3 ways to save water at home (video)

| by Gary Wollenhaupt
3 ways to save water at home (video)

Concerns about drought and a growing consumer interest in resource efficiency are leading homeowners to seek out new ways to conserve water at home.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save water, ranging from simple do-it-yourself techniques to new products that will save water with very little effort.


High-efficiency toilets

Toilets account for approximately 30 percent of indoor water use in the home. An HET system can save a household money and minimize water consumption. Using an HET system can save a family of four 39,000 gallons of water per year, which equates to a lifetime of drinking water for three people.

The advent of the high-efficiency toilet could be described as happening nearly overnight when the Environmental Protection Agency enacted a new policy on water usage in residential toilet systems as a conservation measure. From toilets that used 3.5 gallons to 5 gallons per flush, manufacturers developed toilets that used no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, and high-efficient models that use 1.28 gallons per flush or less. Now, approximately 700 toilet manufacturers sell HET models com- pared to just 100 vendors in 2002.

There are now five different toilet system technologies in use, and the most efficient use 0.8 gallons per flush. That level, experts believe, is likely the lowest requirement that can be used for good performance.

Read about an 85-year-old-toilet that was replaced with an HET.

Today’s market boasts five HET-compliant technologies: a single-flush system, a dual-flush option (providing 0.8 gallon per flush for liquids and 1.6 gallons per flush for solids), a pressure-assisted model, a power pump system and flushometers, which are used primarily in the commercial space.

The EPA also launched a voluntary vendor program for labeling products, similar to the agency's well-known voluntary Energy Star program. The WaterSense program, initiated in 2007, identifies toilets that meet a lower flush standard, 1.28 gallons per flush, and other water- related systems (showers, tubs and faucets) that adhere to specific design requirements. The WaterSense label is applied to HETs that have completed a third-party certification process. The EPA estimates that a family of four that replaces older toilets with WaterSense- labeled models will, on average, save more than $90 per year in reduced water utility bills, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilets.

On-demand hot water pumps

Imagine turning on the faucet and having hot water available in two seconds instead of two minutes.

Of the 90 million single-family homes in the United States, most have systems requiring homeowners to wait up to a full minute, if not longer, for water to heat from 50 degrees to 120. In an instant-gratification society this is inconvenient, not to mention wasteful of natural resources.

Using hot water recirculation systems on demand can help homeowners conserve water and energy

Studies from the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy show that a typical household wastes 7,000 to 10,000 gallons of water per year while running water down the drain, waiting for hot water. Approximately 7 gallons of water down the drain creates 1 kilowatt-hour of lost energy, which according to the DOE, represents 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide.

ACT D’MAND Kontrols ® System developed electronically controlled re-circulatory pump system capable of distributing hot water on demand, without gallons of water needlessly going back into the sewage system.

The system for residential and commercial applications can be installed on existing homes and buildings. This allows the existing plumbing in a building to circulate the hot water to remote fixtures by using both the hot and cold water piping. This is accomplished without allowing any hot water to enter into the cold water side. The D’MAND® System can be installed on any size home. There is no timer as the system works only on the demand of the user or homeowner. The D’MAND Kontrols® System can also be used on “Structured Plumbing®” where a dedicated hot water re-circulation (third line) has been installed.

The system works with existing and new plumbing systems, from boilers to tankless water heaters, gas or electric. Each apparatus already makes hot water; by using ACT D’MAND Kontrols®, the water gets hotter faster but only on demand of the user.

Watch a video about on-demand hot water pumps.

Fix a Leak

Each year, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leaks from the plumbing in U.S. homes according to the EPA WaterSense Program.

Repairing dripping faucets, leaky toilets and other plumbing leaks will equate to big savings on water bills and reduce the strain on local and regional water supplies.

Fix-a-Leak Week (March 17-23 2014) is a designated time to increase awareness and improve water conservation through simple measures.

“Most home and business owners will be surprised how fixing a couple of seemingly insignificant leaks can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year, said Preston Theye, general manager of Rapid-Rooter in Ft. Lauderdale.

According to the EPA, the average American household can save up to 10,000 gallons of water simply by fixing plumbing leaks. EPA WaterSense certified products include dual-flush toilets, flow reducers for faucet spouts and low-flow showerheads.

Two Tricks for Detecting a Toilet Leak

You may not always hear water running in your toilet or see it flowing into the bowl but your toilet might be leaking water down the drain on a constant basis, up to 200 gallons per day. Here are two ways to detect toilet leaks from plumbing experts at Rapid-Rooter: 

1. Put a few drops of food coloring into the tank and wait fifteen minutes. If colored water appears in the bowl, you have a leak. Replacement of the flapper valve will stop most toilet leaks.

2. Sprinkle a pinch of flour or talcum powder on top of the water in your toilet tank. Watch it carefully. If it drifts toward the tank’s overflow tube then you have a different kind of toilet leak called an overflow leak. Replace the float valve to solve the problem.

Faucet drips can often be fixed by replacing simple washers and cartridges. How-to videos on the internet make such DIY projects easier than ever, but a professional plumber can quickly find and fix all household leaks for those who lack DIY skills or are simply too busy to make repairs themselves. Often, the cost of a plumber’s time can be recovered in water bill savings in less than a year.

Read more about saving water.

[Photo courtesy of Mansfield]

Topics: Bathroom, Kitchen, Plumbing & Fixtures, Sinks & Toilets, Water Saving Devices, WaterSense

Companies: U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Energy, Kohler, Delta Faucet Company, ACT D'MAND Systems

Gary Wollenhaupt

Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.

wwwView Gary Wollenhaupt's profile on LinkedIn

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