Dual-Flush Systems: Good For Conservation Or Just A Gimmick?

7 April 2017
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If you manage a commercial center and need to replace any toilets, you now have the option of getting dual-flush systems, in which there are two flush options for liquid and other waste. These systems are supposed to be excellent for saving water, but they also have a few issues that might make regular low-flush toilets a better choice. It really depends on whether your center's tenants and customers are able to follow instructions because the conservation associated with these systems is active, rather than passive.

Water Conservation

Dual-flush systems have two handles. One releases a smaller amount of water for liquid waste, while the second releases a stronger flush for solid waste. Since liquid waste doesn't need a lot of push behind it to drain from the toilet, the weaker flush works well and doesn't use up as much water. As far as conservation goes, if the toilet is used correctly, then yes, you can save a lot of water and lower your water bills. These toilets are becoming standard in other countries that experience long-term drought, and they can be very helpful if your state experiences a drought, too.

Memory

However, that conservation relies on people remembering to use the right handle. People have to actively choose the conservation feature, as opposed to a low-flush toilet that conserves water per flush no matter what people do. If you don't think people in the center will remember to flush correctly, a regular low-flush toilet would be a better choice. And remember, there are also those who will simply ignore the instructions even if they remember them. You have to decide how much you're willing to risk having people use the wrong handle because they simply can't be bothered to change.

Cost

Dual-flush systems do cost more to install, partly because the equipment costs more and because they require retrofitting. The dual water system requires more equipment and modifications to the plumbing delivering water to the toilet. The cost can be worth it if you're confident people will use the toilets correctly because your water bills will be lower over time. If you think that still might be an issue, though, low-flow would be better.

Talk to plumbers who handle commercial systems, and see if they have previous experience with dual-flush systems. If so, they can let you know what they've seen in terms of ability to adjust and how much conservation has actually been achieved.