Retrofit your toilet to achieve a ‘perfect flush’ | KEYE Austin - Green Right Now Austin News, Weather, Traffic KEYE-TV Austin - HOME
Oct 192009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

When it comes to saving water, we all know that the commode can be a sieve, without actually being a sieve. In a typical household – unless people are obsessively washing clothes or taking large baths — more water is used to flush the toilets than for any other single use.

According to the US EPA, toilet water consumes  about 27 percent of all the water used in a typical household. So you might say, the throne is king.

But this is one Royal Flush you don’t want.

You’ve likely heard about potential solutions. You could enact a household rule, “When it’s yellow…” If you’ve got the constitution for it. But that might leave squeamish families blushing, and still flushing.

You could stick bricks in the back of the tank, but experts advise against that, saying the clay chaff that will be released could cause a bigger problem by getting caught in that pesky flap mechanism (which tends to go bad unprompted anyway). Then a running toilet would run away with all your water savings.

Perfect Flush (Image: Brondell)

Perfect Flush (Image: Brondell)

Or you could bring home a solution that you’ve likely seen in airports and other public buildings, a demi-flush toilet attachment that allows you to choose when you need half a flush and when you need a whole flush.

Brondell, a company that develops eco-friendly bathroom innovations is offering just such a device for home use. Its “Perfect Flush” toilet retrofitting kit allows you to cut in half the water used to flush, whether you have an old-style 3.5 gallon toilet or a newer 1.6 gallon.

Retailing at around $99, the Perfect Flush offers a perfectly economical way to start conserving water. (No more waiting for the washer to fail so you can buy a more efficient one.)

You can buy the Perfect Flush at or Builders can look to a handful of dealers, listed here.

The Perfect Flush control

The Perfect Flush control

Brondell also sells a toilet-paper saving bidet-like attachment for the toilet. Called the Swash, it uses water to help you, um, freshen up.

The Swash saves on trees. The company site reports that Americans use 34 million rolls of toilet paper every day,which requires the destruction of 221,000 trees and consumption of 255 billion gallons of water to process.

So the Swash is eco-friendly with regard to forests and water consumption even though it uses water.

Hey! Use them both and you can Swish and Flush. Not quite that Continental? Try the entry level Perfect Flush.

While cynics will say that water you flush down the toilet returns to the “water cycle,” and therefore it’s no big loss, recent reports about the feminization of fish in our waterways and the contamination of our drinking water from pharmaceuticals suggest that we give flushing a little more review. Many resources are required to cleanse the water, and certain chemicals resist water treatment. The downstream water quality seems to be degrading, because the chemicals and meds we use aren’t.

That debate aside, from a homeowner’s perspective,  the Perfect Flush’s ability to save barrels of water, also saves buckets of money.

Hotel Griffon, a water view and water saving ethos

Hotel Griffon, a water view and water saving ethos

In San Francisco, the historic Hotel Griffon recently took the plunge (or maybe we should say plunger) with Brondell, adding the Perfect Flush to its 62 guestrooms and suites.

The hotel projects that it will save 31,000 gallons of water every month or about 372,000 gallons a year.

That much water could supply around 20 average households for a year, using government figures.

(And when your toilet’s ready for replacing, you’ll find lots of dual flush options on the market.

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