Water shortages have been getting a lot of attention in headlines lately. It can be unsettling because nothing brings attention to all the things we use water for like the thought of not having that water in the future. Fortunately, there are lots of things households in Henderson, NV, can do to conserve water, and local plumbing service providers can help.
Hot Water Recirculating Pumps
A hot water recirculating pump is an attachment for a water heater. It recirculates hot water through pipes to keep it immediately available at faucets. In other words, you turn on the hot water tap, and hot water comes out. No waiting for the cool water to clear first. It doesn’t seem like much water is wasted while we wait for hot water to come out of the tap, but think about how often this happens every day in a normal household. The National Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, estimates that up to 10% of hot water used for showering is wasted while the occupant waits for water at the correct temperature to arrive. A recirculating pump does use electricity, and it’s fairly equivalent to operating a 25-watt light bulb.
There are two types of recirculating pumps. One uses an added plumbing line to transfer unused hot water back to the water heater after it cools below a certain temperature. Another type of pump returns unused hot water through the existing pipes for cold water. The type that uses an additional plumbing line is best for new construction, but the second type, known as a comfort system, is much easier to add to an existing home. It’s usually best to have a recirculating pump installed by a plumbing service professional. One potential downside of a comfort system is that it takes longer to get cold water because everything is traveling through the same pipes. A plumbing service provider can install a temperature sensor to help with this problem. Savings don’t just occur as water exits a tap. Hot water left sitting in pipes also slowly cools, which means the energy used to heat it is wasted.
Water-efficient appliances and fixtures are also an integral part of water conservation in Henderson, NV. These changes don’t need to happen all at once. You can consult your local plumbing service provider when existing appliances wear out and replace them with newer models. The WaterSense seal means appliances meet the water efficiency standards set by that organization, which works with the Environmental Protection Agency.
An average washing machine goes through 41 gallons of water for each load. A high-efficiency model can use between 35 to 50% less water per load as well as using less energy. Homeowners can save money and help the environment by choosing washing machine models with EnergyStar and WaterSense seals of approval. Pay attention to the settings on your washing machine as well. Only use the settings for large or extra large loads if you actually need that much water. Most washers also let you set hot or cold water on the wash and rinse cycles. Most clothing doesn’t need to be washed and rinsed in hot water.
Over 40% of Americans still have old toilets that use over 3.5 gallons of water per flush. Many new toilets are made with Class 6 technology. When it’s time for a new toilet, homeowners can choose dual-flush or other high-efficiency toilets that use less than 1.3 gallons of water per flush. This change can lead to saving over 1000 gallons of water each year per household. Hand washing dishes can use more water than a dishwasher, but only if the dishwasher is efficient. A 20 year-old dishwasher probably isn’t great for energy or water conservation. A plumbing service professional can help you choose an efficient dishwasher model and install the appliance properly to avoid leaks from pipes or connections.
Valves and Fixtures
Plumbing service providers can install pressure-reducing valves, or PRVs, on main water lines to regulate water pressure to around 35 psi. Many households use water pressure over 70 psi, although most of us don’t even think about this. It’s possible to reduce water pressure significantly without noticing inconvenience during daily tasks, such as washing dishes or doing laundry. At the same time, the reduced pressure actually uses much less water every time we turn on the tap. A typical shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while a low-flow fixture uses only 1.75 gallons of water per minute. Ask your plumbing service provider about replacing faucets and shower heads with low-flow models that reduces water use with very little noticeable change within the household.
In addition to plumbing services, households can also make small changes that avoid water waste. Use a tub or basin to wash fruits and vegetables, and don’t let the excess water go down the drain. Save it and use it to water plants or gardens. The left-over water in pet bowls can be used for the same purpose. Always give pets freshwater, just keep the old water for other things. Keep frozen foods in the refrigerator overnight to defrost them instead of using warm water. This change saves water and energy, and it can even be healthier because food has less opportunity to support bacterial growth.
Sweep outdoor patios, porches, and sidewalks instead of using a hose. Consider creating a compost pile instead of using a garbage disposal that needs water to flush food scraps away. If you have no room, or use, for compost yourself, look for community projects that accept compostable scraps. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, and wait until the washing machine or dishwasher has a full load before running either appliance. If you absolutely need to water the lawn, do so very early in the morning or later in the evening to minimize evaporation.
The professionals at Craig’s Plumbing provide a variety of plumbing services to households in Henderson, NV, and the surrounding area. Craig’s Plumbing is a family-owned business and offers same-day service as well as emergency services for problems that occur outside of business hours.