Eco-Friendly Plumbing Tips

Reader Contribution by Devin Morrissey

When trying to be environmentally conscious, it is important to figure out how to do so in as many aspects of your life as possible. Recycling certainly helps the world at large, but there are other ways that you can reduce any negative impacts your home might have on the environment. While energy-efficient bulbs and appliances are widely available and easy to install, the plumbing in a home is an often overlooked area that can be made more eco-friendly.

Maintenance Prevents Damage

Replacing plumbing fixtures is often expensive, and the longer that you’re able to extend the life of any plumbing fixtures or pipes, the less environmental impact you’ll have. Not only will performing regular maintenance help to keep your plumbing in working order for years to come, it reduces greenhouse gases involved in producing and shipping new plumbing hardware. Extending the life of your plumbing through regular maintenance also puts more green into your wallet, which is the icing on the cake.

Maintaining your plumbing isn’t all too difficult, as long as you remember to regularly check to make sure the faucets aren’t leaking and the toilet isn’t running. A leaky faucet or running toilet may not seem like the end of the world, but all those little drips add up to a whole lot of wasted water. In the wintertime, it is important to winterize your pipes to prevent them from bursting, which can lead to water damage requiring costly repairs.

If you do end up having to replace any of your bathroom fixtures, give your bathroom a boost by investing in a low gallon-per-flush toilet is the way to go. Not only are these toilets much more efficient and environmentally friendly, but they can save you hundreds of dollars on your water bill over the course of a year. Additionally, you can install a shower head shut-off button which allows you to stop the flow of water while you lather up, saving gallons of water in the process.

Keep Sustainability in Mind

When trying to improve your home with the environment in mind, going for the most sustainable options possible is a must. Around the globe, civil engineers are improving sustainability with plastic roads, vertical farming, and innovative ways to harvest rainwater. Though you’d be hard pressed to convince your HOA to install plastic roads, using a rain barrel to water your plants is a great, environmentally conscious way to conserve water without spending all too much.

Getting the most out of your plumbing can actually tackle two problems at once. While resting water cools relatively rapidly after it exits the water heater and waits in the pipes, installing a recirculating system keeps warm water ready to go without it cooling down. This means that you won’t have to wait for your shower to heat up, which can save you loads of water. Additionally, you can use the radiant heat from the pipes in the walls to keep your bathroom toasty warm all year round.

If you need to upgrade your water filtration system, note that new systems may take more than just pollutants out of your water; they can also remove essential nutrients like calcium and magnesium. While this may seem trivial, it can have an impact on your well-being over the long term. Some home water filtration products are designed to re-introduce an essential mineral balance into your water, keeping your water clean as well as healthy to drink.

The world at large recognizes the need for sustainable, eco-friendly plumbing solutions. The market for eco-friendly plumbing fixtures is booming internationally, and soon it will become the standard for all new construction to implement these environmentally conscious fixtures. As a consumer, this means that the availability of eco-friendly and sustainable plumbing solutions are quickly becoming widely available. In the future, you won’t have to search too hard to find a system that works for you.

Get Creative

One of the main tenets of the concept of green plumbing is the reduction in overall usage of water. The kitchen and the bathroom are the two areas in a home in which the most water is wasted. While installing efficient fixtures and appliances certainly helps, changing your habits and getting creative with how you conserve water will make the biggest difference. Shorter, cooler showers, turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, and not allowing the faucet to run when you wash dishes or produce is a great place to start.

There are some truly ingenious ways that you can save water each and every day. Consider buying a dedicated “shower bucket” for your bathroom to place under the tap to collect the cold water while you wait for it to warm up. This is a proven effective method of conserving water in areas affected by drought. You can then use this water to water your garden or even to flush the toilet. While it isn’t the most pleasant of methods, not flushing after every time you use the bathroom unless it is absolutely necessary can also save gallons of water.

Always try to do full loads of laundry and dishes to maximize the effectiveness of the water that you’re using. Another inventive way to save water in the bathroom is to place a water displacement device into the tank on your toilet. While a brick is often recommended, they can break down over time and fill your pipes with damaging sediment, so a half-gallon jug filled with water is generally a wiser way to go about it.

All in all, as long as you’re making the conscious decision to try and use the bare minimum amount of water, you’ll be doing mother nature a huge favor. Supplementing these changes with water-efficient appliances, pipes, and fixtures only compounds the good that you’ll be doing. Saving water means saving the planet, and with a little knowledge on your side, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

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