the back where it mashes against the fill tube, the system would install more easily, and would probably last longer.

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  1. Neat! I have never seen cheap ones before. I wonder how long it will last. It should say in the instructions... HINT: existing old style handles are threaded backwards. I guess they want to be like lawn mower blades.

  2. Toilets account for approx. 30% of water used indoors. By installing a Dual Flush toilet you can save approx. 40% of water being flushed down the toilet, compared to a standard, modern 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush) model. If your toilet has been installed prior to 1994, you are using 3.5 gallons or more each single flush. The water savings you can achieve by upgrading to a Dual Flush toilet are substantial. By reducing your water usage, you are also reducing the cost of your water bill!!
    If you are serious about saving water, want a toilet that really works and is affordable, I highly recommend installing a Caroma Dual Flush toilet. They offer a patented dual flush technology consisting of a 0.8 Gal flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 Gal flush for solids. On an average of 5 uses a day (4 liquid/ 1 solid) a Caroma Dual Flush toilet uses an average of 0.96 gallons per flush. The new Sydney Smart uses only 1.28 and 0.8 gpf, that is an average of 0.89 gallons per flush. This is the lowest water consumption of any toilet available in the US. Caroma, an Australian company set the standard by giving the world its first successful two button dual flush system in the 1980’s and has since perfected the technology. With a full 3.5″ trap way, these toilets virtually never clog. All 47 floor mounted models are on the list of WaterSense labeled HET’s (High Efficiency toilets) and qualify for the various toilet rebate programs available in the US. Please visit my blog
    to learn more or visit to see how we flush potatoes with 0.8 gallons of water, meant for liquids only. Best regards, Andrea Paulinelli

  3. All hail to the Dual Flush converter. I was really skeptical about these products too, but we just installed 3 of them (also the MJSI HydroRight products!) and they've been great. I agree that the first one was a little tricky, but I actually watched some of their how-to videos on their Facebook page ( and it was a breeze for the other 2!


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