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Ed the plumber

Q: My toilet is located under a shelf and I want to replace it since it is old and uses a lot of water per flush. I want to get a dual-flush style, but the toilets I have seen have buttons on top of the tank and this will not work with my built-in shelf. Do they make regular-looking side-lever dual-flush toilets? — Fred, Nevada

A: First, let’s get everyone up to speed on dual-flush toilets.

These are water-saving toilets that let you pick between a full 1.6-gallon flush and a smaller flush of about 1 gallon. Basically, you use only the water needed and this can save resources and operating costs.

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The original dual-flush toilets I’m familiar with have two side-by-side flush buttons on top of the tank, and that setup has not worked for all users.

But side-lever, dual-flush toilets are available. This two-step trip lever looks just like a traditional lever and is easy to use. You can press the main part of the lever for a full flush or just press the end tip to activate the water-saving flush.

Since it operates in the same manner as a traditional toilet, houseguests probably will not have to call out from the bathroom asking how to flush the thing.

Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes. Sorry, no personal replies.

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