Conserving water encourages more efficient use of community resources while also protecting the environment. When you think of water conservation, you may think of taking shorter showers or washing clothes less often, however, there are a number of ways you can update your plumbing so that you use less water each day without even having to think about saving water.
Fix Leaky Toilets
Many toilets have slow leaks between the tank and the bowl. These leaks go undetected and untreated for years. If your toilet ever starts running when you have not just flushed it, you have a leak that's wasting water. Sometimes all you'll need to do to fix the leak is replace the flapper, which is the plastic apparatus that fits over the pipe leading from the toilet tank to the bowl. To replace the flapper, lift the lid off the tank, unhook the flapper, and snap a new one (from your local hardware store) into place. If the toilet keeps leaking after you make this quick fix, call a plumber to diagnose and treat the problem.
Replace Your Toilet With a Low-Flow Model
If your toilet was installed prior to 1994, it's time to upgrade to a new model. Before 1994, toilets used 3.5 gallons of water per flush. Modern toilets use much less water—only 1.6 gallons per flush. Swapping an aged toilet for a new, low-flow model saves the average U.S. household about 25 gallons of water each day. Some homeowners worry that a low-flow toilet won't flush cleanly or completely. However, as long as you buy a gravity-flush model, you typically won't have any problems. For homes with very poor drainpipe connections, models sold as "pressure assist" toilets are a good choice. These low-flow toilets use pressurized air to propel water and waste down into the drainpipe.
Install Aerators on Your Faucet
An aerator is a simple device that screws onto the end of your faucet. It mixes air with the water, which causes you to use less water whenever you turn on the faucet to wash your hands, rinse a dish, and so forth. You may be able to purchase aerators at the hardware store and screw them onto your existing faucets in place of the current faucet heads. If you find that this is not possible with your current faucets, consider having your plumber install new, aerator-fitted faucets throughout your home.
Upgrade to a Water-Efficient Showerhead
Showering accounts for about 17% of indoor water use in American homes. This means your shower is a great place to focus on water conservation, and thankfully there's an easier way to do it than limiting yourself to 1-minute rinses every other day.
Standard showerheads use about 2.5 gallons of water per minute, but water-efficient shower heads use no more than 2.0 gallons per minute. To identify a water-efficient showerhead, look for one with the WaterSense emblem. WaterSense is a program run by the EPA and showerheads that bear the WaterSense emblem have been evaluated to ensure they meet water-efficient criteria.
Usually, all you need to do to replace your showerhead is unscrew the current head and screw a new one on in its place. Make sure you wrap the threads of the pipe with Teflon plumber's tape before screwing on the new showerhead, as this step will help prevent leaks.
Aside from replacing your toilet, all of these home updates are easy to complete on your own in the span of an afternoon. If you do think your toilet needs to be replaced or repaired, or if you'd like to explore more options for conserving water, make an appointment with Coastal Plumbing Inc.