Water Waste Causes and Remedies
Water waste is preventable if you care enough to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. Even cities with full reservoirs experience water shortages. It’s a good idea to know the facts. As more and more homeowners, multifamily commercial property owners, and managers try to reduce water consumption, they’re finding that installing low-flow faucets, high-efficiency toilets, and showerhead aerators isn’t enough—they must also communicate their water conservation efforts to their family members and tenants to maximize water savings.
The federal government set national standards for the flow rate of plumbing fixtures with the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992. The Act and improvements in plumbing fixtures over the years has led to water conservation and sustainability. (Facilities Net, 2020)
Low-flow showerheads have a flow rate of less than 2.5 GPM at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi). However, recent low flow showerheads can even provide a flow rate of less than 2.0 GPM. The two basic types of low flow showerheads are:
- Laminar-flow showerheads will form streams of water and will provide more accurate temperature control.
- Aerating low-flow showerheads will mix water with air forming a misty type of water spray. It will create a great amount of steam and moisture, and in humid climates are not recommended.
Low-flow showerheads should replace older ones that were designed with a flow rate of 5.5 GPM. Water waste can stop at the tap. If your home or building is 20 years or older, you most likely have water-wasting, non-eco-friendly plumbing.
Low-flow—low-flush—toilets and ultra-low-flow toilets have been designed to use half the amount of water that was used by traditional toilets. Low flow toilets are averaging 1.6 GPF, instead of 3.5 GPF. When first introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the design of low-flow toilets was under fire due to the claim that some models could not efficiently flush the toilet. (Building, 2020)
Later techniques and toilet performance upgraded and relieved these problems. A majority are designed with a half flush option for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste disposal. Many low flow toilets are also designed to reduce clog problems because their drainage passage is wider.
- Gravity-Fed low-flow toilets use the traditional weight of water to push waste down the bowl. They are cheaper and less noisy than pressure-assisted low flow toilets.
- Pressure-assisted low-flow toilets are usually noisier but can reduce water consumption by 45% when compared to gravity-fed toilets. This system uses air pressure built up inside the tank to push the water down.
Old sink faucets can also be wasting a lot of water and money. You should consider replacing your faucets if it uses more than 2.5GPM. There are a couple of ideas that you can choose from to replace that outdated faucet. You can choose whether to replace it with a new faucet, normally with less than 1.5GPM, or by installing an aerator. The aerator or flow restrictor can be added to almost any faucet, providing for an easy and cheap modification that will save you some money over the years.
Low-Flow Fixture Retrofits
Depending on the manufacturer, a basic low-flow toilet can cost around $50 for only the fixture. Showerheads begin in the $12 range and low-flow faucets start in the $20 price range. Of course, the more bells and whistles you select, the higher the cost of the plumbing fixture will rise. The cost and time requirements of installing new plumbing fixtures will vary by location and the existing construction. (Earth Easy, 2020)
- Ideal for Retrofitting
- Low-flow toilets can save more than 20,000 gallons of water per year for a four-member family
- Available in a wide array of colors and styles.
- Regulated by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)
- Must meet the appropriate American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- Water-efficient toilets save money on your monthly water bill.
- Giving a home’s main bathroom a high-efficiency makeover by installing a WaterSense labeled toilet, showerhead, and faucet aerator can pay for itself in as little as 1 year.
Although none of the standards are mandatory, it is still a good idea to identify cost-effective ways to make these improvements during a planned upgrade or renovation, compared to a mandatory, last-minute change that has to be executed without the proper planning. (Facilities Net, 2020).
Pipe Leaks Cause Water Waste
An obvious pipe leak is easy to attribute to water loss. If you’re experiencing high water bills without seeking leaks, you can be facing pinhole leaks in galvanized or copper pipe in ceilings and walls. If your bill spikes, we can do what we call “pipe forensics” and investigate suspected problems with digital cameras and other techniques. TDT Plumbing can help find and stop leaks to save money and conserve a valuable natural resource. For more information, visit TDTPlumbing.com
Plumbing Products That Ensure Successful Upgrades. 19 Feb. 2020, www.facilitiesnet.com/plumbingrestrooms/article/Plumbing-Products-That-Ensure-Successful-Upgrades–18825
“3 Ways Low-Flow Restroom Fixtures Save Water.” BUILDINGS, www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/21403/title/3-ways-low-flow-restroom-fixtures-save-water
Cowan, Shannon. “45+ Ways to Conserve Water in the Home and Yard.” Eartheasy Guides & Articles, learn.eartheasy.com/guides/45-ways-to-conserve-water-in-the-home-and-yard/
Statistics and Facts. (2018, November 07). Retrieved November 02, 2020, from https://www.epa.gov/watersense/statistics-and-facts