Today we have some very simple and actionable plumbing tips to help you keep water costs down. As well as making a significant saving, you’ll also reduce your environmental footprint.
When you’re automating your home, it’s all too easy to get carried away.
You’re investing in a smart thermostat and smart LEDs to maximize energy efficiency, but are you investing in your plumbing system?
By taking care of any necessary plumbing maintenance, you’ll reduce the costs lost to wastage or malfunctioning appliances.
Take note of some of these 10 simple plumbing tips and everyone’s a winner.
Plumbing 101 In Your Smart Home
- Check Your Water Meter
- Replace any Outdated Faucets
- Look Out For Dripping Taps
- Upgrade The Water Heater
- Assess Your Toilet
- Insulate All Pipes
- Only Wash Full Loads
- Set Your Sprinklers for Morning
- Be Generally Aware of Running Water
- Do NOT Overlook Routine Appliance Maintenance
1) Check Your Water Meter
The water meter in your connected home runs from the water main line outside into a small box. This metered box is found outside your home. When the water starts making its way into your home, another meter is responsible for the flow.
Make sure you check, particularly around the area where the second meter is situated, for leaks.
Ask yourself if you can see the meter turning around, even if there’s no water flowing through your home. If so, you might very well have a leak somewhere. If you're unsure, you can also read this piece that explains how to detect water leaks in your house.
This is one of the most obvious ways you can cut down on wasted water so don’t neglect this plumbing tip!
2) Replace any Outdated Faucets
Take a good hard look at the faucets in your kitchen.
Are they fit for purpose?
Your faucets do far more than prettify the sink. Faucets are obviously responsible for the volume of water passing through.
With new and eco-friendly faucets, you’ll be able to dial back the amount of water you use by up to 30%. This can generate significant savings over the course of a year’s water bills.
Keep your eyes peeled for the WaterSense label on products. This initiative backed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) promotes water-efficiency throughout the home.
Sometimes, routine maintenance is not enough. If your faucets are too long in the tooth and less than energy-efficient, it could be time for a replacement. Think of this plumbing tip as an investment rather than an expense.
3) Fix All Leaks As Soon As Possible
You should constantly monitor your home for leaky faucets.
Look out for any water that drips out of the showerhead.
Rusty pipes are never good, so watch out for these and take action accordingly.
If you notice any signs of pooled water, leaks or drips, get straight down to repairs and you’ll minimize any chance of your carpets being damaged.
You can also use leak detectors and sensors to alert you in the early stages of a leak and help prevent damage immediately.
By taking prompt or pre-emptive action, you can ultimately save yourself money by avoiding more expensive repairs when the problem becomes worse.
4) Upgrade The Water Heater
As a rule of thumb, if your hot water tank is 10 years old, it needs replacing. This alone is one of the best ways of reducing your energy consumption and in turn, lowering your utility bills.
Better still, consider revamping your tank-style water heater. Tankless on-demand water heaters can help you to use up to one-third less water. Since you’ll only be using water that’s being heated there and then, you’ll also save on heating up water that might not be used for hours.
Maybe the thought of a replacement water heater doesn’t seem right for you. No problem. At the bare minimum, you should drain your old tank every 6 months. This will help shift any impurities and allow it to run more efficiently.
5) Assess Your Toilet
It’s easy to take your toilet for granted but this forms a crucial part of your plumbing system flowing well.
If you’re not happy checking flapper valves and determining whether there are any flow issues or leaks, the best hack you can employ here is to call in a plumber.
If you conduct a basic inspection and consider there’s something not quite right, don’t be ashamed to call a plumber.
Making sure your toilet is firing on all cylinders is an essential part of overall maintenance and you can mitigate the chance of any overflows or accidents.
If your toilet is more than a decade old, you might want to consider a replacement. Newer toilets are designed in line with WaterSense guidelines for water-efficiency. New toilets use a maximum of 1.6 gallons of water per flush (GPF). Some of the more eco-friendly WCs now use 1.28 GPF or even less, but what does this mean in real terms?
Well, with a HET (high-efficiency toilet), you could save as much as 16,000 gallons of water a year.
If you’re looking to save serious money, pay close attention to the toilet. This is the one appliance responsible for using the most water in the average household. Any savings you make here count.
6) Insulate All Pipes
If you have exposed piping running around the hose, cover and insulate it.
If these pipes remain uninsulated, your water will take longer to heat up, directly costing you more.
You could also consider using an insulating blanket around your water heater to further enhance efficiency.
7) Only Wash Full Loads
Whether you’re using the dishwasher or the washing machine, wait until you have a full load first.
Some models come equipped with Eco or Energy Saving mode if you have partial loads or light washes. Use as necessary.
When you come to buy a new machine, make sure you buy something as efficient as possible with the ability to manipulate load size.
8) Set Your Sprinklers for Morning
The best time to water your garden is first thing in the morning.
Why is this?
Well, you won’t get the quick evaporation brought about by the scorching midday sun, so you’ll need less water to cover your lawn.
Buying a smart sprinkler is a superb way to automate this and to use only the water you need when you want to use it.
9) Be Generally Aware of Running Water
It’s amazing how simple and obvious tips can mount up and save both water and money…
- Don’t leave the faucet running constantly when you’re washing your hands or brushing your teeth
- Try to eliminate showers of more than 15 minutes
While these elementary plumbing tips might not seem glamorous, they’ll save you a great deal of cash over time while also reducing your environmental footprint. And, let’s face it, any smart home needs to also be an energy-efficient home.
10) Do NOT Overlook Routine Appliance Maintenance
Last but by no means least, proper maintenance is the key to saving money.
Preventative maintenance includes cleaning regularly and calling in a professional when it’s necessary. Keeping on top of the overall plumbing in your home can prevent leaks and generally wasted energy.
You should always keep your eyes peeled for EPA WaterSense-certified products. Buying water-efficient appliances could yield savings on water consumption of up to 20%.
Well, hopefully now you’re armed with a few plumbing tips and tricks. If you are interested in smartening up climate control, come back next week when we’ll put these leading thermostats head-to-head.
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