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The average American household of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day, and many people pay hundreds of dollars per month for use. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Charlotte, NC wants to show you ways we can conserve water expense and preserve this natural resource. Our tips below include ways to save money both indoors and outdoors.
The top five ways we can conserve water include:
- Turn off the tap water in between washing and rinsing. For instance, you will want to turn off the water until you’ve lathered up your hands with soap and are ready to rinse them. You should also turn off your water in between washing dishes if you decide not to use a dish pan. Remember to turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving in between using it too!
- Have plumbing and fixture leaks repaired. If any problem would cause a high water bill, it’s this one. A leaky faucet alone emitting only one drop per second can produce more than 3,000 gallons of water waste in a year. Check all your water fixtures, shower heads, valves and pipes to make sure they have no moisture around them as if they had leaked recently.
- Stop your toilet from running. According to the EPA, toilets account for about 26-30 percent of home water usage. Leakages increase the consumption level, and they add to your cost. You can usually tell if it’s leaking by hearing a hissing sound that will not stop. Alternatively, you could use a few drops of food coloring or dye tablet to test your tank. Just drop the coloring liquid or tablet into your tank, and wait 15-20 minutes. Then, check the toilet bowl to see if dye has leaked into it from the bowl. If so, you know the toilet is allowing water into the bowl.
- Install an energy-efficient water heater. One option for you that we offer is a solar water heater. This one can cut your water bill in half. When used with a backup electric tank, your solar heater can save you about $250 per year. When used with a backup gas tank, it saves you about $190 per year. You also can save money with an Energy Star certified tank because you can receive a federal tax credit for your purchase. Even replacing a conventional or tankless heater will help because new units typically run more efficiently than old ones.
- Use a handheld shower hose. If you have a shower attachment you can use in your hand, it will allow you to spray yourself off during washing and rinsing steps when showering. This will prevent you from having to continuously run the water. Of course, you can also shorten the length of time you take a shower by even a minute or two to save water and lower your bill. Another option would be to use a low-flow shower head.
You also can save money by conserving your outdoor water supply:
- Inspect your hoses, connectors and faucets for rips, clogs or holes. Even tiny irrigation leaks could increase water waste. You will want to use a pipe cleaner or cloth to clean the dirt and debris you notice and replace or repair any opening where water would drip.
- Make sure your sprinkler heads are working correctly. Any malfunction that causes your sprinkler to not run properly and dispenses excess water can cost you more money than necessary. Sometimes, all you need to do is replace the washer on your hose, faucet or sprinkler head.
- Install energy-efficient watering systems. For instance, some have a timer to make sure they only run at certain times of the day. Others run using solar power, and you also can find sprinklers that allow you to lower the water pressure levels to use less water.
- Cover your swimming pool. This will prevent water evaporation that could cause you to need to refill your pool more often. To have an idea of how fast the water can disappear from your pool, it can lose about an inch per week depending upon how dry or humid the air is. Wind can also affect how much water will evaporate from your pool.
- Reuse waste water when possible. For instance, you can collect water from the shower or from the stove after cooking. Wait for the supply to cool and use it to give your indoor or outdoor plants a drink. Make sure you follow state codes for how to use grey water, or have it treated before using it. The water you collect while waiting for it to heat or cool that has not been used can be immediately offered to your indoor or outdoor plants. You also could use collected water to pour down your toilet for flushing.
Remodeling, Repairs and Additional Water Saving Advice
If you want to improve energy efficiency, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Charlotte, NC recommends some updates. For instance, you could replace your washing machines and reposition your piping to make water flow more efficiently. Altering pipe lengths from source to fixtures also could make a difference in efficiency levels.
In addition, you can turn down your main water pressure valve and even have a new valve added that will lower the flow rate to allow for less water usage. You also might want to request that we insulate your pipes for you, which will require less heating and cooling time when sending water through them.
We recommend that you also have a water heater tank insulation jacket installed to decrease water waste and heating energy usage. If you decide to remodel or update your plumbing, we can also move your water heater closer to where you most need it if space permits.
Contact us at our Charlotte, NC Benjamin Franklin Plumbing office for more information about increasing home efficiency.