Q. My wife and I are in a disagreement over the new toilet we plan to purchase. We both want to install a high-efficiency toilet, but we have not decided on the flushing system. I would like a dual-flush toilet, but my wife says she wants to keep it simple with a single-flush toilet. What is your opinion on this plumbing debate?
A. Super water-saving toilets are called high-efficiency toilets, or HETs for short. To qualify for HET status, a toilet needs to use less than 1.3 gallons per flush. (Standard toilets use 1.6 gpf). Today we have many high-efficiency flushing systems on the market, and two of the most popular types are the "gravity" single-flush and dual-flush models that you mentioned.
Single-lever flush systems are easier to operate since every flush is rated at 1.28 gpf. However, dual-lever flushing offers two choices, a "half flush" for liquids and a full 1.6 gallons for solids. This allows full flushing control, but dual-flush toilets also average about 1.28 gpf. Since water-saving efficiency may be a washout, choosing can involve the area in the house where the toilet will be installed. For private bathrooms with one or two users, a dual-flush toilet can be a nice choice. For higher traffic bathrooms, offering a single-flush choice may cut down on flushing confusion.
Bottom line: In my opinion, you don't want your guests pressing the "number one" button when they should have pressed the "number two" button!
• Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV and Internet shows. Visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scripps Howard News Service