What "green" improvements to my plumbing will save money?
You may or may not be someone who tries to follow the green crowd as steadfastly as some. Truth be known, certain ways of going green just might be a little extreme or too expensive for your tastes and budget.
However, if you're one to keep your eyes open for opportunities to go green that are really simple and friendlier on your wallet, your plumbing presents a broad range of opportunities. Here are some components of your plumbing and the steps you can take to make them greener, which in turn will help you keep more green in your pocket.
Use Less Water in Your Faucets and Shower
No, this doesn't mean you have to compromise how clean you get by rushing. It means you can install low-flow showerheads and faucets that can reduce water usage by up to 60%! A less expensive alternative to low-flow faucets is a faucet-flow reducer that you can install on existing faucets and reduce water usage by up to 40%.
Flush Less-Water, That Is
You can install low-flush toilets that use a fifth of the amount of water you flush every day, depending on what kind of toilet you currently have. And since the amount of water flushed by one person each and every day averages out at a whopping 28 gallons, that's nothing to shake a plunger at.
Insulate Your Pipes
Did you know that a significant amount of heat escapes from your pipes all day long? This is especially true when hot water is being drawn from a faucet or shower that's furthest from the water heater. It also happens when hot water runs through pipes in the exterior walls of the house because of their exposure to colder air. Insulating your pipes will reduce the amount of heat that's lost, which will also reduce the amount of unused energy you're paying for.
Upgrade Your Water Heater
If your water heater is 15-20 years old, it's probably at or near the end of its lifespan. It's also likely that it now operates at a much reduced capacity than when it was new. Over time, sediment builds up in the base of water heaters, which means there's less room for water. So, those 50 gallons could really be more like 25 in an old water heater. Installing a new water heater will give you the capacity you need, plus new designs are much more energy efficient to help lower your energy bills. And if you want to go even greener, you can look into installing a whole-home tankless water heater system.
Keep a Close Eye on Leaks
Little leaks can result in big water bills and costly damage. Even if you're not a plumber, you can spot a leak here or there if you inspect your pipes periodically. But a good gadget that can watch your pipes for you is a home leak-monitoring device. Attached directly to your water main, it can notify you if there's a leak in the system, so you can locate and fix the problems quickly.
To find plumbers in your area to help make your plumbing system greener, search Kudzu.com.
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