Water-efficient plumbing fixtures can lower your bills

When it comes to reducing your utility bills, don't neglect your water consumption. Most of the attention around conservation in the home is focused on energy efficiency, but there is still space to find savings in your plumbing system as well. Take a glance at water-efficient plumbing fixtures to save both water and money in your home.

Look for the Water Sense Label

Just as the federal government maintains an Energy Star program to label products at the cutting edge of energy efficiency, it has a similar program for water conservation. The Environmental Protection Agency runs the Water Sense program to identify products that can cut down on your water usage, as well as provide tips on how to adjust your behavior to find even more efficiencies.

Products that get the Water Sense certification must perform as well as their standard counterparts but conserve at least 20 percent more water.  Among the options to help you save:

  • Toilets: Ultra-low-flow toilets use 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less. That's compared to 1.6 gallons for normal low-flow models, and as high as 6 gallons for older toilets. Other models have two flush options so you can use even less water when flushing only liquid waste.
  • Sink fixtures: Standard federal regulations cap water flow from sink faucets at 2.2 gallons per minute, but Water Sense products go a step beyond that, limiting output to a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute. The average family can save 700 gallons per year by making the switch, according to the EPA.
  • Showerheads: American families use up 40 gallons a day in the shower, or 17 percent of total household water use. Ultra-low-flow showerheads use two gallons of water per minute or less, helping you hold your consumption to a minimum.

The EPA claims that its efforts have saved consumers 757 billion gallons of water and $14.2 billion in water and energy bills since 2006. If every household in the country upgraded to Water Sense plumbing and products, consumers could save a total of 3 trillion gallons of water and $17 billion each year, the government says.

Auxiliary Savings as Well

The savings aren't just in your water bill. If you use a low-flow showerhead, for example, you will use less water, and critically, less hot water, so you need less energy to heat it up. That means you save on two bills for the price of one installation.

And there's more at stake than just saving money. California and parts of the Southwest have been experiencing major droughts in recent years, putting the value of fresh water at a premium. Some experts fear that clean water supplies worldwide could become stressed in upcoming decades, unable to meet rising demand for agriculture, industrial, landscaping, commercial and residential use. That means that by investing in efficient plumbing systems, you're doing more than just cutting down on your utility bills-- you're doing your part to help make the world a better place.

For more advice about how to find or install water-efficient plumbing, or how to get the most from your existing system, contact local Benjamin Franklin® today.

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