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7 Warm Weather Tips for Saving Money

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Household water use increases as the weather warms up. Whether you’re washing dirt off the kids or the dog, watering your lawn and your plants or washing the car or your windows, spring and summer mean higher water bills. If you want to use less water during the sunny seasons, don’t fret. Saving money on your water bill doesn’t have to mean cutting down on family fun.

1) Be smart When Watering Your Lawn

Maintaining a green lawn during summer heat can be a challenge if you’re concerned about wasting water. Turn on your sprinklers in the early morning or after sunset to reduce water loss through evaporation. Even better, replace your lawn with xeriscaping, which uses drought-resistant native plants to create an attractive yard.

2) Replace Your Garden Hose or Watering Can with Soaker Hoses or Drip Irrigation

Your flowers, plants, shrubs and homegrown fruit and vegetables get thirsty quickly in the heat. Save water and time by installing soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system to deliver water right where it’s needed at the plant roots.

3) Collect Water for Your Garden in a Rain Barrel

Your garden plants will appreciate the untreated water from a rain barrel. Fit a simple diverter from a drainpipe to a barrel to collect rain water before it disappears into the drain. Cover the barrel with a lid to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

4) Install Low-Flush Toilets and Volume Shower Heads and Faucets

Sustainable plumbing appliances use special spray patterns, higher pressure, aerators and concentrated streams of water to reduce water use while maintaining efficiency. What’s more, you’ll save money on energy bills because you’ll be using less energy to heat water.

5) Reuse Your Household Water

Allowing only slightly dirty water to flow away down the drain is a waste. Collect water from baths and showers and rinse water from your washing machine, and use it to flush the toilet and wash your car. If you use ecologically-friendly washing products, you can also use this grey water to water your yard.

6) Replace Your Old Washing Machine

Modern front-loading washing machines use less water and energy, ultimately saving money. If you have a top-loading washing machine, you can save 16 gallons of water per load by replacing it with a front-loading appliance.

7) Install a Water Meter

Few things can make you or your family more conscious of your water consumption than the spinning dials of a water meter. When all your water-saving strategies are in place, watch your savings add up as your water use goes down.

Expensive water bills aren’t inevitable this summer. Reduce water use in your garden and home, upgrade your plumbing appliances and reuse grey water to cut down household water expenses.

For answers to your water-saving questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

The Best Ways to Save Water at Home

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Water is one of the earth’s most important natural resources. Conserve fresh water supplies by eliminating wasteful habits to preserve our environment. Using less water reduces energy use, which will help to reduce harmful carbon emissions in earth’s atmosphere. You can do your part by saving water at home. Here’s how to reduce your water use and keep your home’s plumbing system in top (water-saving) condition.

Plumbing Water Saving Tips

Begin your personal water conservation campaign by addressing your home’s plumbing system. Make it as efficient as possible. Most home plumbing systems can be upgraded with minimal expense. The upgrades listed below can save you money in the long run as they’ll help you reduce water usage (and will likely lower your energy bills).

  • Replace old, water-guzzling toilets with newer, more efficient models. Some dated models use six to eight gallons of clean water per flush. Newer models require less than a gallon per flush.
  • Repair faulty toilets that run constantly or have a penchant for hanging up every now and then. A running toilet will wash enormous amounts of fresh water down the drain… along with your hard-earned money.
  • Replace showerheads with low-flow units designed to conserve water. Some models are equipped with a convenient, built-in shutoff valve that allows you to interrupt the flow of water without changing the temperature. This comes in handy when shaving or scrubbing your back.
  • Repair leaking faucets and hose bibs. You might be surprised to learn how much water is wasted as a result of leaking faucets.

Personal Water Saving Tips

Now that your plumbing is up to speed, you can practice these personal tips to save water at home.

  1. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving. A common faucet puts out up to two gallons of water a minute. Since the recommended time you should brush your teeth is two minutes, running the faucet while brushing your teeth will waste four gallons of clean, fresh water.
  2. Take showers instead of baths. Filling a bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water. In addition, reduce your shower times to five minutes or less.
  3. Wash full loads of laundry when doing the wash and avoid the permanent press cycle, which requires an additional five gallons of water for the extra rinse.
  4. Avoid the garbage disposal. Aside from requiring a lot of water to dispose of food scraps, garbage disposals can be detrimental to septic tank systems. Put food scraps in the trash or start a compost bin and make your own fertilizer.

The aforementioned information will help you save water at home. You can take it a step further by discovering additional water saving tips and practicing common sense when you turn on the tap.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Tankless Water Heaters: How Do They Work?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Tankless water heaters also referred to as instantaneous or on-demand water heaters, produce hot water only when called for. This feature provides the system with improved energy efficiency, which can save you money in energy costs. To help determine if it is right for your home, you should take the time to understand the basic functions of the system.

How They Work
A tankless system does not require a storage tank; they heat water directly when you turn on the faucet. When a flow switch affixed to the unit detects water flow, it activates the system to heat the water. An electric element or gas burner is responsible for heating the water before it reaches your tap. When you turn off the faucet or outlet, the water flow stops and the sensor deactivates the water heating system. Since tankless systems heat water only on demand, you can expect to save a few dollars on your energy bills.

Energy Consumption
The amount of energy tankless water heaters consume depends on the amount of hot water used. According to Energy Star, a typical home that uses 41 gallons or less of hot water daily can expect to achieve between 24%-34% more energy efficiency versus a conventional storage tank system. You can realize significant savings on your utility bill. Homes that use more water — 86 gallons per day — will only achieve between 8%-14% more energy efficiency. You can increase energy efficiency further by installing tankless systems at each water outlet; however, you incur more upfront costs as you will need additional units.

Cost Factor
You will experience a higher out-of-pocket cost when installing a tankless system. These systems cost more than most conventional storage tank water heaters. However, a tankless system’s expected lifespan is more than 20 years, which is far greater than its traditional counterpart of between 10 to 15 years. When you consider its increased lifespan with its lower operating costs, it could offset the higher purchase price.

Installation Considerations
Proper installation and periodic maintenance will ensure maximum energy efficiency for a tankless water heater. Many factors are involved when purchasing and installing a tankless system including fuel types, building codes, climate, and safety concerns especially involving gas-fired heaters. To ensure proper and safe installation as well as full energy efficiency, it would be wise to hire a professional plumbing contractor to install the system.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Water Pipe Insulation: Is It Worth It in Your Home?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Today’s green movement has many homeowners asking, “Is water pipe insulation worth the trouble?” The short answer is yes. Insulated water pipes increase energy efficiency, lowering your energy use and reducing energy bills. Reducing your carbon footprint by using less energy is a step in the right direction for green living. In fact, according to the folks over at energy.gov, insulated water pipes delivers water to your fixtures between 2 and 4 degrees hotter than uninsulated pipes.

The obvious benefits are hotter water and reduced energy use and costs. Benefits that are less obvious include shorter periods waiting for the hot water to reach your shower, which results in less water being washed down the drain. Therefore, not only does water pipe insulation conserve energy but also helps to conserve one of our most precious natural resources: water.

Another hidden benefit of water pipe insulation involves the cold water supply lines. People living in regions subjected to freezing temperatures can probably figure this one out on their own. Insulating both your hot and cold water pipes is paramount to avoid burst pipes during the winter months, especially pipes that are exposed to the freezing temperatures. A burst water pipe can cause untold water damage to your home — damage that will have you kicking yourself if you could have avoided it by simply protecting your pipes from the freezing temperatures.

The cost of water pipe insulation materials is, for the most part, inexpensive. Neoprene and polyethylene foam pipe sleeves are the easiest and most common material used for water pipe insulation. The materials are sold at most home improvement centers as well as local hardware stores and plumbing supply houses. While the materials may be inexpensive, installing them can be quite labor intensive, so it’s recommended that you call a professional plumber. Accessing your water pipes usually requires entering confined areas of your home such as crawl spaces, basements and attics. Unless you are building a new house, you will not have access to all of the applicable water supply lines as some of them are sure to be enclosed in walls. For these, a good rule of thumb to follow is that whenever you open up a wall and have access to your water supply lines such as during a bathroom or kitchen renovation, you insist that your plumbing contractor insulate the water supply pipes, both hot and cold, while they are exposed.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Trending Home Plumbing Options for 2015

Friday, April 24th, 2015

The home plumbing options you see today would knock your grandmother’s socks off. And for good reason. Plumbing fixture and appliance manufacturers are responding to consumer demand for more comfort in the bathroom and kitchen, as well as high-tech, green and convenient options that make life just a bit easier. If you’re checking out home plumbing options, look no further. Here’s a review of the runaway plumbing trends for this year.

Comfort seekers

Don’t assume you have to leave technology behind when you shower. Now, you can install wireless shower speakers to enjoy live streamed music while you get ready for the day. Wireless speakers are not the only advancement in comfort, however. Plumbing options with LED lights act like a nightlight of sorts for nighttime toilet use. LED lights in kitchen and bathroom sinks help users easily see if water is hot (red) or cold (blue), and act as an added safety measure, too.

Green is winning

Water-saving home plumbing options are becoming all the rage, especially with some regions in the country having a heightened need to ration water. However, everyone benefits from saving water, as it limits energy bills and helps conserve natural resources. Dishwashers and washing machines are now designed to use less water for the wash and rinse cycles. According to some reports, homeowners can save as much as 700 gallons of water annually by installing a green dishwasher. Faucet aeraters and showerheads also limit the flow of water through them, so users consumer less water to perform daily hygiene tasks, like washing hands, showering, shaving and so forth.

High-tech goes residential

Touchless faucets are finding their way from commercial bathrooms to residential kitchens and bathrooms. This high-tech feature is not only more sanitary, it’s ultra-convenient, too. No longer do cooks have to risk getting raw chicken juice on kitchen sink handles. Now, you can simply wave your hand in front of the faucet and safely wash your hands. The same technology is being used on toilets, too. Touchless toilets greatly decreases the spread of germs. The technology works in the same fashion as sinks: Simply wave your hand by the sensor, the toilet will flush and then the lid slowly and quietly closes shut.

Don’t waste the opportunity to explore comfort, green, convenient and high-tech home plumbing options when it’s time to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom. Everything from fixtures to appliances is evolving, thanks to an effort to conserve more water and lower energy bills, while maintaining the level of comfort to which you’re accustomed. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Water Efficiency Changes Help Homeowners Save

Friday, March 6th, 2015

There’s good news on the horizon for homeowners and the environment. The Department of Energy has created a new standard for energy usage on water heaters. Water efficiency changes will take place April 16, 2015, and homeowners need to know how the new rule will affect existing equipment and future purchases.

This isn’t the first change the DOE has implemented. Back in 1990, the mandatory standard helped save 3.2 quads of energy. Another change in 2004 saved 6 quads of energy. Today’s standard is set to generate more savings, leading to a 3.3 quads of energy savings from water heaters purchased from 2015 to 2044. It’s also estimated to help homeowners and building owners save about $63 billion in energy bills, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 172.5 million metric tons – an amount equal to the greenhouse gas emissions released by almost 40 million cars.

What Does it Mean for You?

Water heater manufacturers and designers have been hard at work to generate heating systems to comply with the new standards. When the new standard goes into effect in April, you’ll notice the new systems stocked in the warehouses of contractors and home improvement stores. But it doesn’t mean you have to upgrade your existing system to comply.

The new standard applies only to newly purchased systems, so manufacturers can still sell already manufactured systems that don’t meet the new guidelines, but only until they run out. If you’re in the market for a water heater upgrade, it’s to your benefit to check out the systems that do comply with regulations.

Water Efficiency Changes Mean Savings

The number one benefit homeowners get from seeking out a water heater that adheres to the new standard is savings. The more efficient the water heater you buy, the more savings you’ll get on the back end.

There are varying standards depending on the type of water heater you purchase.

  • Gas-fired water heaters must meet an Energy Factor (EF) of 0.675 for systems under 55 gallons, while systems over 55 gallons must meet 0.8012 EF.
  • Oil-fired water heaters over 50 gallons must meet an EF of 0.68.
  • Electric water heaters under 55 gallons must achieve 0.960 EF, while systems between 55 and 120 gallons must meet 2.057 EF.
  • Tankless water heaters must meet 0.82 (gas fired) or 0.93 (electric).

Don’t put your investment in a new water heater at risk. Get expert advice navigating water efficiency changes or water heater features. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr