Conserve water and save money with these home plumbing tips
Every house needs reliable plumbing. There’s no debate about that.
But what some homeowners may not know is that they could be sending money down the drain by not paying attention to the condition of their home’s plumbing, including pipes, appliances and fixtures.
Here’s how you can make sure your home’s plumbing is conserving water - and saving money.
1. Leaks must be fixed
There is nothing worse for water bills than leaks. Even a tiny little drip from a faucet that has a worn washer can waste 20 gallons every day. The largest of water leaks can waste hundreds of gallons daily.
Maybe it doesn’t sound like it, but that is a lot of water sent down the drain for no reason. With larger leaks, it’s like having a year-round house guest use that much water.
Fix leaks and you will see a difference in your water bill.
2. Understand your water bill
Speaking of the water bill, get to know that document well. Don’t just cut a check and walk away every month when it arrives in the mail or in your email.
Take a look at how much your water usage compares to the previous month. Many water utility companies will also show you how your water usage has changed over time, such as providing last year’s usage for a given month.
Why keep close tabs on the water bill? Because that’s where you may find small plumbing problems - such as leaks - before they become major issues. A small spike that you can’t account for may be a sign that there is a small water leak somewhere in your home.
3. Make bathrooms your next priority
Whenever you want to start looking at ways to conserve water, the bathroom should be at the top of your to-do list.
The average home uses two thirds of indoor water. Most of that water use is due to toilets.
If your home has any leaking toilets, then this absolutely needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. A leaking toilet can easily waste about 200 gallons of water every day. Not sure how much water that is? Imagine flushing your toilet over 50 times. Time to get that taken care of, right?
4. Replace old and inefficient toilets
Old and inefficient toilets can be a major source of wasted water. One study found that if every older and inefficient toilet in the United States was replaced with a water-efficiency model, then the entire country would save around 360 billion gallons of water every year.
But how do you know whether your toilet is as efficient as more modern models.? One way to check is to find out when your toilet was made. If the toilet was made before the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) went into effect in 1994, then it very likely is not as efficient as a newer model.
5. Replace older faucets
While you are looking into toilets and whether to replace those, also take a look at the faucets throughout your home. When looking at which appliances and plumbing fixtures use the most water, faucets are right up there. They are responsible for about 15% of indoor water use, per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Higher efficient faucets, on the other hand, can decrease wasted water, especially if they are upgraded with an aerator.
6. Change out wasteful showerheads
Showerheads understandably use even more water in the house than faucets, 17% to be exact. By changing old showerheads, you can fairly easily see a decrease in wasted water and in your water bills.
Just double check to make sure any new showerhead you purchase is of the right size for your shower valve.
7. Switch habits in the kitchen
There is a lot of water to be saved in the kitchen simply by changing habits.
For example, you can fill a sink before doing the dishes rather than keep it running while you are scrubbing. If you have a dishwasher for this task, then you can help reduce use by only washing full loads and cleaning plates, pans and utensils before loading into the dishwasher.
Larger amounts of food that can’t simply be pre-rinsed off can be composted rather than being stuffed down the garbage disposal. It’s a good practice to only use the dishwasher when necessary.
8. Talk to your plumber about greywater
For homeowners who may be building a new house or are in the middle of a remodeling project, ask a plumber about whether a greywater system could fit into your project plans.
Greywater systems allow users to reuse water from sinks, washing machines and dishwashers for reuse in other ways, such as flushing toilets. Greywater can also be sent outside for use in watering plants.
Greywater is the gently used water from fixtures and appliances, not dirty water. This is a great way to get another use out of water that can still be put to work for other purposes.
Not every city allows residents to install greywater systems, though, so you will need to check local laws.
Another pro tip: Don’t let greywater be stored in your system for longer than 24 hours. This can result in bad odors and a loss in nutrients found in the water.
9. Don’t let your pool lose water
If you have a pool, then make sure it is not losing water too fast. No, we are not talking about a leak - though that would be cause for concern, too. We’re talking about an issue that every pool owner faces: evaporation.
Add a pool cover to decrease how much water you lose to evaporation. A pool cover can reduce water loss due to evaporation by up to 30%.
If you have added a pool cover but are still experiencing water loss, then you better have your pool checked at for a leak.
Let’s lower your water bill
Higher-efficiency appliances and plumbing fixtures can go a long way in lowering your home’s water bill.
Comfortec Heating, Cooling and Plumbing is available to talk about how we can help you save water - and money.
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