When you live in green, lush Chicago or the surrounding areas, you might not think about wasted water very often. The year-round humidity and thick shrubbery mask the fact that the last several summers have been the hottest on record worldwide.
Recently, droughts in places like California and Colorado have gotten the most airtime, but Chicago isn’t exempt. In spite of chilly winters and summer rainstorms, Chicago suffered from an extreme drought in 2012 and 2013, and there’s no guarantee that something similar won’t happen in upcoming summers as well.
How can you do your part to conserve water this summer? Making a few simple changes around the house, performing a few energy-efficient upgrades, and changing some crucial habits can help you help the earth this summer-and you might just help your wallet along the way as well.
1. Fix Leaks As Soon As You Notice Them
Leaky taps don’t seem like a massive problem, especially when you only notice one drip of water slipping through the tap every minute or so. A steady stream of drips can distract you, but you still might not know just how much money this seemingly tiny problem can cost you.
According to the EPA, faucets that drip once per second waste 3,000 gallons annually-and all those tiny drips add up over time! Fixing a leak as soon as you notice it will conserve those 3,000 wasted gallons, plus help you cut down your water bill.
Of course, one leaky faucet won’t drain your bank account. Hopefully the water in your city is affordable and clean. But if you have a few leaky faucets, a running toilet, and a dripping pipe, you might start to see an increase in your water bills. As soon as you notice a leak in your house, get in touch with our capable plumber.
2. Update Old Appliances
Appliances that are 10 years old or older don’t work as well as they used to. If you properly maintained your water heater, for instance, it could last for around 15 years. But eventually, all old appliances need to be replaced.
Simply updating your fixture improves its energy efficiency for energy standards have improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years alone. However, when you upgrade your plumbing fixtures, consider investing in ENERGY STAR appliances. ENERGY STAR appliances go the extra mile to reduce your energy footprint. You might even qualify for a tax rebate if you invest in certain ENERGY STAR products.
You might also consider switching the make and model of certain fixtures. For instance, tankless water heaters warm your water the instant you turn on the tap. Thanks to this technology, you don’t have to run a faucet for a few minutes to wait for the water to warm up. But tankless water heaters aren’t for everyone-they can run out of water quickly, so they don’t work well for large families.
Ask our plumber about which plumbing fixtures you should update around your house. We can also recommend the right brand, make, and model for your property and living situation.
3. Make a Few Small Upgrades Around the House
If you have relatively new fixtures and appliances, you don’t necessarily need to replace them all with the most energy-efficient models on the market. Instead, you can make a few smaller upgrades to cut down on your home’s water consumption:
- Install low-flow shower heads. You won’t have to cut your shower short to save water, and you likely won’t even notice a huge difference in the water pressure.
- Install low-flow faucet aerators. Just like low-flow shower heads, low-flow faucet aerators decrease the amount of water your sink uses without reducing how quickly you can clean your dishes.
- Add insulation to your water pipes. Insulation protects your pipes from freezing in the winter. It can also reduce the amount of time you have to wait for your water to heat up.
These small changes won’t cost you much, but they could save you quite a bit of money later on.
4. Run Full Loads
If you invest in an energy-efficient laundry machine and dishwasher, you won’t have to worry as much about wasted water every time you run a full load of clothes or dishes. However, you can maximize your energy savings but only running these plumbing appliances when you have a full load of clothes or dishes. If you have to wash a small load, you can change the settings on your appliance to circulate less water.
Ask Your Plumber for More Information
As summer approaches, it’s up to you to save water around the house-and your plumbing fixtures can help you. Combine high-quality appliances with good habits and you’ll save much more than money on your energy bills. You’ll also contribute to making a better world for future generations.
If you have other questions about how to make your plumbing systems more efficient or reliable, don’t hesitate to contact our plumber.