More and more people are jumping on the water conservation bandwagon. That’s good news for the environment. It’s good news for homeowners and business owners, as well. Following best plumbing and conservation practices not only protects the environment but also cuts that monthly water bill down to size.
Here at Met Plumbing & Air Conditioning, we’ve been busy compiling a list of the top green plumbing and water conservation tips to help you tackle the problem. As the new year gets underway, it’s a good time to evaluate your usage habits and resolve to be more water-conscious in the future. If you haven’t already dedicated yourself to trimming unnecessary water use, 2017 is a great time to start.
Handle All Leaks Immediately
The longer you let a leak persist, the more water you waste. Even the smallest drip can release 20 gallons each and every day. Your average household leak squanders 10,000 gallons of water annually. Combined, that’s 1 trillion gallons thrown down the drain in the United States alone. Check your faucets often to nip the problem in the bud.
Also, don’t forget to check your sprinklers or your toilet—defective toilet flappers are notorious for causing leaks. If you do have a leak, call a 24-hour plumber to get the situation handled as soon as possible.
Use a Water Meter
It’s one thing if you can hear the faucet drip dripping all day long. In that case, you have no excuse for not calling up the friendly, licensed plumbers at Met Plumbing right away. It’s another thing entirely if the leak is silent or otherwise undetectable.
Fortunately, there’s a rather simple way to check for leaks: look at your home’s water meter when no water is running. Keep the water off for a few hours (anywhere between 2 and 8 hours), and then check it again. If the meter reading is exactly the same, you’re good to go. If the number is different, you most likely have a leak.
Random Fact: If you add up all the residential leaks across the country and put that water to good use, you could supply 11 million homes for an entire year.1
Watch Your Sprinklers
Overwatering during the dog days of summer is probably one of the most common ways to wastewater and run up a ghastly monthly bill. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your sprinklers in check without burdening your time. One of the most effective methods is to attach a timer. Spring-loaded timers, which usually come with a conveniently low price tag, are a great option.
Random Fact: It’s good to check your sprinkler system every year (ideally at the beginning of spring) to make sure the winter frost hasn’t damaged any parts of the irrigation system.
Practice Green Grooming
There are many little, yet effective things you can do to reduce the amount of water you use while cleaning and grooming yourself. For starters, wet your toothbrush and then immediately turn off the faucet. You can also soak your razors in a few inches of warm water instead of rinsing them off with running water. In other words, anytime you can shut off the faucet and stop water from running, you’re doing a good deed.
Random Fact: Which room in the house uses up most of the water? Not surprisingly, it’s the bathroom. Approximately ¾ of all the water that comes into a building goes straight to the restroom.2
Random Fact: In addition to saving the environment, fixing simple leaks will also save you money. According to the EPA, being diligent when it comes to leaks can take about 10 percent off your water bill.
Check the Water Pressure
If your water pressure is too high, your plumbing system can take a beating. Generally, a water pressure reading that exceeds 60 pounds per square inch will not only cause damage to the drainage system but may also raise the water usage levels, leading to waste. If needed, you can install pressure-reducing valves to bring that figure down to a safe level.
Random Fact: Water pressure is affected by the amount of water other residents on your street are using. Since the water pressure is not determined solely by your own usage, you’ll have to call your local water department to get a water pressure reading for your exact location.
Cut Your Shower Time
Nothing runs up your monthly bill faster than running water. Taking long showers may be relaxing, but it can also be tremendously wasteful. If you really want to be environmentally conscious (and financially responsible), turn off the water when you lather up with soap. Turn it back on again when you rinse the suds off (not recommended in the dead of winter, of course).
Random Fact: 17 percent of all water used in a residential setting goes to the shower.
Install Eco-Friendly Showerheads
With so many green gadgets on the market, being environmentally conscious is easier than ever. One of those cool gadgets is a water-saving or high-efficiency showerhead. While your average showerhead pours 2.5 gallons per minute over your head, these special showerheads can cut that down to 2.0 g.p.m. That might not seem like much, but, when you add it all up, it comes out to 2,900 gallons per year for the average family.
Random Fact: How much water can you save by installing more efficient fixtures or appliances? 30 percent, says the EPA.
Stop Prewashing Dishes
Many of us are in the habit of rinsing our dishes before we place them in the dishwasher. That’s not only time-consuming and inefficient but, these days, it’s usually unnecessary. That’s because most modern dishwasher detergents feature enzymes that eat up food particles, so you and your sink don’t have to.
Random Fact: How much does the average American household spend each year on their water bill? Statistics reveal that they spend up to $500 annually.
Lay Off the Chemicals
If you throw too many chemicals down your drain, you risk killing off the bacteria that live inside your septic system. If that sounds like a good thing, remember that some bacteria are not only natural but potentially beneficial.
In fact, many different bacteria are essential to maintaining a working septic system. That doesn’t mean you should avoid using bleach, detergents, or other chemicals, but keep them to a bare minimum in order to prevent an imbalance from occurring.
Random Fact: Your septic system contains billions of microorganisms that help to break down wastewater.
Use Your Disposal Sparingly
You might not be aware that your kitchen sink garbage disposal uses a great deal of water when you turn it on. By throwing solids down the drains, you also risk causing plumbing problems in the future.
Don’t Water Unless It’s Necessary
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to shut off the hose whenever you’re not using water. Whether you’re watering your lawn or washing your car, shut the valve off the moment you no longer need it. You can also use a broom instead of a hose to wash down your driveway or the sidewalks in front of your house.
Random Fact: How much water does the average American use every day? According to the EPA, they run 100 gallons through their home daily.
It’s important that we all do our part to conserve the planet’s resources. Only by being conscious of our usage and cutting down can we ensure that all the world’s creatures, big and small, can enjoy nature’s bounty for many generations to come. That’s why we at Met Plumbing are committed to green plumbing practices.