Category Archives: Lower Utility Bills

Make Saving Water Part of Your Back-To-School Routine

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Any parent knows “back-to-school” is one of the most chaotic times of the whole year. You’re trying to establish new bedtime routines so everyone is up and ready on time in the mornings, battling the fall clothing migration as you store summer items and retrieve fall items only to realize that none of the school clothes your children could wear in May will fit them now, and getting everything relating to backpack organization, school lunches, and art supplies ready (which theoretically is supposed to make your life easier…hahahahaha…) – so we understand that water conservation really kind of takes a back burner during all of this. However, it really doesn’t have to, and since we strongly believe in teaching children good water-saving habits, we’ve compiled this list of five simple ways you can work water conservation into your new school year routine. Wanna know the best part? Many of these tips will also save you some money!

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1. Use a timer for showers. Not only will this help save water by limiting everyone to 10 minutes or less in the shower, it can also help you keep everyone focused and on time in the mornings. If you shower in the evening, having a timer can also help speed things along at bedtime. Replace your existing shower head with a water-saving shower head for more water savings.

2. Reuse your towels. When you get out of the shower, you’re clean right? Instead of tossing towels into the hamper after each use, hang them up to dry and use them again tomorrow. Buy robe hooks or re-purpose an old coat rack to hang in the bathroom and designate a hook for everyone. Even most younger children can hang a towel on a hook much more easily than trying to fold and hang over a traditional bar, and it keeps the bathroom more organized and looking nicer than having a bunch of skewed, bunched up towels half hanging off the towel bars.

3. Be mindful of your other laundry. Some days you have to try on everything in your closet before you figure out what you really want to wear…or that you and your tween daughter both agree is appropriate for school…But are all those clothes dirty? Of course not! What about those jeans you wore yesterday? They could probably be worn again before needing to be washed. When undressing, evaluate what is actually dirty and what could be worn again before being washed, and you could save not only tons of water but lots of time and energy by doing less laundry. And who doesn’t want to do LESS laundry??? When you actually do laundry, also remember to set the appropriate load size and try to use cold water or try line drying to save more energy and water.

4. Encourage healthy eating and drinking water. We’re sure you do this for your kids already, but did you know that by eating fresh foods and drinking water you’re actually helping to save water and energy? glassofwater Generally, it takes a lot more water to produce processed foods than it does to actually grow fresh foods. Additionally, purchasing locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, cheese, etc. cuts back on the amount of water needed to transport foods. We understand that not all towns or cities have a local farmers’ market and that sometimes this can be cost prohibitive, but it’s a choice worth considering and with careful planning and budgeting can be a positive, healthy change for your family. Another quick healthy tip that can potentially save you hundreds of gallons of water per year is to put a pitcher of water in the fridge for drinking instead of waiting for the tap to run cool. With this method, you can also add fresh fruits like strawberries, limes, or pineapple to infuse flavor in the water to help encourage kids to reach for a glass of water instead of sugary juices or sodas.

5. Consider the water footprint of products you use every day and try to make some changes. It’s a complex system, but water and energy are very closely tied together and it is sometimes difficult to understand how much water is really used to make the things we use all the time. Wherever you can, find ways to reuse or recycle things, or to create your own reusable items. Cloth shopping bags, reusable lunch baggies or containers, and reusable water bottles can replace their single-use alternatives to help save water. Now, we hear you saying – but doesn’t it take water to create and wash those too? Yes, it does, but the water consumed in creating and washing these reusable items is significantly less than what is wasted to create new single-use items. It’s estimated that it takes about 24 gallons of water to make one pound of plastic. Even if you buy a plastic reusable water bottle, you’re still helping to save water since that 24 gallons only has to be expended once instead of every single time you need water on the go.

If we focus only on one thing – packing lunches for school – think of all the ways you can save water…

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By making simple changes in our daily routines and making a concentrated effort to really think about how we use water, we can all start saving this most precious of resources. And although it might seem difficult at times, remember that every drop counts! Your small changes DO make a BIG difference!

Want to learn more about saving water around the house and find water-saving innovations to help you out? Check out our Guide to Water-Saving Plumbing Products.

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5 Easy Plumbing New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is a positive time for most of us. We’re inspired with hope by the idea of a fresh start and what the year may bring. Then there’s all the New Year’s Resolutions. So many of us resolve to save money or get our bodies in shape – but what about also getting your plumbing in shape this year? Here at PlumbingSupply.com® we’ve come up with 5 nifty plumbing-related resolutions that we think everyone should try over the course of the new year!

 

Drawing of trees 1. Go green.

Water is one of our most precious natural resources – we cannot live without it, and yet there is a very limited supply. If you’re thinking of doing a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room remodel this year, choose water-efficient faucets and low flow shower heads or place a point-of-use water heater in areas where you consistently run the taps while waiting for the water to heat up. Outdoors, you can install a drip-irrigation system instead of a new sprinkler or consider setting up your own rainwater harvesting system to collect water to use in watering plants or washing your car.

 

picture of toilet2. Fix your toilet.

It can be helpful to think of your toilet as another appliance in your home. Anything with moving parts can break or wear down – and that includes the moving parts of your toilet. Save water and avoid costly problems later with good maintenance this year.

 

image of water heater tank 3. Flush your water heater.

Ideally, your water heater should last between 10 and 15 years, but without proper maintenance many fail after 5 or 6 years, leaving you frustrated and sometimes causing significant damage to your home. An annual flush and all-around check to make sure all the parts are functioning well can help you avoid cold showers, save you money, and extend the life of your water heater.

 

image of drain4. Keep your drains clog free.

Nobody wants to deal with the hassle (and often major expense) associated with clogged drains. This year, take steps to prevent clogs before they happen by placing mesh screens or strainers in your sinks, tub or shower, etc., not putting anything down the drain or toilet that doesn’t belong (i.e. grease, baby wipes, razors, etc.), and by using non-corrosive, septic-friendly bacterial drain cleaners regularly.

 

image of sand separator5. Install a water filter.

While we’re blessed with an abundance of clean drinkable water in the United States, there are still some things we can and should filter out of our water, like sand, dirt, and unhealthy chemicals. Whether you need a whole house sand separator to keep your drains, faucets, and water heater free of sediment build-up, or just want to eliminate chlorine in your shower with a filtered shower head, purer water is always a good thing.

 

We would like to encourage you throughout the new year to follow these and other plumbing maintenance resolutions you may form, for the benefit of yourself and your family, your neighbors, and our environment. As always, PlumbingSupply.com® wishes you a safe and happy New Year!

 

New Year’s Resolution

newyearslistIt’s a new year and everybody’s made, and often already broken, their new year’s resolutions. Now that you’re nearly two months into 2013, maybe it’s time to take a look at those resolutions again.

Most people resolve to take better care of themselves, whether by going to the gym, distancing themselves from toxic relationships, or simply by choosing to eat healthier. Some follow through, and naturally, some don’t. But that’s not the point of this particular article.

Did you resolve to take better care of your home? No? Why not? After all, it shelters you, provides you with warmth and water, a place to keep food so it doesn’t spoil, and a comfortable place to sleep at night. A home is used daily and if something doesn’t work right, it’s a major inconvenience and sometimes a safety or health hazard. So why don’t we think of it more often? Why isn’t it included in our new year’s resolution list? It’s not too late, you can add it, and we promise we won’t tell. We’ll even start you off with a few easy things for your home-care checklist (in no particular order):

1. Check your water heater anode rod. Water naturally likes to break things down (it’s called a universal solvent for a reason, after all), and your anode rod helps keep your water heater healthy, so check it a time or two each year to see if it’s still doing it’s job. If it’s hard to remember, try scheduling it for the same day as your semi-annual dentist appointment.

2. Check the main water shutoff valve for the house. After all, if you were to have a major leak, you would need to know where it was and be confident that it would work when you need it to. Perhaps you can take a minute near your birthday to turn it off and on, just to make sure you can.

3. Check all those stop valves around your home. You know, the cute little ones under your sink, behind your toilet, on the wall behind your washing machine. They often get covered in paint during remodels, and shoved by stuff under the sink. If they don’t work, your main valve has to be turned off just to replace a leaky faucet part. If you’d rather avoid going waterless for some unknown amount of time, double check your stop valves once or twice a year, perhaps just before the Super Bowl?

4. Change the icemaker filter. If you’ve got an icemaker, you probably have a filter. If you don’t know, find out, and then schedule the replacement every 3-6 months, depending on what your filter says, or when your crystal clear ice gets cloudy again. Your smartphone can probably just set up a recurring appointment, so you don’t even have to think about it.

5. Watch your water meter. Leaks can be sneaky. Some are obvious, like a faucet. Its dripping can keep you awake at night! But hidden leaks are less obvious, and so often cause the most damage. So, just before you’re watering the roses on Saturday morning, when no one else is using the shower or dishwasher, take a quick look at your water meter. If it’s running, it’s a good bet that you have a hidden leak. Checking weekly (or more often) will help you detect hidden leaks early and prevent mold, mildew, rot, and a sky-high water bill.

These are just a few things to get you started. When you think about it, you’ll probably think of a few more things you can check quickly and easily. Perhaps look about for discoloration in the attic when you get the Christmas decorations down, or double check your toilet seat before the in-laws visit? It’s really not too much. Just a few minutes here and there could save you from big bills and a big mess.

Okay, your turn: Can you think of anything else in your home that should be checked or replaced regularly?

For Love of Water

Maybe the very availability of clean drinking water has made us forget how rare it is. After all, only a tiny portion of the world’s water is fresh (non-salty) water – about 2-3 percent of the water on Earth according to some current estimates. Of that, only a tiny part of that is where we can get to it – about 1 percent. So one percent of two or three percent of the water on Earth is accessible. Fascinating!

And yet we let our faucets drip, run our sprinklers when the ground is already saturated, and use water-guzzling toilets. Our reasoning? Well, a lot of it is simple apathy – why should we change when it’s working well enough? Some may feel that paying a plumber to fix a “little” problem isn’t worth the money or the hassle, but they don’t know how to address the issue themselves.

Need some motivation? A simple little drip, let’s say one drip per minute from a bathroom faucet, can easily drip a liter of water down the drain each day. Doesn’t really sound like much, does it? But a drip caused by worn compression washers inevitably gets worse, and in a month or two, your one-drip-per-minute is probably a several-drips-per-minute, which is much more noticeable and lets multiple gallons go down the drain per day. If you wouldn’t pour drinkable water down the drain, why are you letting it leak away?

Need more motivation to fix the leak? A small problem inevitably becomes a large problem if you don’t fix it. A little leak can turn into a dribble, which is not only a terrible waste, but can flood a sink or tub, or even worse, cause problems with your septic system. At that point you’re dealing with wet floors, a soggy yard, and more than a simple fix. Not to mention inflating the water bill! So, prevent flooding by fixing the leak while it’s still small and avoid not only the problems, but save some of that tiny percent of water we humans have access to.

Ready to fix the drip? Read more…