Dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters aren’t cheap, but when you think about the financial savings associated with the energy and water savings of these newer models, you might want to upgrade them before their time runs out anyway. The US Department of Energy’s website even has a handy calculator that can determine just how much savings you would accumulate by switching out older appliances for the newest models:
Conservation efforts are becoming a necessity that will only continue to increase over time. Please let us know if you have any questions about the recommendations we’ve listed above or need help implementing them in any way. Happy Earth Day!
If you are a fan of high quality water, you’re going to appreciate the importance of National Water Quality Month celebrated in August. It is a month to remember the importance of good, clean water for all living things. National Water Quality Month is an ideal time to learn important ways you can help do your part in keeping water clean.
Remember whether on a boat, drinking bottled water, taking a shower or watering your garden; water plays a vital part in our lives and it is important to protect it. Almost anything can affect water quality, do your part in protecting our water and encourage others around you to do the same.
If you are concerned about the quality of water coming into your home, you may want to consider water filtration or bottled water delivery service. Contact us to discuss what type of water filtration unit might be best for you.
*Source: The Water Guy
Dual flush toilets are the latest in water-conservation efforts, and have made the crossover from commercial to residential applications. Now, most well-known residential brands sell at least one dual flush model, including Kohler, American Standard, and Toto. Not only are there options, but the options are reasonably, and competitively priced. Unfortunately, due to the vast differences in design, dual flush retrofit kits are not an effective option for homeowners who want the water savings, but don’t want to invest in a brand new toilet. So, if you’re looking for the vast water savings a dual flush toilet has to offer, you’re going to have to invest in the real deal this time.
Dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently from standard American style toilets, giving the user a choice of flushes. It’s an interactive toilet design that helps conserve water and has quickly caught on in countries where water is in short supply, like Australia, and in areas where water supply and treatment facilities are older or overtaxed. Interest in low flow and dual flush toilets is on the rise in the United States, due in part to increased government regulation and the rising cost of water.
The Australians are credited with leading the way in the development of dual flush technology. In 1980, Bruce Thompson of Caroma Industries created the first two-button flushing system, a convenient method of manually selecting the water volume of each flush — a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste — with the push of a button. Necessity was the driving force for the change. Traditional toilets used lots of water, a commodity that was in short supply on a continent that has erratic rainfall and experiences frequent and prolonged droughts.
Most modern dual flush toilets use less than a gallon of water to flush liquid waste and around 1.6 gallons to flush solid waste. This is a big savings over old toilet styles that used five gallons or more for each and every flush. Today, dual flush toilets are used widely in Australia, Europe and Asia, and they’re catching on in other areas as well. Increased environmental awareness, government regulation, the availability of monetary incentives and the rising cost of water are making the changeover to dual flush and low flow toilet designs more attractive to U.S. consumers.
The way water is used to remove waste from the bowl has a lot to do with how much water is needed to get the job done. Standard toilets use siphoning action, a method that employs a siphoning tube, to evacuate waste. A high volume of water entering the toilet bowl when the toilet’s flushed fills the siphon tube and pulls the waste and water down the drain. When air enters the tube, the siphoning action stops. Dual flush toilets employ a larger trapway (the hole at the bottom of the bowl) and a wash-down flushing design that pushes waste down the drain. Because there’s no siphoning action involved, the system needs less water per flush, and the larger diameter trapway makes it easy for waste to exit the bowl. Combined with the savings from using only half-flushes for liquid waste, the dual flush toilet design can save up to 68% more water than a conventional low flow toilet.
In 1994, the National Energy Policy Act was signed into law, requiring toilets sold in the United States use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. This mandate to conserve has given rise to a new generation of high efficiency toilets (HETs) that use technologies like pressure-assist, gravity flush and dual flush to whisk away waste using as little water as possible. Of the new technologies, the dual flush method has the advantage of intuitive flushing, where the operator can decide electively that less water is needed and use one gallon or less per flush instead of the 1.6 gallon maximum.
Although toilets purchased for new construction and retrofits must meet the new standards, millions of older water-guzzling toilets are still out there. As water and sewer costs keep rising, low flow toilets are becoming more attractive to the American consumer, and local and state governments are using rebates and tax incentives to encourage households to convert to these new technologies.
The advantages of low flow toilets in conserving water and reducing the demand on local water treatment facilities is pretty obvious. According to USA Today, the average person flushes the toilet five to eight times a day, and at a greedy five gallons a flush, the numbers start to add up quickly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, completely eliminating old style, water guzzling toilets would save about 2 billion gallons of water each day in the United States. With a growing population, an aging water treatment infrastructure and the looming threat of global warming contributing to uncertain weather, water conservation will continue to be a big issue.
Portland residents are able to generate green electricity simply by turning on their water taps and flushing their toilets. Fast Company reports that the Oregon city is using a state-of-the art system to capture energy from water flowing through the city’s pipelines. Small turbines installed inside the pipelines are turned by the flowing water, sending energy into a generator and off into the power grid.
“It’s pretty rare to find a new source of energy where there’s no environmental impact,” Gregg Semler told Fast Company. Semler is the chief executive officer of Lucid Energy, the Portland start-up behind the new system. “But this is inside a pipe, so no fish or endangered species are impacted. That’s what’s exciting.”
According to Semler, water utilities tend to use large amounts of electricity, so the new power generation system can help cut the cost of providing drinking water to cities. Utilities can decide whether to use the power for their own purposes, or sell the energy as a source of revenue.
“We have a project in Riverside, California, where they’re using it to power streetlights at night,” Semler notes. “During the day, when electricity prices are high, they can use it to offset some of their operating costs.”
As for Portland, one of its main water pipelines uses Lucid’s system to generate power, and though the system can’t make enough power for the whole city, the pipes can produce enough to run an individual building like a school or a library.
Unlike other forms of green power, like solar or wind, the Lucid system can produce power at any time of the day because the water is always flowing. The only hitch is that the turbines can only produce power where water is naturally flowing downward with gravity. Lucid’s pipes contain sensors that can monitor the quality of the water flowing through the pipes, making them more than just a power generating technology, which can be valuable just about anywhere.
The company hopes to work with cities to install new systems as old pipes wear out. They’re also hoping to expand to the developing world. “It’s a great source of remote power,” says Semler. “So in places outside the city that don’t have an electrical grid, you’re able to use the system to generate energy.”
“There’s a lot of energy in going into making sure we have safe clean drinking water,” Semler says. “Our focus is really on helping water become more sustainable.”
Source: Fast Company
While most of us are still in shock that 2015 is over (what?!), some of us have already begun planning for 2016 and looking for ways to improve. New Years resolutions typically entail staying fit or saving money. While we can’t help you with the former, we can make saving money easier. Here is a list of plumbing resolutions to convert your home to a more eco-friendly plumbing system, help prevent plumbing emergencies, and basically save you money in 2016.
Earth Day began in 1970, with an aim to raise awareness about the environmental health of the planet. On this 45th Earth Day, people all across the globe will be engaging in eco-friendly activities to help the environment. We have a few plumbing-related home improvement ideas you can institute today to help you become more energy-efficient year-round. The focus for Earth Day in our industry is all about improving energy efficiency, saving water, and reducing waste and pollution. Not a small task, but one that is immensely important for the future of our planet.
Here’s a short, but effective list to get started with:
1. Find And Repair Leaks
Having your pipes inspected for leaks by a local plumber should be first and foremost. If there are any, they will increase your water bills. Though small drips may not look serious, they will add to your water bill and if neglected for a longer period of time, the may grow and cause even greater problems. Then you will have to spend money on water damage and serious plumbing repairs.
Don’t neglect your toilets when inspecting for leaks. A simple way to do this is to carefully remove the tank lid and lay it flat on the floor to prevent it from falling over and breaking. Drop a dye tablet (available from Neptune) or several drops of food dye into the upper tank. Wait approximately 15 minutes. Check the water in the bowl for color. If you see color in the toilet bowl, then you know you have a leak in your toilet that could be wasting water and costing you money.
2. Upgrade Your Water Heater
The majority of the water used in your home first passes through your water heater. Installing a top-of-the-line, energy efficient water heater will help you save overall, when you think about how old your current water heater is and how much water your family uses in a day.
If you’re not ready to spring for a new water heater, simply adjust its temperature. This is quick and easy to do and will help you save money. You can also turn off your water heater all together if you are away on an extended vacation to conserve energy.
On April 16, the Us Department of Energy, in coordination with the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) will be updating their minimum energy efficiency requirements for water heaters. All water heaters manufactured on or after this date will need to meet these new requirements.
What does this mean for you? Well, in addition to the increases in energy efficiency, there will also be a slight increase in the size of the unit as well as an increase in price. So, if your water heater is currently located in the garage or open basement you should have no problems with the newer size. However, installations done in closets and alcoves as well as in multi-family housing locations where space is limited may pose a problem. Also, installations where access is gained by using a narrow doorway could present further challenges. Financially, while replacement with units that adhere to the updated standards will cost more than the older models currently in use, you should compare replacement costs vs. unit performance as the increase in energy efficiency may outweigh the initial costs.
Please note that the NAECA regulation changes effective April 16, 2015 apply only to the manufacture of water heaters. We will still be able to sell and install units manufactured prior to this date while supplies last. If you are in need of a replacement (generally this should be done every 10 years), and decide that you want to install an older model for financial or size reasons, please let us know soon as we have no way of knowing when these units will no longer be available.