Dual flush toilets

Want a simple way to save money at home? Then install a dual flush toilet – find out more here.

dual-flush-toiletsAround 30% of all the water used in homes is flushed straight down the toilet, says the Energy Saving Trust (EST). Added to that, the water we use to flush with in the UK is treated, drinkable water. This represents a huge waste when you consider that the current daily water consumption rate of 150 litres per person isn’t sustainable due to population growth and rainfall levels.
So, if you want to reduce your water bills and help the environment, one of the simplest ways to achieve this is to install a dual flush toilet. A dual flush will save around six litres of water per flush, says the EST, that’s around 16,000 litres a year.

What is a dual flush toilet?

Dual flush toilets were invented decades ago in Australia, where water conservation is a big issue. A dual flush toilet allows you to select either a half or full flush depending on the amount of waste which needs to be disposed of. Since then the design and efficiency of dual flush toilets has developed so that one and two piece or wall mounted models are available. The downside is that dual flush toilets retain less water in the pan and may require cleaning more often.

Do I have to buy a completely new dual flush toilet?

If you can’t afford to buy a completely new dual flush toilet then inserts can be fitted into your existing toilet to make it dual flushable. Cistern displacement or save-a-flush devices as they are known, can save up to 50% on a normal flush, says the EST, and are simple and cheap to insert.
Installing a dual flush toilet

It’s essential that you hire a qualified plumber to install your dual flush toilet. Part H of UK building regulations exist to ensure that waste is disposed of safely and without wasting water. The regulations include specifying that waste pipes and drainage run downhill from the appliance to outlet. Otherwise, a pump system such as a Saniflow will need to be installed, for example in a basement conversion.
Although not a legal requirement, consider hiring a plumber registered with a trade association such as the Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering for best results. Whoever you hire though, check their qualifications, references and insurance credentials before you sign a contract with them. Remember to get at least three quotes first to get a far idea of toilet fitting prices.

How much does a dual flush toilet cost?

A dual flush toilet may be slightly more expensive than a normal toilet – prices range from £50 to £400 from Homebase, whereas a cistern displacement device costs only about £20.
Rainwater harvesting systems

To save even more water at home, consider installing a rainwater harvesting or grey water recycling system which collects rainwater for use in washing machines, gardening and flushing toilets. This can cost around £2,000 to £3,000 says the UK Rainwater Harvesting Association; find out more about rainwater harvesting systems here.