- Fix Any and All Leaks
Although it may not seem to be that much of a problem, leaks waste water and cost you money. A leak not only affects the environment by wasting a diminishing resource, it also costs money in wasted water. It can also cause damage to your fixtures at the same time; the constant flow of water can cause more wear to the valves, which will then force you to replace them earlier than you would otherwise. Leaks can also cause damage to your home, if the leak is in one of your pipes.
- Install Low Flow Showerheads
Low flow showerheads reduce the amount of water used, and because of the way they operate, they wash and rinse as effectively as a full flow showerhead. There are two popular types of low flow showerheads. An aerating design adds air to the water and produces a soft ‘bubbly’ effect. The second commonly used low flow head has very small holes which increases the pressure of the water and gives a massaging shower.
- Install Efficient Toilets
Depending on the age of your existing toilet, a flush can use up to 3.6 gallons of water. Modern EPA Water Sense-approved toilets use a maximum of 1.28 gallons per flush. Toilets with dual flushes can use less than 0.8 gallons per partial flush. These toilets are called HET or High Efficiency Toilets. When toilets with lower flush volumes were first introduced, they were not very popular, as they were inefficient. That may have been true a few years ago, but modern toilets have improved flushing mechanisms and special coatings that enable them to clean themselves during every flush, and thus require less cleaning. This coating, which different manufacturers give different names, reduces cleaning, and minimizes the need to use chemicals, which eventually work their way into the water supply. In some municipalities, like Los Angeles, it is mandatory to fit HETs in new and refurbished bathrooms.
- Install Efficient Faucets and Plumbing Fixtures
As with showerheads and toilets, there also exist extremely water-efficient faucets and other fixtures, such as bidets. The principle employed with low flow showerheads are also employed in faucets, and many of the available devices are designed to be retrofitted onto existing faucets. In public restrooms, the addition of spring loaded handles reduces water wastage even more. In the case of bidets, the bidet is often combined with a water-efficient toilet to reduce water use even further.
Not only will taking these steps reduce your water usage (and therefore your water bill), they can also extend the life of your current fixtures. If you are considering upgrading your bathroom fixtures to the latest, most efficient equipment, you may be eligible for rebates on your water bills. In many (but not all) municipalities, homeowners installing EPA Water Sense-certified fittings are eligible for rebates. These rebates not only save you money on the initial cost of the new fittings, but also on your bills throughout the life of the fitting. Finally, you have a win-win-win: a fixture that saves you money on your bill by helping you use less water, a water company that saves you money when you use efficient products, and an opportunity to reduce your impact on the environment.
Author bio: John Flynn is the owner of Orange Coast Plumbing in Orange County, Ca. They are a family owned and operated business serving the Orange & Los Angeles County since 1977.
Image courtesy of Keerati.