Just like any other industry, advancements in plumbing technology are both exciting and capable of making our lives easier. From tankless water heaters to touchless plumbing fixtures and so much more, it’s tough to predict what the future will hold in the plumbing world! One of the largest benefits from these innovations revolves around the concept of efficiency. Behind many recent plumbing improvements has been the idea of making fixtures and appliances that are environmentally friendly. Conserving water and sustainable energy is all part of the puzzle for ensuring future generations have plenty of resources at their disposal.
In this week’s blog post, we decided to take a deeper look at some of the things you, a homeowner, should consider incorporating. All of these items will not only be eco-friendly, but at the same time are going to save you some money on your monthly utility bills!
SAVE ENERGY: Add in some extra insulation
Have a traditional tank-style hot water heater and want to save a few bucks each month? Luckily, there’s a couple of easy ways to make this happen and you won’t even need to hire a plumber to do so!
For your water heater, consider adding an insulation blanket around the tank itself. The purpose of an insulation blanket is to prevent your hot water heater from losing heat. Particularly in the cold winters here in Kansas City (and the fact that most water heaters are stationed in either the garage or basement!), this small addition can make a big difference. Having said all of that, keep in mind that insulation blankets are typically recommended for older hot water heater models. Many of the newer models have figured out ways to prevent all of this heat loss with built-in insulation.
Just as you can insulate your water heater, you can also insulate the pipes traveling to the tank! If the pipes don’t have any insulation, your water heater will work harder to heat up that water and as a result, use more energy!
Know where the thermostat is on your water heater? An easy way to lower your utility bills would be to simply lower the temperature a few ticks there!
SAVE ENERGY: Tankless water heaters
We’ve discussed them here before, but tankless water heaters have certainly been one of the great innovations in plumbing technology. They serve the same purpose as their former tank-style models, yet occupy a fraction of the space. We sometimes refer to tankless water heaters as “on-demand” water heaters. This is because they’re only actually using power when you need hot water. As you’d likely guess, this can easily present plenty of savings for Kansas City homeowners. Add in the fact that it can easily last twice as long as traditional tank models and you’ll likely start to see why plenty of homeowners are making the added investment for tankless.
Our team at Stine-Nichols offers both traditional tank and tankless hot water heater installation Kansas City can count on. Both are great options for homeowners and it really comes down to your household usage in determining which is the best fit. Learn more about our services HERE.
SAVE WATER: Daily best practices
While we’ll get into plumbing-specific topics later on that will save you water, there’s more than a few instances in your daily routine where you can conserve it!
- Brushing your teeth: What if I told you that you could keep a beautiful smile and save some water at the same time? The EPA suggests just by turning off the tap while you brush could save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year!
- Shower instead of bath: Unless you’re one to take extremely long showers, taking a shower is generally going to use much less water than a typical bath. We’ll touch on water-saving shower heads later on, but Huffpost does a terrific job of bringing the numbers together in their comparison article. “The average bath uses 36 gallons to fill a tub, while the average shower (without a water-saving device) uses five gallons of water per minute, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.” Add in a low-flow shower head and you’ll be able to get a 10-minute shower in with less water used than a regular bath.
SAVE WATER: Low-flow shower heads
The EPA has reported that showering represents roughly 17% of indoor residential water use in the United States. Any water savings we can accumulate in this category can help greatly in water conservation efforts and cut down your water bill. With low-flow shower heads, you’re going to be looking at their GPM, or gallons per minute. Current U.S. regulations require the flow rates to be at a maximum of 2.5 GPM for shower heads. On the flip-side, low-flow shower heads only use a maximum of 2.0 GPM and some can go below that!
The team at WaterPik shower heads have quite the statement on their website to signify just how much of a difference this can make in world conservation efforts. “If every household in the U.S. installed WaterSense® labeled low flow shower heads, we could save more than 250 billion gallons of water annually, which could supply more than 2.5 million U.S. homes with water for a year, according to the EPA.” Not sure what else needs to be said after that!
SAVE WATER: Upgrade faucets throughout the house
Just as we mentioned above with showering accounting for 17% of household water usage, faucets represent approximately 15% of usage. Having said that, make sure to look for the WaterSense label the next time you’re browsing for a new faucet. This can easily cut back on the amount of water that’s being used.
SAVE WATER: Have an old toilet?
The efficiency of toilets in today’s world is miles ahead of those manufactured throughout nearly all of the 20th century. In 1994, the National Energy Policy Act was signed into law. This law required toilets sold in the United States to use a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush. When you realize that most toilets manufactured in the 1980’s used around 3.5 gallons per flush, it’s not hard to see how this made a HUGE difference! While these higher-efficiency toilets initially received complaints in terms of performance, nearly all of those have been answered and modern-day suppliers have truly perfected the product.
For most, this final saving tip will be irrelevant, as you’ve likely replaced your toilet since the early 1990’s. However, if there’s anyone out there with an old toilet, replacing it would create some instant savings!
The Kansas City plumbers you can count on!
Here at Stine-Nichols Plumbing, we take pride in not only ensuring our customers receive affordable and honest repairs, but that they’re completed in a timely manner! We hope this blog helped you realize the many minor adjustments that can be made to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Even small changes in your daily routines can add up to major savings in water and energy!
As always, we’re more than happy to provide a free quote for your next plumbing project. Whether you just need a fixture installed or are in need of more serious plumbing help, we’re ready to go in a moment’s notice. Give us a call today at 816-348-3481 to learn how our team can resolve any issues you may have! We currently work throughout Kansas City and all of the surrounding cities!