Published on May 5th, 2014 | by Scott Cooney2
How to Turn Any Toilet into a Dual Flush Toilet
If a dual flush toilet is either out of your price range as a homeowner or out of the question as a renter, you can actually convert your existing toilet to dual flush with a handy device that’s easy to install!
With droughts like the one that is plaguing California becoming more and more commonplace and water prices getting higher all the time, a dual flush toilet might feel like a good investment right about now. Green home improvement can definitely come in handy here, but new dual flush toilets are expensive. And if you’re a renter, you probably aren’t allowed to get a new toilet installed in your apartment.
Whether you want to save money or aren’t able to invest in a factory-made dual flush toilet, you can still save water by installing a dual flush toilet kit. I’m going to walk you through the process of installing a dual flush toilet converter called the TapNFlush on a standard flapper toilet.
The TapNFlush, which I have in my home, is flat out awesome. Basically, you can convert just about any toilet to a dual flush toilet without disconnecting any plumbing, and with most toilets, in just a few minutes. I’m saving 50% of the water we used to use for liquid flushes, and 30% of the water we used to use for solid flushes. If you’re curious about how that works, see my TapNFlush review here.
Installing the TapNFlush
The basic thing to remember is that the TapNFlush has 3 main components that serve very straightforward purposes.
- First, there’s a weight controller. The weight controller has a motor in it that controls how long the flush goes on.
- Second, there’s a weighted disk. The weighted disk is connected to the flush chain and is held up by the weight controller for a certain period of time, after which it is dropped onto the flapper, forcing the flush to come to an end.
- The third part is the elegant looking flush timer control device. That device sits on top of the back of the toilet and has two dials in it. Those dials control the length of time flushes happen. It’s also the part that you “tap” when you want to let the device know to flush a liquid flush. Otherwise, the default is that it’ll do a solid flush (more water).
Here’s a graphic on the install process, which basically requires you to hang part 1, the weight controller, above the flapper, clip part 2, the weighted disk, onto the chain, and then set the dials on part 3, the flush timer:
This step involves the flush timer motor device that hangs inside the toilet tank from the front wall. Just hang it there right above the flapper or as close as possible.
It’s important to hang the timer above the flapper because you’ll now be connecting the weighted disk onto the existing chain in the toilet tank that goes from the flush lever to the flapper (see above, left).
Hang the weighted disk onto the chain above the flapper.
There are two disks that will eventually clip together. Insert the flapper chain into the hole in the blue disk. Using the thumb tab, open the disk and clamp it to the chain just above the flapper. Then put the green disk around the chain, aligning the tall rib of the green cap with the hole in the blue disk. Snap them together (it’s pretty intuitive once you have these in your hands). Now use the thumb tab on the blue disk and slide the clamped blue and green disks down the chain so they’re effectively sitting right on top of the flapper (as shown above, far right).
Now that you’re here, test that the flapper closes. Set both dials on the flush timer to 2, then tap and flush. If you see the weight drop down onto the flapper after about 2 seconds, and water begin to fill the tank again, you’re all set with this step. If it doesn’t drop down onto the flapper, or the flapper doesn’t close completely (i.e., the toilet is still flushing water), then check to see that you didn’t mess something up by putting something under the flapper, or twisting the chain around so that it’s stopping the flapper’s free movement, or something along those lines.
So remember how I mentioned our savings figures? Well, that’s the next step. The TapNFlush allows you to (literally) dial it in. Set the dials on the timer. Put the power cord around behind the toilet (out of sight, and less likely to snag on something).
Put the flush timer, as indicated, on top of the tank. Placement near the flush handle is a good idea, since the flush timer is what you “tap” in order to do a liquid flush.
Then, it’s simply a matter of adjusting the dials on the TapNFlush to where you’ll need them. The device has two dials on it that you can tweak the first few times you use it so that you can use just the right amount of water for your liquid and solid flushes.
Super simple, right? Not every toilet is this simple, of course. If you’re working on a non-standard toilet, see this addendum (PDF).
Check out this video demo of a liquid flush using the TapNFlush:
This video I took with the inventor of the TapNFlush, Jeff Nasrallah, who walks you through the inner workings of the TapNFlush in less than a minute.