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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

Water Heaters: Should You Go Tankless?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Homeowners are often faced with a tough decision when their water heater leaves them out in the cold. Should they go traditional or upgrade to a tankless water heater system? This decision should be viewed as an important one because most estimates claim that your home’s water heater accounts for roughly 30 percent of its energy consumption. You could experience significant energy savings by installing a more efficient system. The looming question, should you go tankless, depends on several factors that are outlined below.

Traditional Versus Tankless

Traditional water heaters heat and store the conditioned water in a tank. By design, the water temperature is maintained 24 hours a day regardless of whether or not t is being used. A tankless water heater system heats water on demand, and only when called for. On-demand water heating means on demand energy use and less energy use equates to smaller utility bills. Another advantage a tankless water heater holds over a tanked system is their compact size.

Important Installation Considerations

When you are faced with no hot water, time is of the essence. If you are considering switching from a tanked water heater to a tankless system, the installation will be more involved. The fastest solution is to replace their traditional system with a new one of the same size. Not only will hot water be restored quicker, but it will be restored at a lesser cost. This is because of the necessary plumbing, gas line and electrical upgrades that are commonly required during a tankless installation.

Understand the Savings

Breaking down the installation costs and the expected annual savings can help you determine the best route to take when replacing a water heater. Typically, a tankless system costs anywhere from $800 to $1200 “plus installation” while a tanked water heater falls between $400 and $800 plus installation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a point of use water heater will produce hot water more efficiently — 24 to 34 percent — than a traditional system that incorporates a storage tank. The estimates can vary depending on fuel type and the amount of hot water used within the household.

Cost Saving Advice

If converting to a tankless water heater is just not economically feasible, consider these valuable tips to make your tank-style water heater more energy efficient.

  • Replace your old water heater with a newer model. Today’s tank-styled water heaters are much more efficient than those of yesteryear.
  • Insulating your tank-style water heater with a water heater blanket will significantly increase its efficiency.
  • Install a water heater timer, a device you preset that only activates the appliance during the times your household uses hot water.

Why maintain hot water 24 hours a day when probably only need it for a few hours?

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

Image Source: Flickr

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.