Dual Flush Conversion

A few weeks ago, Jeremy and I converted the toilet in the hall bathroom into a dual-flush toilet. After reviewing our utilities, we saw that the one bill that hasn’t decreased over the years was our water bill. We hoped that converting our most used toilet into a dual flush toilet could help save more water (and monies).

Jeremy did the research and decided on the One2Flush drop-in converter kit. You can read about the kit and installation instructions here. Jeremy chose this kit because it comes with both a button and a handle. We thought that the double button would be more obvious to guests that this is not a “normal” toilet. With the handle, Jeremy worried that people would not realize that half-flush was an option. Another reason why we chose this kit is because it claims to fit most toilets and completely replaces the rubber flap. The flap is replaced with a piston mechanism that flushes the water out with an increased force. This allows the toilet to flush effectively with less water.

P1080284 P1080289The first step was replacing the rubber flap with the silicone seal that connects to the piston mechanism. In the first photo you might notice the ridges on the sides of the pipe. These ridges prevented the seal from fitting securely on top of the opening. A loose fit means that the toilet will keep running. Jeremy used his dremmel to shave down the sides of the pipe and make it smooth. Then he was able to secure the silicone seal and install the rest of the kit.

Complete KitHere is the final installation. On top of the seal is the piston mechanism. On this device is where you can set the water levels for “full” and “half” flushes. We have them both set to their minimum. This mechanism connects (via the yellow hose) to the button or handle. Other reviewers mentioned that a kink in the connection hose causes the toilet to not flush properly.

After the installation was complete we let the tank refill and tried a few test flushes. The button was not as responsive as we had hoped, and the full-flush always left the toilet running. After adjusting the pieces and trying to refit the silicone seal, we replaced the dual button with the handle.

Dual Flush HandleWe positioned the handle vertically, again to cue our guests that something is different about this toilet. We’ve been using the toilet like this for the past few weeks, and I have no complaints. The water level in the bowl is less than before, and we already had “low flow” toilets. There hasn’t been any clogs or issues with the half or full flushes. I think that the piston mechanism is making the toilet work better than before. Jeremy is still unhappy that the button did not work. The button’s malfunction may be because everything is too cramped in the tank (causing the hose to kink). This conversion kit works with a lot of the preexisting components of the toilet. There is another kit that replaces all the parts of the tank, and may make more room for the button mechanism.

During installation we filled and empty the tank several times, and there were a lot of test flushes – so, we don’t expect to see any water savings until our next bill cycle. Since this toilet is using less water, we’ve been prioritizing its use. Perhaps if there are noticeable savings we will convert our other two toilets.

Anyone else have experience with dual-flush conversions? Did you just decide to buy a new toilet instead?

 

Day Eighteen – Bathroom Hook-Up

Recently, we received this hook rail from Liberty Hardware for completing an online survey.

Our plan is to put the rail in our hall bathroom. We are waiting to install it until we update that bathroom. Currently we just have a single towel rack. So, when guests come over they all have to hang their towels on the same rack. With the hook rail guests will be able to hang their towels without interference of others’.

Day Eleven – Recaulk the Bathtub

The caulk in our hall bathroom is atrocious. Where the tub meets the walls and the floor is a wide, sloppy layer of caulk.

That last photo is really disgusting. We decided it was finally time to conquer this recaulking job.

Jeremy started by removing all the existing caulk using this cool tool. The one end is for spreading caulk, the other is a scraper.

When the caulk was removed from the walls, it took some paint off with it. This shows how far spread the caulk was. Wall paint does not stick to caulk, so it just peeled right off. You can see some of the blue trim paint in the caulk pile below.

After cleaning the area, Jeremy reapplied caulk to the floor seam. The problem was that there was too large of a gap between the tub and the vinyl floor.

Not only that, but the vinyl was staring to curl. Luckily, while rereading an old issue (August 2010) of Handyman Magazine I spotted a solution – use trim to hold down the vinyl. We purchased one of the waterproof trims from Home Depot that was the same height as the trim in the bathroom. Jeremy cut the piece to fit across the length of the tub. He then attached the trim with caulk – a bead of silicone across the back of the trim. Jeremy then sealed the trim to the floor and the tub with caulk.

I think the new trim looks pretty great. You might notice that our existing trim is blue. We haven’t decided if we are going to paint the tub trim blue or possibly redo all the trim. The other issue to consider is repainting the walls, because of the paint that peeled off.

Jeremy was avoiding re-caulking one wall of the tub. This wall had a thin layer of caulk on the drywall that was difficult to remove. I scraped at this monstrosity, wondering how I was going to reapply caulk without make a similarly huge mess. Thankfully I read this tip on caulking tub corners. I busted out the painters tape and got to work.

I left a 1/4″ gap between the tapes. Then I applied the caulk and smoothed it with my finger:

When I removed the tape, there was a hard edge to the caulk. I ran my finger down the caulk again to get a smoother seal.

Looks good! Then I removed the second piece of tape and repeated the smoothing process.

Huge improvement! If it looks a little discolored on the left, it’s because that’s where the paint peeled off the wall, leaving exposed drywall. Let’s get a wider view of the tub trim and the wall:

It’s remarkable what a difference the new caulk and trim make. What caulking tips and tricks do you have?