With several states experiencing years of severe drought, most notably California, water conservation is fresh on the minds of homeowners and elected officials. In 2016, stiffer Federal regulations on the flow rate for residential water usage went into effect. To reduce your water usage and save money, consider making some quick DIY upgrades to your home’s plumbing.
Stop Running the Water
Before getting into what to fix first, think about the gallons of water flowing down the drain while you run the water as you brush your teeth, wash your hands or do the dishes. The average person in the U.S uses 80-100 gallons of water per day. Consider turning facets off while the tooth brush is working in your mouth or you’re lathering up your hands or scrubbing grease from pots and pans. We also lose 10 gallons of water a day to just to plumbing leaks.
What to Fix
- Change out kitchen and bathroom faucets with newer, aerated models
- replace older shower-heads
- replace an older toilet with a new, low flow model
- add a water displacement element to your old toilet’s tank
- check the seals on your dishwasher for leaks
New Faucets are More Efficient
If your bathroom or kitchen faucets are looking old, why not replace them? Newer, more efficient models have built-in filters called aerators that reduce the flow rate. To add a separate aerator to an old fixture, unscrew the existing nozzle filter and screw in the new one. Many will come with new housing in case the old one is damaged when removing it.
New Shower-Heads for Even the Pickiest Bather
By simply changing your shower-head you can lower your water usage 25-60%. Older, low flow shower-heads have a flow rate of 5.5 GPM (gallons per minute). Today’s fixtures have a 2.5 GPM and provide a steady stream of water that will please even the pickiest bather.
2 Types of Shower-Heads:
- Laminar flow – emits individual streams of water
- Aerator – mixes air into the water stream for a softer spray
The Lowdown on Low Flow Toilets
Discussing low flow toilets used to be a dirty topic with homeowners due to the toilet’s lack of follow through. Today’s toilets aren’t your grandmother’s loo. They now use as little as 1.6 GPF (gallons per flush) compared to the old ones, which used 7 gallons.
4 Varieties of Toilets:
- Gravity assisted – based on the original design but are more efficient
- Pressure assisted – pressurized air in the tank forces water out through bowl
- Motor assisted – small 0.2 horsepower motor helps flush the system
- Dual-flush – 2 GPF selections; one low (0.8 GPF) and one high (1.6 GPF)
All these different toilets come in standard styles and require the same mounting materials as the old-fashioned ones, with one exception: motor assisted toilets require electrical power for the small motor.
Add a Water Displacement Element to Your Old Toilet
Not ready to replace your old toilet just yet? Consider adding a water displacement element to your tank. Before you go out and buy something, try putting a small half gallon plastic bottle filled with sand into the tank instead. The theory is to use less water in the tank but to keep enough for it to flush.
Save on Your Water Bill with Plumbing Upgrade
Sometimes, the littlest changes bring about the biggest results. You can save water around your home by upgrading your plumbing to more efficient fixtures. These quick, easy DIY projects will help cut your water bill and reduce your overall consumption. Happy flushing.
From cordless flashlights and wet/dry vacuums to caulk cutting saws and right-angle wrenches, our expert staff is always on hand to help find the right equipment for your next DIY plumbing project. Need to know how to replace a faucet? Our blog, Two Quick and Easy In-Home Plumbing Repairs, has helpful tips that will make the installation a breeze. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.