Water conservation is a critical issue for our homes, local communities, and natural environment. Less than 3% of earth’s water is freshwater. Of that fresh water, we are only able to tap into and use less than 30%. To protect our usable water for generations to come, we must pay attention to our water usage now. Simple plumbing upgrades around the home can help to decrease your household’s water usage, without significantly impacting utility. Most of these upgrades focus on reducing flow threshold criteria and make your home’s water usage, more efficient. You can potentially save thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of dollars on your utility bills, per year.
Check your faucets and pipes for leaks. Over time, faucet washers wear out and pipe rust or shift with the foundation. Visible leaks are easy to notice and repair, but sometimes leaks are undetected for months or years. Leaks near faucets, bathtubs, showers, and toilets can be easily handled by a replacement of worn parts or an appropriate upgrade. Perform a whole house meter checks in order to identify imperceptible leaks. If you discover water in the meter box which cannot be attributed to rain or run-off, this may indicate a supply line leak. Contact your water utility company and call your plumber Your pipe system requires regular maintenance. An annual maintenance can ensure that small problems such as leaks, rusts, and blockages are repaired.
Install low-flows faucet aerators.
The installation of low-flow faucet aerators is quick and inexpensive. Aerators allow your faucets to deliver a mixture of air and water. This can reduce water flow by 30% to 55%. Aerators use a mesh that creates mini water streams, helping to maintain the feeling of high pressure, despite lower water usage. Another benefit is that they reduce unnecessary splashing.
Install low-flow toilets and shower heads. Toilets are typically the source of most water use within a home. Toilets manufactured and sold from the mid-1990s or earlier would use 3.5 gallons of water or more per flush. Presently, low flow toilets can reduce that amount to 1.6 gallons per flush or less. Showering can use up about 17% of a home’s water usage. Low-flow showerheads have flow rates of less than 2.5 gallons per minute. If you are not sure about your shower head, use a bucket marked in gallon increments and time how many seconds it takes to fill it to the one-gallon mark. If it takes less than 20 seconds to reach 1 gallon, then an upgrade to a low flow shower head would be recommended.
Plumbing upgrades should be viewed as investments. Not only do they decrease water usage and save you money on your utility bill, but they go a long way in helping to preserve our environment. Some upgrades require minimal education and effort and could be undertaken as a weekend errand. Others can take more time and require expertise. If in doubt or in need of more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to a plumbing professional.