Attempting to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle in St. Louis

Environmentally friendly decisions are tough

The toilet situation isn’t looking so good. August 29, 2007

Filed under: Live Green 2.0,Mechanical Systems,Toilet — budint @ 2:01 am

Asian Toilet

Now you normally hear this when traveling through East Asia after you just ate swordfish at the buffet (or at least I did), but I’m not talking about Asia or swordfish, I’m talking about our selection of dual flush toilets here in the U.S.

Quick History/Background: Not everyone puts the same amount of waste down the toilet with each trip to the restroom, but for decades we’ve been using the same amount of water to push both (large/small) amounts of waste down the toilet. The Europeans figured this out long ago and thus dual-flush toilets exist all over Europe, but for some reason the U.S. is WAY behind.

Toto Not until recently would I have thought this to be such a difficult task. But finding a dual-flush toilet that wasn’t much more than a standard toilet, is in fact difficult. (see picture above of Toto Aquai Dual-flush, runs just over $300).

Caroma, an Australian toilet maker, offers about 10 dual-flush toilets in the U.S., but the cheapest I’ve found is $399.
And finally, I also found a dual-flush toilet at Costco for $209, which is actually a price I wouldn’t mind paying for each of the 3 toilets I need. However, the brand is unknown (Waterridge) and though the folks in the online discussion communities say “don’t worry, Costco has a great return policy”, the last thing I want is to have to return a used toilet.

Compare the above selections to a standard low-flow (1.6GPF) toilet such as an American Standard, Kohler or Eljer, which can all be had for about $141 and it’s a tough decision. Not to mention, you’re not exactly rewarded for water conservation in St Louis, like you might be in Texas or S. Cal.

Let’s do the math: cheapest dual-flush is $330 (includes shipping) x 3 toilets = $990

Pick the Champion Right Height Elongated from Lowes $141 x 3 = $423 for a difference of $567. Wow, I could buy a solar panel with that savings. Or maybe 8 pair of hemp pants (I don’t really want hemp pants).

So what does one do? Why doesn’t American Standard do dual-flush? Do I go with one of those dual-flush conversion kits? Kind of scary, though someone may prove me wrong.

I’ll need to spend some time thinking about this one.

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41 Responses to “The toilet situation isn’t looking so good.”

  1. James Says:

    If it’s yellow, let it mellow.
    If it’s brown, flush it down.

    That’s the cheapest way.

  2. Matt Says:

    Get the CostCo toilet, they don’t sell junk.

  3. Rob Says:

    I am a Water Conservation Representative in the Central Coast, CA area. Most water utilities (at least on the West Coast) now offer rebates (ours is now $150 each) for High Efficiency Toilets (HETs) – dual-flush toilets are one type of HET. See the following link for a list of HETs, how much water they use, and how they are rated as far as maximum flush performance, which is VERY IMPORTANT when it comes to actual water savings and plumbing (clogging) issues (avoid conversion kits). There are a LOT of great, new devices and appliances on the market today, and most water utilities/agencies have conservation staff like myself, whose job it is to help the public be aware of and understand these beneficial devices. Additionally, many energy utilities offer rebates for appliances, like High Efficiency washing machines, since they are also much less energy intensive.
    http://www.cuwcc.org/toilet_fixtures.lasso

    Best,
    RC

  4. Chris Says:

    Any toilet can be made into a dual flush toilet in a matter of minutes by just installing an adjustable toilet flapper that you can purchase at any hardware store. The cost is minimal compared to the price of a new toilet. Adjust the flapper for a low volume flush, so when you depress the handle only a small quantity of water is discharged. When you need more water volume, all you have to do is hold the handle for the required few seconds rather than just doing a depress and release.

    I have had an adjustable flapper for years now and it has worked flawlessly.

    http://www.fluidmaster.com/flapper_intl_products_502.html

  5. Joe Brok Says:

    I own Dual Flush Conversions Ltd. We provide an in-home dual flush conversion service. We install new fill valves as well as state of the art dual flush valves into your existing toilet.Flush volumes are independantly adjustable for maximum efficiency and performance.We drill a hole into the tank lid and install two atractive chrome push buttons.We remove the old flush lever and install a nice chrome plug.All that and all new seals and washers from the spud washer on up for only $75.oo installed ( plus tax ) We have been testing them in our own homes for years and they work great.

  6. Sa Says:

    “Why doesn’t American Standard do dual-flush?”

    Yes, they DO have a dual-flush toilet (Flowise dual-flush) and they are cheap
    ($190 w/ seat at Home Depot). I just install one on my
    basement. I also have a TOTO dual-flash on the main floor
    but TOTO is hard and expensive to install but look better
    than the American Standard. Both flush very good with high
    MaP.

  7. John Shearouse Says:

    I just bought a Costco Dual Flush toilet and installed it myself. We have a family of eight, so there is a lot of flushing! The toilet works great. So far, nobody has had to flush twice– works better than our old 13 litre we replaced

  8. Josh Says:

    What about replacement parts? Availability, cost, etc? I’m all for conservation, the option of dual flush, & I like the look of the Costco Toilet. But what happens when a $5 part breaks, or the tank seal leaks? Where do I go to get the parts I will need to fix it?

    • Ken SCHARF Says:

      I have a Costco bought Waterridge one piece dual flush toilet and the tank seal is leaking. I have checked all the local home improvement stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Rona, and Canadian Tire. No one has parts for this problem. Where Do I Go?

  9. Jim Says:

    I bought a Costco dual flush for $199.99 a few days ago. The toilet looks great, nice glazing, installed with no leaks or problems. As far as parts. The valve is a Flowmaster and is available at HD, lowes or local supply houses. There is an 800# for support on the box for additional questions. Highlight is that this toilet also comes standard with a soft close toilet seat, $65 option on the Toto Drake.

  10. John Says:

    “Why doesn’t American Standard do dual-flush?”
    Be careful, AS originally has a FloWise 1.28 or HET with a 2.125″ trap and pricey. What you want is a “FloWise EL Dual Flush”. Bowl 3067.216 & Tank 4035.216.
    I was challenged to find even a 6L unit that succesfully flushed every time. For $400, I tried 2 of the top rated toilets that plugged or weren’t flat (based rocked). I ended-up with the FloWise EL and wasn’t looking for a dual flush unit. It looks good, is elongated, flushes successfully, comes with a seat and is about $190! The seat is NOT a soft close despite what the brochure says.This unit doesn’t use an engineered trapway for “pulling” a fixed 6L charge through. Instead it uses a simple sump type trap for a seal with a large cavity downstream. The design washes the bowl thoroughly. 2 buttons on the flush valve makes no sense as holding down the “3L” button produces a heavier “6L” flush just-the-same.
    The higher end AS toilets come with a 10 year warranty. This one might not. Who cares, finally a toilet that works!

  11. Chip Says:

    In responding to John’s comment, I decided this was the toilet to go for in “greening” up my house. On the Am. Std. website, the toilet is not listed. I just called Am. Std. and they said it was due to come out April but it’s been pushed back to July. How did you get one?

    Anybody had experience with the Kohler/Sterling Karsten 402025?

    I’m wanting to go dual-flush and the Toto Aquia makes me nervous on the retrofit. I have a color problem too in one bath.

  12. Harry Says:

    Toilets in Europe (Netherlands) are cheap. A dual flush cistern/cabinet (is that the right word?) cost abt. 50 EU (or more if you want more), see Gamma, Karwei or Praxis, all with http://www.~.nl.
    Greetings Harry

  13. Sajan Thomas Says:

    I bought the Costco dual flush toilet a year ago. Now the flush stopped working. I don’t know how to fix it..anyone knows ?

    • rlzonies Says:

      I also bought the Water Ridge Costco dual flush toilet and the full flush only would stick open. Well I ordered a new valve from Globe Union Laredo 8001 San Gabriel, Laredo, TX 78045, US Email Support@globeunion.com, Fax 1-888-663-2603 Phone: 1-866-907-8003. Part # A700215-GBG1 Flush Valve. They sent it NO Charge due to the warranty. In the mean time I found a fix on the internet: So now I have a spare valve when this one goes.

      Shut off the water. Flush. Remove the stopper-valve-tower-an eighth of a turn counter clockwise. On one side of the tower there is a vertical yellow bar with a turquoise inverted cup attached. There are notches on the yellow bar so that the cup can be adjusted up or down. Move the cup up two or three notches. Re-install the tower, turn the water on and try it. This adjustment seems to fix the problem with the full flush.

  14. Hall Says:

    Try taking the lid off. The plungers in the lid (the fingers that push the buttons in the tank sometimes get misaligned or their stroke mis adjusted.) Test for this by taking the lid off and pushing the buttons in the tank by hand. If it flushes ok then its a problem in the lid plunger assembly.

  15. Bird Says:

    Hi, we just bought an American Standard FloWise Dual Flush Toilet but can’t figure out how to get the water level higher in the actual toilet bowl. Any ideas?

  16. adanac Says:

    Unfortunately, you cannot get the water level higher in the bowl with a dual flush toilet.

  17. Linda Says:

    I bought 3 Waterridge toilets at Costco last July. Two of them keep running. I’ve adjusted the water level in the tank, but to no avail. I just realized the other day that the tank is cracked on one of them, so I’m returning it to Costco. (Yes I’m returning a used toilet … I’m going to clean it though before I return it!) They still have the toilet in stock, so they are going to honor my return.

    I’m trying to decide if I should replace it with the same toilet, or go somewhere else and buy a different brand. I’m also trying to decide if I should return the other toilet that keeps running as well. I’m torn because it’s a pain to take out and install 2 new ones. The 3rd toilet hasn’t had any problems so far, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

    What would you do?

    • gary Says:

      I have one from Costco and one I bought at Sams. Both dual flush and different brands. They both run and I take the lid of and adjust the screw in the bowl a few times. I don’t know what I am doing but then they don’t run. But it only lasts for a few weeks, and starts running again. So I am thinking about changing them out for standard toilets.

  18. potsy Says:

    I bought a costco toilet and was disapointed with the flush power–none! So I’m returning it and getting a more powerful flush like the Am Std cadet 3 or the toto drake–or I might just stick with my old 3.5 gal Norris that still works fine and flushes everything down with ease.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    MaP testing on Costco’s one piece is said to be 500. That puts it in the same league as 7 of the Toto models,….good enough for me!

  20. Noblejohn Says:

    Dual Flowise toilets are availble in Canada at Home Hardware Stores for $189 CDN. ,
    check it out.

  21. Steve Says:

    Try a dual flush conversion kit. The best ones are made by ecoflush and take about thirty minutes to install on a 1.6 gallon per flush toilet to make it a dual flush.

  22. Sophie Says:

    We purchased 3 dual flush toilets from Costco and installed one to see how well it worked…the others were awaiting our renovation. Sadly we are not at all happy with this toilet. We had a plumber install it for us but at some point I noticed the seat was not centered properly so I tried moving it slightly so it would be more centered. Each time you sat on the seat it would move over until finally it rested “off center” again. So now we have a toilet with a seat that will not stay in the right place. However, worse yet is we had an overflow and had to call someone in to call someone in to fix it … there goes over $100 of our so called “savings”. He suggested that when we press down the button we hold it down for a while instead of just pushing it. By keeping it down it sends down more water… who knew? I’d have to look for the bill to see when we bought them but my guess is around 6 months ago. Prior to the “overflow” (and yes it was a ‘dirty’ job) I recall walking by and hearing it as though it had not stopped flushing… it did that a few times before the overflow. Well guess what today I walked by the bathroom and heard the same sound and I was no where near the toilet for hours. Needless to say the 2 toilets will definitely be going back and I will be asking them to take back the “used” one as well. I’m hoping they will take it back. So much for the good deal.

  23. Michele Says:

    We recently installed an American Standard Flowise toilet that came with a self-closing seat (which is not made by AS) from Home Depot. Their instructions say to follow the seat mftrs. instructions to attach the seat…..there weren’t any!

    We thought we had it figured out but it’s not working for us. The seat closes just fine. The problem with it is when you sit down the seat slips off to one side if you are not very, very careful in positioning yourself. It’s becoming very, very annoying!

    We can’t figure out how to tighten it up. Has anyone else encountered this?

    Thanks for your anticipated replies.

  24. exnfl20 Says:

    We have purchased over 100 HET Dual Flush Toilets from Sams Club for our sports camps. In the last year we have not had to plunge a stopped up toilet.

    We have also donated these same toilets to our kids new school and they have worked flawlessly!

  25. Dave Says:

    You mentioned East Asia? When we bought a condo in Singapore we decided to get new toilets for each of the 2 baths in that unit. US$100 installed, each. Dual flow (3 and 4 liters). Works so well on 3 liters that we never have to use the high flow. So the $100 (installed) toilet in Singapore uses half the water of the 1.6 gal. USA units, and works like a “clock” every time.
    The US$550 fridge has 3 doors. The 3rd door is actually a draw for a chest-style crisper, that has a UV LED to keep green veggies fresh for weeks.
    The US$200 washer is all electronic (no 1940s mechanical timer that costs more to replace than to buy a new washer), and has “infinite” auto water level setting, to save water and energy.
    When will we learn what works right elsewhere, and consider adopting it?

  26. Janette Says:

    We bought the Costco Water Ridge dual flush a year ago, and it’s terrible. Constantly plugs up, and you end up wasting so much water having to flush it over and over to clear it. Plungers don’t seem to work on it at all. Absolutely hate this toilet but it looks like we’re stuck with it for now.

  27. richard garcia Says:

    I have a dual flush toilet I bought at Costco. It is filling the resavoir really slow. Called the 1 800 number they told me it sounded like the fill valve. They have sent me two both are for single flush toilets I have a dual flush toilet. I am afraid to call again because they might send me another single flush valve. Please advise.
    Thank you Richard Garcia

  28. Bennett Says:

    I also bought a dual flush at Costco and have the slow tank filling problem, guess I am lucky that I did not get the overflow model. The toilet now only fills the tank intermittantly so one never knows when it will actually flush at all, guess it is time to return it and find a better toilet. Never seen such a temperamental toilet in my life.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    bought 3 waterridge toilets from costco,all three flush great but all three keep running after you flush.worst toilet i have ever owned.

  30. doug harold Says:

    i’m anonymous didn’t mean to leave out name,i hope someone from waterridge or costco could reply to my comments above

  31. [...] The toilet situation isn’t looking so good. « Attempting to Live a …Aug 29, 2007 … I have a Costco bought Waterridge one piece dual flush toilet and the tank seal is leaking. I have checked all the local home improvement … [...]

  32. Mejus Says:

    Not easily wiuhott removing the tank.But wiuhott going to that extreme:Once you remove the lid of the tank, it will allow you to get a little closer on the top. You can use a brush all the way around, which will also get paint on the backside of the tank but that should not be a problem.One method I have used in the past is:I put paint in a spray bottle (like Windex or something) adjust the nozzle to a fine spray, and then slowly spray down and around the area. You have to be ready with a brush or rag to catch the drippings that will occur below. Good Luck

  33. Chris R. Says:

    I have 3 Water Ridge dual flush toilets I bought at Costco. One of the three, when you use the higher capacity there are times it get STUCKED and the water just keeps going the toilet bowl.. There is one, after stops filling the tank, in few minutes, I could hear it start filling it again and again, All the 3 SEATS of the toilets keeps going out of alignement (off the toilet center) no matter how you tighten the plastics screws. Its so frustrating. Please advise.

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