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Dual-Flush Valves: Two Ways To Save


I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, plumbing fixtures and water savings.

Water conservation has become the standard in new restroom design, whether the larger goal is to comply with local codes, to lower operating costs, to appeal to environmentally conscious customers, or to obtain points under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

But before installing these products, managers must perform due diligence on the way systems will interact and determine if particular products are the right fit for their facilities. Otherwise, problems can occur. The manufacturer might not have tested a water-efficient fixture rigorously, or it might be installed in a space for which it was not intended. For these reasons, managers must examine the restroom's design as a whole to ensure fixture performance.

For new buildings, perhaps the most common water-saving restroom strategy is to install dual-flush toilets. Dual-flush technology, which uses either 1.1 gallons per flush (gpf), or 1.6 gpf, has been available for several years, and dual-flush toilets have been a successful option for water-conscious managers. They also are appealing options because they can be retrofit into existing buildings and used on smaller projects where the goal is to save water.

One example of the issues with dual-flush toilets is that the user must pull up on the handle of a flush valve to produce the lower-flow flush. But for most people, the reflex is to push down. This situation introduces a possible user error — namely, how do managers know users are performing the right flush? This issue can make it more difficult to predict water savings.

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