Archive for dual flush toilet

Smart commercial restroom innovations are, in the Professor’s experience, few and far between. The status quo is so readily accepted that many manufacturers of plumbing fixtures have little incentive to invest in attractive designs and technological innovations. That’s why the Professor is so impressed by the latest commercial offerings from American Standard. From smart, water-saving technology to sleek, unexpected shapes, here are a few of the commercial toilets, sinks, and urinals that are transforming modern restrooms.

  • If you’ll pardon the pun, the Professor’s hands-down favorite innovation is American Standard’s hands-free dual flush toilet valve. The way it works is that the Selectronic dual flush toilet valve releases a light flush of 1.1 gallons when motion is detected for less than 60 seconds. A standard 1.6 gpf volume is used when motion is detected for 60 seconds or longer.
  • The Lucia Lavatory Sink from American Standard

    The Lucia wall-hung lavatory sink is a great solution
    for commercial spaces in need of extra storage areas for soaps, toiletries, and accessories but have little space to spare in the restroom. The sink has a graceful, upscale appearance and offers a surprising amount of usable storage surface for such a small fixture.

  • The strikingly modern Decorum high-efficiency urinalwould not be out of place in spaces like an art museum or a luxury resort. Decorum only uses 0.5 gallons of water per flush (gpf) and also features the EverClean permanent finish that inhibits the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew on the surface – making it ideal for commercial, institutional and other high-use, public installations.
  • The surprisingly smart Ceratronic proximity faucet that allows users to control water temperature in addition to the on/off function, all without touching the faucet. Ideal for hospitals and other settings where spreading germs is a concern, the faucet’s detection range and time variables can be customized with the touch of a button from an optional remote control.

What’s most exciting to the Professor about all these creative, problem-solving products is the knowledge that even more transformative innovations are still to come. Here’s to a future of cleaner, smarter, more beautiful restrooms for us all.

Note: This post is part of the 2011 Bathroom Blogfest, now in its sixth year. The Professor is thrilled to participate in the blogfest for a third year this year. For more information about the blogfest, visit Bathroom Blogfest. Look for the tag “#BathroomEXP” on flickr,, Technorati, Twitter and Google, or ‘Like’ on Facebook.  A list of participants is below.



Name Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott Customer Experience Crossroads
Paul Anater Kitchen and Residential Design
Shannon Bilby From the Floors Up
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop
Bill Buyok Avente Tile Talk
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service
Becky Carroll Customers Rock!
Katie Clark Practical Katie
Nora DePalma O’Reilly DePalma: The Blog
Paul Friederichsen The BrandBiz Blog
Tish Grier The Constant Observer
Elizabeth Hise Flooring The Consumer
Emily Hooper Floor Covering News Blog
Diane Kazan Urban Design Renovation http//
Joseph Michelli Dr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog
Veronika Miller Modenus Blog
Arpi Nalbandian Tile Magazine Editors’ Blog
David Polinchock Polinchock’s Ponderings
Professor Toilet American Standard’s Professor
David Reich my 2 cents
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren
Bethany Richmond Carpet and Rug Institute Blog
Bruce D. Sanders RIMtailing
Paige Smith Neuse Tile Service blog
Stephanie Weaver Experienceology
Christine B. Whittemore Content Talks Business
Christine B. Whittemore Smoke Rise & Kinnelon
Christine B. Whittemore Simple Marketing Blog
Ted Whittemore Working Computers
Chris Woelfel Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile
Patty Woodland Broken Teepee
Denise Lee Yohn brand as business bites

The new Selectronic Hands-Free Dual Flush Toilet from American StandardThere is no question that dual flush toilets are a simple and increasingly popular way to reduce water use at home. Now, thanks to a recent innovation from American Standard, a new line of hands-free, dual flush toilet valves are bringing the same water-saving technology to commercial applications.

How does it work? The new Selectronic dual flush toilet valve releases a light flush, or 1.1 gallons per flush (gpf), when motion is detected for less than 60 seconds. A standard 1.6 gpf volume is used when motion is detected for 60 seconds or longer.

All in all, the Professor is impressed by the ingenuity of this new line of commercial flush valves, which require 20 percent less water than standard toilets. The valves were designed to work perfectly as a retrofit for use with existing plumbing, so it’s easy for commercial facilities to make this water conservation-friendly upgrade. Here’s to an eco-friendly and very high tech future!

The recent popularity of water saving, dual-flush toilets has inspired several models of “retrofit” kits, which purport to be able to convert standard toilets (which can use up to 5 gallons of water per flush) to dual-flush by allowing homeowners to choose between a full flush or a half flush, meant to handle liquids only. The desire to conserve water is always a good thing, but the Professor couldn’t help wondering if the claims made by the manufacturers hold water or if consumers would end up flushing their money – not to mention their water savings – down the dual-flush toilet.

After doing some research into the matter, the Professor is not particularly optimistic about these devices. There is currently no independent evidence that these retrofit kits will actually save any water and they may even end up wasting more water than a standard toilet. The main issue is that removing and replacing an original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) flush valve with an after-market product changes the full flush characteristics of the toilet fixture. The full removal of the contents of the bowl is dependent upon delivery of the right amount of water at the correct rate. Changing either of these factors can adversely affect flush performance, which may increase the need for double flushing, thereby increasing water use.

If dual-flush retrofit valves were performance tested with each model of the gravity-fed toilet into which they would be installed, this wouldn’t be an issue. But because such extensive testing would be expensive and largely impractical, it generally isn’t done for dual-flush kits

The Professor also notes that the half-volume flush is particularly vulnerable to providing an unsatisfactory flush because there may not be a complete exchange of water in the bowl. This makes it particularly likely that waste – and toilet paper especially – will remain in the bowl and require a second or even a third flush, completely negating any expected water savings.

The moral of the story: invest in a real, WaterSense-certified dual-flush toilet! They may cost more than a retrofit kit but they can produce real water savings, and will save you money in the long run.

The Professor is honored, once again, to be part of the Bathroom Blogfest.  This year’s theme,  in a nod to Mad Men, is “Stuck in the 60’s,” an era when the Professor was  in potty training, not toilet science.

American Standard was already a mature market leader, however, following a merger of the American Radiator Company and Standard Sanitary Supply Company in 1929 (see American Standard History).  American-Standard, as it was then known, was an early leader in advanced toilet engineering, as seen in this 1968 ad featured on

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

If you think the ad is groovy, American Standard was doing quite innovative marketing at the time.  Ever hear of an industrial musical?  The Professor hadn’t either, but they were popular from the 50s to the 80s and were typically songs created to rally employees and excite customers.

American Standard actually cut an album in 1969!   You have to listen to this classic cut called: My Bathroom.

That would have been a tough era for the Professor.  Not a singer.

It was also a tough era on the environment, with toilets still sucking down a full 7 gallons of water for each flush.  Contrast that with H2Option, the American Standard siphonic dual flush toilet which uses just ONE gallon on the lowest setting while outperforming the old water guzzlers.

Note: This post is part of the 2010 Bathroom Blogfest, now in its fifth year. This edition has brought together 33 bloggers from the U.S., Canada, the UK and India.   For more information about the blogfest, visit Bathroom Blogfest. Look for the tag “#BathroomEXP” on flickr,, Technorati, Twitter and Google, or ‘Like’ on Facebook.  A list of participants is below.

Bathroom Blogfest 2010 logo

Blogger Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott Customer Experience Crossroads
Paul Anater Kitchen and Residential Design
Shannon Bilby Big Bob’s Outlet
Shannon Bilby Carpets N More Blog
Shannon Bilby Dolphin Carpet Blog
Shannon Bilby From The Floors Up
Shannon Bilby My Big Bob’s Blog
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop
Bill Buyok Avente Tile Talk Blog
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service
Becky Carroll Customers Rock!
Marianna Chapman Results Revolution
Katie Clark Practial Katie
Nora DePalma American Standard’s Professor Toilet
Nora DePalma O’Reilly/DePalma
Leigh Durst LivePath Experience Architect Weblog
Valerie Fritz The AwarepointBlog
Iris Garrott Checking In and Checking Out
Tish Grier The Constant Observer
Renee LeCroy Your Fifth Wall
Joseph Michelli Dr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog
Veronika Miller Modenus Blog
Arpi Nalbandian TILE Magazine Editor Blog
Maria Palma People 2 People Service
Reshma Bachwani Paritosh The Qualitative Research Blog
David Polinchock Polinchock’s Ponderings
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
David Reich My 2 Cents
Sandy Renshaw Around Des Moines
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren
Bethany Richmond Carpet and Rug Institute Blog
Bruce Sanders RIMtailing Blog
Steve Tokar Please Be Seated
Carolyn Townes Becoming a Woman of Purpose
Stephanie Weaver Experienceology
Christine B. Whittemore Flooring The Consumer
Christine B. Whittemore Simple Marketing Blog
Christine & Ted Whittemore Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog
Christine B. Whittemore The Carpetology Blog
Linda Wright LindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathrooms

Great news out of New York City, where the City Council just passed a bill aimed at improving water efficiency in the five boroughs. One provision of the bill, which is expected to save a whopping 1 billion gallons of water per year, has the Professor especially excited: all homes and apartments that are being built new or remodeled would be required to install dual flush toilets.

A recent post on Gothamist, the ultimate NYC Blog, celebrates the announcement by posting one of the ever-entertaining videos of a flushing demonstration of the H2Option from American Standard.

The Professor offers a tip o’the hat to the City Council for taking this bold action to improve water efficiency in New York, and hopes that all NYC residents enjoy the dual flushes in their future!

A big shoutout to Todd, who has just replaced an old American Standard five-gallon flusher with H2Option.  Todd is going to save more than 10,000 gallons of water in the next year, according to our water saving calculator

Here’s Todd in his own words:

I can not believe the efficiency of this thing. Try as we might we have not been able to get it to clog or not fully flush even with the .9 gallon flush. Read more: DIY Installation and performance of Low Flush Toilet.

Sadly, no.  This is one to file under, “Too Good to Be True.”

There are several aftermarket retrofit kits available today that promise to transform a standard toilet into a dual flush model that can “save more water than a high priced high-efficiency toilet.”

Unfortunately, these gadgets simply regulate the amount of water entering the bowl and do nothing to alter the water flow in or out of the bowl.  Since bowl design is the most important factor in a toilet’s performance – and even more critical in low-flow toilets – these kits promise far more than they deliver.

As the Professor has previously explained, standard and dual flush toilets have different flushing mechanics.  While standard toilets depend on siphonic action to “pull” waste out of the bowl, dual flush toilets rely on the “push” of water to clear the bowl.  More advanced technology, such as the WaterSense-certified H2Option Dual Flush Toilet, combines the traditional siphonic “pull” force with the newer “push” action associated with the washdown flush.

Because standard toilet bowls are not specifically engineered for less water, homeowners will have as much luck using these retrofit kits as they would adding a brick to the toilet tank.  Both strategies try to “trick” toilet science and will likely result in incomplete flushes.  Worse, users will likely overcome this problem by – you guessed it – flushing again.  Multiple flushes eliminate any possible water savings.

In addition to voiding the American Standard warranty on toilets, installing these types of gadgets will frustrate homeowners and discourage any future use of proven water saving technologies such as HETs and dual flush toilets.

Physics, as it turns out, is it right up there with “can’t fool Mother Nature.”

Water-saving toilets in general and dual flush toilets in particular are seen as increasing in popularity, according to the AIA survey published on

Also trending in bathrooms:

  • Bath sizes are not increasing
  • Energy and water efficiency are important, but so are designs to accommodate aging in place.
  • Aging in place features on the rise include doorless and/or no-threshold showers, and handshowers.
  • In the current economy, other high-end bath features such as towel warmer are not being installed as often.

Professor Toilet is pleased to see enthusiasm for dual flush toilets finally catching on in the United States.

Top view of a dual flush toilet Designed more than 30 years ago by an Australian Toilet Scientist, dual flush technology can reduce water usage by up to 67%. To put this into perspective, that’s like saving an average of 9,600 gallons a day over the old 3.5-gallon behemoths, or enough water to fill three hot tubs each day when compared to a 1.6-gallon toilet.

Dual flush toilets are actually mandated in Australia and Singapore, and catching on fast in North America because of the simple premise: “push 1 for 1 and push 2 for 2,”  A number 1 flush uses less water, a far more pleasant alternative to “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.” A number 2 flush is designed to take down solids without clogging, typically using the same 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) as standard toilets like the Champion 4 and Cadet 3.

Dual Flush Washdown vs. Dual Flush Siphonic

One issue slowing more widespread adoption of dual flush toilets in the US is a technical term that toilet scientists call skid marks. The Professor assumes that you don’t need a visual on that; in short, it’s a bowl that won’t stay clean after pushing 2 for 2.  You may use other words for it when it happens.

Dual flush toilets rely on the “push” of water to cleanse the bowl in what is known as a washdown flush.  In contrast, standard toilets depend on the more popular siphonic action to “pull” waste out.

To strengthen the push action, the bowls of dual flush models are sloped more sharply than standard toilets to give the water greater momentum, which can also increase splashing.  The steeped bowls mean a smaller “water spot” or water surface area in the bowl, which makes it more likely that toilet paper or other waste will cling to the sides of the bowl, staining and generating odors.

The toilet engineers at American Standard have overcome these two hurdles with a dual flush toilet that removes every last trace of paper and waste, as well as one that offers a large traditional water surface area.

The WaterSense-certified H2Option Dual Flush Toilet is the first truly siphonic dual flush toilet, which generates strong push and pull action through forceful but quiet jetted action under the rim.  When the user flushes H2Option, some of the water is instantly diverted to the rim where there are a series of chambers.  The air in the chambers pushes the ongoing coming water forcefully out into the bowl. The resulting downhill rush of water creates an all-but-irresistible pull on the water behind it, so that every last trace of waste is removed from the bowl.

Followers of Professor Toilet know that dual flush toilets can be a mixed blessing.  On one hand, dual flush toilets can save both water and money.

Glenn Hasek of Green Lodging News, notes the downside to some models regarding the small area of water in the bowl also known as the water spot:

“…some dual flush toilets do not clean the bowl as efficiently as traditional single-flush versions. Be sure to ask vendors about this. Without getting into too much detail here, you obviously do not want to leave your guests with a bad impression and you do not want to add to the work load of your housekeepers.”

Hasek echoes what the Professor has said before about dual flush toilets.  “Dual flush toilets that use a siphonic design have a water spot the size found in standard toilets.”  Learn more from Toilet Scientist Jim McHale and follow Hasek’s blog at Green Lodging News: