Pro Tips for Making Your Home Greener, In Honor of St. Patrick’s Day
This year, many people are using St. Patrick’s Day as an inspiration to think green and reduce waste – and not just in terms of saving the leftover green ale and corned beef (although that’s a good place to start). Many homeowners are thinking green by reducing their energy and water usage, cutting down on waste, and living more sustainably. It may seem like an overwhelming task, but even a few relatively minor changes to a home’s plumbing system alone can make a huge difference.
Install Water-Saving Plumbing Fixtures
Replacing those old faucets, showerheads, and toilets with new water-efficient fixtures can save thousands of gallons of water every year. The flow rate of standard bathroom and kitchen sink faucets is 2.2 gallons per minute (GPM), while low-flow faucets begin at 1.5 GPM and go down from there, all the way to 0.5 GPM. The lower figure is ideal for bathroom faucets, while kitchen faucets require around 1.2-1.5 GPM for sufficient dishwashing pressure.
Water-saving showerheads have a maximum flow rate of 2 GPM, as opposed to the federal standard of 2.5 GPM. This difference can save the average household up to 2,700 gallons of water per year and reduce energy consumption due to water heater use. Water-saving heads use different methods to compensate for the reduced flow – aerating showerheads mix air with the water to boost pressure, while rainfall showerheads use gravity.
Installing a water-efficient toilet can save around 4,000 gallons of water a year – per toilet! Standard toilets use around 2 to 4 gallons with each flush, but water-saving models use around 1.28 gallons. Some dual-flush toilets use only 1.1 to 1.6 gallons, depending on which type of waste is being flushed. Even the most efficient models are surprisingly affordable.
Switch To a More Energy-Efficient Water Heater
Water heaters come in second in household energy consumption by a single appliance, just behind the HVAC system. Standard residential water heaters also account for a significant portion of any community’s electricity usage and greenhouse gas emissions. For homeowners looking to go green – and save money – switching to a more efficient water heater is a no-brainer.
There are several types of energy-efficient water heaters, from tankless “on-demand” units to high-efficiency gas storage tank models. Some even derive heating power from roof-mounted solar panels. Perhaps the most efficient and eco-friendly is the heat pump water heater, which draws thermal energy from the surrounding environment to heat the water supply. Homeowners should ask their plumber to evaluate which type of energy-saving water heater is right for them.
Adopt New Water-Saving Habits
Much of a household’s annual water waste is caused by bad habits. Most people know not to run the tap while brushing their teeth or shaving, but they may not know that this simple act potentially saves hundreds of gallons of water per week. Keeping showers under 5 minutes can save 1,000 gallons per week.
Running the dishwasher and doing laundry as infrequently as possible will help save on electricity and water alike – even with high-efficiency models. Hand-washing dishes also help, as long as the tap is only turned on for wetting and rinsing. Also, homeowners should be sure to avoid over-watering the lawn and garden, turn off irrigation systems and sprinklers during rainy periods, avoid flushing loggable items down the toilet, and regularly check for evidence of pipe leaks inside and outdoors.
About the Plumbing Nerds
Plumbing Nerds have been proudly and expertly serving Naples, FL since 2007. With numerous service awards, 5-star reviews, and a BBB A+ Rating, they are their community’s trusted go-to plumbers. They provide a 100% guarantee, transparent pricing, free estimates, and 24-hour emergency plumbing service with no after-hours fees. Call now for expert water heater services!