Water efficiency is a topic on the minds of many homeowners, especially when the utility bill arrives and the amount due for water and sewer services seems higher than ever. One way to conserve water around the home without resorting to only showering once per week is to install plumbing fixtures that reduce the amount of water flow and wastage. You can still enjoy that daily hot shower and still save money with these greener options for residential plumbing fixtures.
Dual-flush toilets offer two flushing options depending on the type of waste that needs disposal. The lowest water usage option requires only 0.8 gallons of water for flushing. This flush option is usually used for liquid waste. When solid waste needs flushing, the user can select the traditional 1.6 gallon flush. Estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggest that homeowners could reduce water consumption by as much as fifty percent simply by installing a dual-flush toilet. If a completely new toilet is not needed, homeowners can have their existing toilets retrofitted with a dual flush mechanism.
Running the water while washing dishes, brushing teeth or washing hands is sure to generate plenty of wasted water. Installation of a low-flow faucet can minimize the amount of water wasted. Installing this type of a faucet makes it easier to save on water use rather than having to constantly remind members of the household to turn off the water or to hurry up with what they are doing. Most low-flow faucets rely on increased aeration, which means that more air is added to the water as it flows out of the spigot. Converting over to low flow faucets could reduce residential water consumption by another fifty percent.
With a low-flow showerhead, everyone in the house can still enjoy the pleasure of a hot morning shower without running up the water bill. The beauty of a low-flow showerhead is that the showering experience will not feel much different than before the new shower head was installed. The low flow aerators for shower heads range from 0.5 gallons to 2 gallons of water per minute. Some of these shower heads offer additional features such as pressurizing so that the user can still enjoy the pressure of faster flow without the typical water wastage of fast flowing water. Users can change the velocity as desired with a swivel or lever on most of these shower heads. A typical family could reduce its shower water usage by as much as 70 percent by upgrading to a lower flowing shower head.
The EPA estimates that if just one percent of American homes was retrofitted with these types of greener plumbing fixtures, our country could save more than 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and avoid adding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas to the environment. Making these changes is a one time effort that leads to many years of financial and environmental benefits. These fixtures make it easy for everyone in the family as well as guests to join in together in conserving water and utility usage.
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Rachel is a blogger for Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Minneapolis who has a team of plumbers in Shoreview that specialize in green plumbing updates for residential homes. You can follow Ben Franklin Plumbing @MPLSplumber.