Conserves Water and Preserves
Every drop of water does
count and each person can make a difference to help preserve and
conserve this important resource. Because water is usually plentiful,
easily available and inexpensive, we often consider it to be an
almost limitless resource - it is not. Water conservation practices
will help preserve our existing water supplies and help ensure that
our water resources will be available for future generations.
replacing, changing or modifying existing older plumbing fixtures
in your home or business with those that are designed to save water.
Older, water-guzzling plumbing fixtures should be replaced with
low-flow or reduced-flow devices.
Retrofitting to save
water will lower your utility bills. The more water that comes into
your home or business, the more water there is that must be disposed
of through sewer systems. This also costs you money. Many simple,
easy-to-install water-saving devices will lower your water and sewer
bills enough to make up for the initial costs within just a few
months. A simple task such as fixing leaks could save you hundreds
of gallons of water each year.
It has been estimated
that a family of four could save between 10,000 to 20,000 gallons
of water a year by repairing leaking faucets and toilets, installing
low-flow aerators, placing dams or bottles in toilets, installing
flow restrictors or replacing shower heads with low-flow ones.
Leaks We See and the Leaks We Don't
Leaks We Do See
To check your toilet
for leaks, remove the lid from the tank, flush to clear the water
in the bowl, drop in one leak-detecting dye tablet or a few drops
of food coloring (start with five drops to see if the water darkens
enough) and then wait 15 minutes. If colored water appears in the
toilet bowl without additional flushing, there is a leak. This type
of leak is typically associated with the plunger ball. Most toilet
leaks are generally of this type. If not, the leak could be associated
with the overflow pipe. If you cannot fix the leak yourself, then
call a plumber.
Check all indoor faucets
for leaks or drips. Worn washers or O-rings can cause your faucets
to leak. If the leak can't be fixed, you may have to replace the
faucet. Remember, if hot water is leaking, this not only costs you
in water usage but in energy usage as well. Your shower head
should be checked to be sure that it doesn't drip. If it does, it
should be repaired or replaced.
Leaks We Don't See
One way to determine
whether there are leaks you don't know about or can't see is to
do a simple test with your water meter. Locate your water meter
and write down the meter reading. Turn off all the water-using fixtures
in your home and don't use any water for one to two hours. Then
check the water meter reading again. If it changed, you probably
have a leaking pipe or pipes somewhere that you can't see. Call
Fixtures More Water Efficient
If your toilet
is not one of the newer, water-saving ones that use about 1.6 gallons
a flush, install a toilet tank water saver which will save you several
gallons of water a day. You can use a toilet tank dam which eliminates
corners of the tank, making it smaller, and holds back water when
it is flushed. You also can use a plastic displacement bag or a
plastic milk bottle. Simply fill with water and place inside the
tank. Less water is used when the toilet is flushed. A toilet tank
dam or displacement bag can reduce water use by 10 to 20 percent.
Most hardware, home improvement or plumbing supply stores carry
these items. Of course, if you have the older model, you can replace
it with an ultra-low flow or low-flush toilet which uses less water.
If your faucets
are not leaking (or after they have been fixed), have the amount
of water flowing from each faucet checked. Faucets that are allowing
too much water to flow through, should be installed with low-flow
aerators. Low-flow aerators also come with an on/off flip handle
that enables you to increase or decrease the flow of water. Remember
that the rate of flow, though, depends on water pressure. Different
flows from different faucets may be desirable. For example, in the
kitchen, you will want to be sure that the flow of water is sufficient
to wash and rinse dishes. Low-flow faucet aerators can reduce usage
by about 20 to 40 percent.
Flow restrictors can
be installed in your shower heads to reduce water usage.
Your shower head also can be replaced with a low-flow shower head.
Most of these look very much like conventional shower heads. Low-flow
shower heads can reduce water usage by 40 to 60 percent.
What You Use
One way to find out how
much water is used for specific tasks is to read your water meter
before and after a particular task such as taking a shower, washing
dishes, washing laundry or watering the lawn. You can do these calculations
before you retrofit and then afterward to see how much water you
Most meters record water
usage in gallons. Read the meter before you start a particular task
and then read it again after the task has been completed. Simply
subtract the smaller number from the larger number. Some meters
could display cubic feet instead of gallons. For those that display
cubic feet, multiply the difference (smaller number subtracted from
the larger number as above) by 7.5 to obtain the approximate number
of gallons in one cubic foot or the number of gallons used to complete
the particular task.
Family members and coworkers
should learn where shut-off valves are located and how to turn them
off in the event of an emergency such as when a faucet becomes a
fountain or a pipe inside a wall bursts. Identify the location of
the main shut-off valve that turns off the water to your home, business
or office building. This can usually be found where the water pipe
enters the structure. When using water - be conservative. It isn't
difficult to conserve water. Just use common-sense practices. Every
drop does count.