How to Conserve Water through Your Choice of Plumbing Fixtures
Cutting back on our water consumption is important. Although the earth is covered with water, only a very small percentage of that water is fresh and usable. While our intentions are good, following through can be tricky. Nobody wants to take a three-minute shower to save water. The key to making water conservation efforts pay off is to make them easy and doable. One painless way to save water is through your choice of plumbing fixtures. A simple upgrade to your bathroom facilities can save thousands of gallons of water every year.
Older toilets can use a ton of water every time you flush. By law, toilets that were manufactured after 1993 must use 1.6 gallons of water or less for each flush. Prior to that, many toilets used anywhere from 3.5 to 7 gallons of water for every flush. New, ultra-efficient toilet models can use as little as 1.28 gallons of water for each flush. This means that if you have a toilet that was built prior to 1993, you could potentially reduce your water consumption by more than 5.5 gallons every single time you flush the toilet just by replacing it with a newer model. That could add up to tens of thousands of gallons every year. Not only does that make a dent in your water consumption, but it also can save you a significant amount of money on your water bill every month. You certainly won’t miss the water that is being flushed down the toilet.
There is another option that can further reduce the amount of water that you use to flush the toilet. A dual flush toilet is a toilet that gives you two different options for flushing. There is one button that you press to get a light flush – 0.8 gallons of water – for liquid waste. There is also a second button that you press to get a heavier flush for solid waste. On average, three out of five flushes only need a light flush. This can add up to major water savings. To switch to a dual-flush system, you can either purchase a new dual-flush toilet or have your current toilet converted to a dual-flush system.
Finally, if your toilet is constantly running and filling the tank, try these steps to remedy the problem and save even more water.
- First, remove the lid from the toilet tank.
- Next, check the flapper. The flapper is a round, rubber piece that is usually black or red in color. The flapper should close completely and seal, keeping the water inside the tank. If the flapper does not close all the way, sometimes it is because the chain attached to the flapper hasn’t gotten caught. You can fix this just by adjusting the chain to allow the flapper to close properly.
- If the flapper appears to be damaged, you can replace it. Start by turning the water shutoff valve for the toilet to the off position.
- Detach the old flapper and remove it.
- The new flapper will have a line on it marked “cut” Cut where indicated.
- Place the flapper ears onto the pegs located on the overflow tube.
- Attach the chain.
- Turn the water supply back on, and let the tank refill. Check to make sure that the flapper is now sealing properly.
Another way to painlessly conserve water is to switch to a low-flow shower head. About 25% of the average American’s water usage goes toward showers. When you switch to a low-flow showerhead, you can get good water pressure while using much less water. A low-flow showerhead usually uses about 2.5 gallons of water or less per minute. Other showerheads – particularly large, rainfall-type showerheads – can use up to 20 gallons of water every minute. This means that you could potentially reduce your water usage in the shower by a whopping 90% while still enjoying a great shower with excellent water pressure.
Faucets are another fixture that can be replaced with water-conserving models to cut down on consumption. An inefficient faucet can use more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. More efficient models use 1.5 gallons or less per minute. If you don’t want to completely replace your faucet, you can reduce your water consumption by adding an aerator or flow restrictor to your existing faucet. This is an easy and inexpensive addition that can significantly reduce your water usage.
Leaks & Slab Leaks
Even though leaks aren’t always present and wasting water, it’s important that you can recognize a leak to stop it when needed. Signs of a slab leak can include hot or wet spots on the floor and the sound of running water. When you have a slab leak, water is running from your pipes into the ground and into your flooring. This water isn’t being used by you, but you are still paying for it. Having a slab leak repaired will save a significant amount of water, as well as saving you a significant amount of money. That said, if you suspect something as invasive as a slab leak, call our team for leak detection and repair services.
If you want to stop wasting water and start saving money, call Scott English Plumbing. We can repair a running or leaking toilet, as well as locating any other water-wasting leaks in your plumbing system. We offer leak detection services and repair, and we are available around the clock to respond to emergencies. Whether you need routine maintenance or have a middle-of-the-night plumbing disaster on your hands, you can count on Scott English Plumbing to handle the job.