Can I upcycle a toilet and make it more efficient?

Older toilets use all the water in the cistern when flushed

Upcycling is a great new fad. It is even better when you can make something even more efficient than it was before.  One of the biggest users of water in the home is the toilet and with summer just around the corner it is time to start thinking about saving water. This is especially the case when you have a older toilet combination that is not a dual flush.

Note: Dual flush technology comes in two main types, valve and siphon. Siphon technology is more expensive and so the majority sold are valve. Valves are less reliable due to their reliance on washers. If these fail then they actually use much more water than even the old toilets, due to their continuous leakage. Despite this fact many toilets end up being replaced with new dual flush when they could be upcycled into a more efficient and reliable system with just a simple change in their inner workings.

So how can you upgrade an old toilet into an efficient one?

Interflush have two products that actually make the toilet into a variable flush, so basically you hold down the handle until the pan has cleared and then release it. This means that you only use the minimum amount of water required each time. It doesn’t get more efficient than that!!

The two versions have limitations. The replacement siphon type will only fit on a system that has a pipe between the cistern and the pan (i.e. not a close-fit toilet). This system requires the replacement of the whole siphon, but this is a relatively easy task, but it does involve draining down the system.

The replacement siphon system also has an ‘everlasting’ diaphragm that increases its lifespan

The other main product is a system that fits onto of the existing siphon. This again is an easy DIY task and doesn’t involve draining the cistern. It can also be fitted onto close coupled systems. This version, though, does need to be linked to a handle rather than a push button.

The green additions on top of the siphon are the Interflush system.

More information can be found at

Eco Home Centre sells the bagged kits and also the Replacement Siphon

So basically you can save a lot of hassle and cost by just ‘upgrading’ an old full flush toilet system with Interflush technology. All UK based as well.

The other issue to bear in mind is that when you replace a toilet you generally have to sort the floor out as well as the new pan will not have the same ‘footprint’ as the old one, so this will involve replacing / adjusting the floor finish. The old toilet will also be just be disposed as waste, so this is a lot of embodied energy being destroyed as well as the issue of disposal (landfill, recycled if you are lucky).

So why no upcycle your toilet into a highly efficient model at a fraction of the cost of new.