Homeowners can be surprised just how much water and money they can save by performing a few simple checks around the house, as well as changing a few of their daily habits.
“Homeowners can easily reduce water usage without sacrifice by following these simple steps,” said ServiceOne founder and president, Bill Gouty. “These tips can add up to a significant savings on your water bill.”
1. How to check your faucets, toilets and pipes for leaks
Leaky faucets, pipes or toilets can waste significant amounts of water and money over time. Here’s how to check for leaks around your house.
Check all faucets to make sure that they do not drip water from both the nozzle and under the sink. A faucet that drips once per second and goes unrepaired for a month wastes nearly 260 gallons of water.
Checking toilets for leaks is very simple. Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 15 to 20 minutes before flushing. If any food coloring shows up in the bowl before you flush, you have a leak. Flush quickly after finishing the test to prevent staining the bowl.
How to detect leaks that you cannot see
Test your meter regularly to ensure that you have no “invisible” water leaks (such as a leak in the buried supply line running to your home or business).
First shut off all faucets and turn off all water-consuming appliances such as laundry machines and dishwashers. Then go read your water meter, and restrict using any water for the next 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, go read your meter again. If the meter has moved, you have a leak.
Contact ServiceOne Plumbing to conduct a leak detection analysis to help pin-point the source of the leak.
2. Save water in the bathroom
A toilet manufactured before 1994 may use thousands of gallons more per year than newer models. When purchasing a new toilet, look for the EPA WaterSense label, which uses at least 20 percent less water than standard toilets.
Taking showers instead of baths will save significant amounts of water. Consider taking shorter showers and use a water-efficient shower head.
Do not leave the faucet running when brushing teeth or shaving. You can also purchase and install flow restrictors in your faucet, a cheap and simple method to help conserve water every day.
Lastly, do not flush trash down the toilet. This not only wastes water, but may also cause problems in your sewage systems and/or septic tanks.
3. Save water in the kitchen
Always run the dishwasher when it is full. Many newer models of dishwashers offer different wash cycles, allowing you to use them more efficiently. If you wash dishes by hand, fill the basin with soapy water and quickly rinse the dishes under a slowly moving stream from the faucet.
Garbage disposals require large amounts of water. Consider composting food or putting it in the garbage, instead.
If you run the faucet while waiting for water to get hot, consider collecting it in glasses or a pitcher instead of pouring it down the drain. The collected water can be used for other things, such as watering plants or boiling food for cooking later. If you want cold drinking water, keep a pitcher in the refrigerator. Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food in the fridge.
4. Save water around the house
If your water heater is new, it most likely comes insulated from the manufacturer. If your water heater is older or not insulated, you can insulate it yourself with pre-cut jackets or blankets that you can find online or at your local hardware store. To see if your water heater is insulated, check your water heater’s label for an R-value of at least 24. You can also maintain your water heater by draining a quarter of the tank to remove debris and sediments once a year, or call ServiceOne Plumbing to perform the maintenance for you.
Wash only full loads of clothing and set your washing machine to the proper water level. Remember that many newer washing machines offer water-efficient features.
It’s also wise to know where your master shut-off valve is in your home or business. Be prepared to use it in case of a burst pipe or other emergency.
“ServiceOne can come out to your home and do a leak inspection and check your appliances to see if they are water efficient,” said Gouty. “This is a free inspection and often ends up saving you money in the long run.”