Anyone living in Texas should be aware that the state is currently experiencing a severe water crisis. The crisis is so bad that voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that called for the release of $2 billion in funds to help alleviate the situation. However, individuals in Texas can also make a large impact by introducing any of several methods of water conservation. One of these methods is to install environmental, or green, plumbing systems. Residents of southeastern Texas should inquire about green plumbing by contacting a Houston plumber to learn how they can reduce their water usage.
Conservation and Plumbing
When most people think of going green, they think of conserving energy and reducing the emission of harmful greenhouse gases. However, water conservation plays a large role in having a green household. It is estimated that the average four-person family uses up to 175,000 gallons of water each year, but this amount can be reduced dramatically through water conservation. In southeastern Texas, the most reliable way to conserve water in an existing home is to contact a Houston residential plumber to repair or replace some of the appliances and plumbing fixtures that are responsible for wasting water unnecessarily.
Reducing Household Water Use
It is not difficult to reduce household water use, but implementing a green plumbing strategy requires a homeowner to take a serious look at where all the water is going. Following is a breakdown of water use for the average household:
Toilets – Toilets account for up to 26 percent of household water use. However, installing low-flow toilets can save 3.7 gallons of water per flush. For a family of four, that would be a savings of more than 13,500 gallons per year.
Washing Machines – About 22 percent of a household’s water is used for washing clothes. Water can be conserved when doing laundry by installing a low-flow washer.
Showers and Baths – Approximately 19 percent of a household’s water goes down the shower or bathtub drain. Traditional showerheads expel up to eight gallons of water per minute. However, low-flow showerheads may use as little as two gallons per minute.
Faucets – Faucets in the kitchen and bathroom account for 16 percent of household water use. This can be reduced by turning off the faucets when not needed or by installing flow restrictors.
Plumbing Leaks – Up to 14 percent of a household’s total water is wasted through leaky pipes and fixtures. Most of the leaks occur in toilets, but showerheads, faucets and irrigation systems can all be responsible for wasted water. Fixing a slowly dripping showerhead can save up to 400 gallons of water per year.
Options for Water Heaters
Although installing a new water heater does not save that much water in comparison to installing new fixtures and plumbing, it is an important step in implementing a comprehensive green plumbing plan. A Houston water heater repair company will have several options available, such as the following:
- Solar – Using a solar water heater is the most efficient way to heat water.
- Electric – Electric water heaters transfer close to 100 percent of the energy used to the water in the tank. In comparison, tanked water heaters fueled by natural gas have an efficiency rating of about 62 percent.
- Tankless – Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, are about 98 percent efficient and can save up to 35 percent on heating costs.
The $2 billion Texas is planning to spend on solving its water crisis sounds like a lot of money, but it may not be enough. Individual effort is required throughout the state. Implementing a plan for green plumbing, however, will not only save water but will also save money on water and energy bills.