Tag Archives: water saving

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.

Can I Use a Brick In My Toilet to Reduce Water Waste?

A lot of people are finally starting to realize the impact humans have on our clean water supply and have become more conscientious about how they use water and how much water they use. One question we see frequently asked online is – can I put a brick in my toilet tank to help conserve water?

This is a valid question for anyone wanting to save water, as the toilet uses nearly 1/3 of our indoor water consumption, and technically, yes you could…but we really don’t like to recommend that. While we here at PlumbingSupply.com truly care about water conservation and try to do our part to save water and help others to save water, putting a brick in your toilet isn’t the way to do it.

All toilets manufactured after the early 90’s use only 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or less, with many of the newest models using 1.28gpf. Older toilets do use significantly more water, with most being 3.5gpf, but some using up to 6gpf – that’s a lot of clean water being flushed – but it’s important to understand that these toilets were specifically designed to use that much water and they typically won’t flush properly with less. And yes, we completely understand that your toilet LOOKS just like the low flow toilets…from the outside…and that this can be confusing for many people. Trust us, the inner workings can be significantly different. An extra bend or an extra inch of height in the toilet trap can mean a lot when you’re moving waste with only water and gravity.

Same model, made in different years. Can you tell the difference?

Old Toilet

Old Toilet

New Toilet

New Toilet

For sanitary reasons, you really want all that waste to be disposed of properly and not stuck in your toilet trap or your home’s sewage line. So, it’s important that the correct amount of water is used to help that waste move along the sewage lines and help prevent clogging – which means you really shouldn’t use a brick, or anything else for that matter, to reduce the amount of water in your tank.

We’re aware that there are plenty of articles out there telling you otherwise – that it’s perfectly fine to displace the water in your toilet tank to help conserve and that your toilet will flush either way. Which is true, in most cases. Your toilet WILL flush, but it won’t be doing so effectively. And that opens up the potential for serious problems in your home or community sewage system down the road.

If you’re concerned about water conservation and have an older toilet with a higher flush rate, we strongly recommend you replace the toilet with a newer, water-saving model. That is the most effective method of saving water when it comes to toilets. Also, regardless of whether your toilet is new or old, making sure you check periodically for leaks and repair them quickly can also save significant amounts of water.

However, IF you choose not to replace your older toilet and you choose to use the “brick method”, it is a better idea to take a plastic water bottle and fill it up with sand or small pebbles and place that in the tank instead of a brick. Even a brick wrapped in plastic can break down in the tank, especially if you get a hole or loose seal in the plastic wrap.

Want more water-saving ideas? Check out our Guide to Water-Saving Plumbing Products for tips to help you conserve!

 

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…

Energy Efficient Upgrades Can Save Money For Renters And Home Owners

Whether you are a renter, homeowner or landlord, just about everyone has heard that switching out your old light bulbs, turning off lights, lowering the thermostat, etc might save you a little money on your energy bill. Renters can usually find easy, non-permanent energy saving solutions like switching out the shower head for one that has low-flow water-saving features. But, if you are the property owner much more can be done according to a recent report by CNT Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

“We have billions essentially sitting untapped in our apartment buildings. We can harness that by simply setting better policies for efficiency for apartment buildings,” said Anne McKibbin, CNT Energy policy director and coauthor of the report.

Improving the energy efficiency of multi-family buildings like apartments can save money for the building owners and also for the renters themselves. Things like an outdated water heater, older toilets flushing 3 gallons each time… or even that refrigerator from 1972 that came with the apartment can really add up when the renter gets their energy and water bills. Sometimes, that can even cause tenants to start looking for a new place to call home. So, renters, if you are living with some not-so efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures, you may think about using this information to encourage your landlord to make some necessary upgrades.

There are plenty of energy saving upgrades that are fairly inexpensive and can actually put a little back in the pocketbooks of renters and property owners. For example installing an energy efficient tankless water heater can offer a great deal of savings on your energy bill. There are often generous rebate intensives offered by energy companies and some states that can make the decision to upgrade much easier.

For more energy efficient upgrade ideas such as low-flow faucets for kitchen and bathroom, and water saving showerheads visit PlumbingSupply.com