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Improving Your water efficiency # blog 1

Introduction

 

When it comes to water saving ideas around the home, there a two areas where we can focus our effort to achieve this, one we can work in improving our habits when using water and how much we use and two we can implement more efficient way of using water as we use it.

During this article I will talk you through some ideas, some I have gained through working in the plumbing industry, other idea I have earned from my research during writing this article.

Major losses

Having access to water is easy for most of us in first world countries, so much so that we have become a culture of waste when it comes to water wastage. Below are a few examples of common bad water habits;

    • letting the water heat up before washing your hands or having a shower.
    • letting the water run hot before filling a pan of it water so it heats up quicker.
    • over irrigating your garden
    • letting the kids play in the shower

The list could keep going, but you see where I am going, our bad habits are normal for most of us and without a conscious effort nothing is going to change.

Targets

Back in 2007, in Queensland we were going through a drought period.

The local government tried to push and promote for everyone to use no more than 140 litres per day each. At the time we were averaging around 180 litre per person but after a successful marketing campaign from the local government it dropped down to around 130.

I remember simple things like 4 min showers, catching the cold water in bucket from the shower and using it to flush the toilet. Dropped our house to around 100 litres per day.

The key through the whole process was being mindful of the waters use. This should be our target. Get into good healthy water habits.

Areas for improvement

Toilets

    • the saying ” if its yellow let it mellow” could save you 3 litres per flush at least. The average person has 4 pee breaks per day, do the math.
    • make sure you have a 3/4.5 litre cistern and not an old 6 litre type.
    • ensure your toilet is not leaking into the bowl. That can be hard to spot.

The easy way to tell is by putting a piece of dry toilet paper at the back of the bowl and see if it absorbs any dripping water. A minor drip could waste hundreds of litres per year and a drip will only get worse over time. The good thing is, it is an easy inexpensive fix.

Cheap to fix leaking toilet

Hot water systems

> Next time you need a hot water system, consider purchasing a continuous flow type. The benefits relating to this topic are that they do not have a temperature pressure relief valve or cold water expansion valve like storage hot water systems so there is less daily water lost during the heat cycle.

Also storage hot water system valves only have a product warranty of 1 years and will most probably need to be replaced once or twice during the life time of the hot water system and when you finally notice them leaking it’s too late because you have most likely wasted thousands of litres of water., that is unless you check Your cylinder daily.

If you are able try and locate your hot water unit close to the highest water user in the house, so main bathroom etc so that the cold water which is wasted while you wait for the hot water to come through is kept to a minimum.

Water leaks

> Finding out if you have a leak is quite easy, finding the leak can be the hard bit.

Just before you go to bed write down the water meter reading and ensure no one in your house uses water through the night. When you wake, take another water meter reading. If they are different then you have leak.

The main areas for a leak are:

  • toilet
  • dripping tap
  • faulty hot water valve
  • underground or consealed leak

If you do a visual on the all the above ground fixtures and you can’t find a leak there is stood chance it will be below ground, at this stage you could call in the professional to find and fix.

Leak finding free

Washing machine/ dish washer settings/ times

Use all the of your washing machines settings. What I mean by this is, don’t prewash, extra rinse, extra spin every load of washing, there is also half loads, yuck washes.

If the load is only small, use the half load, or if they are not really dirty throw them on a quick wash. Your clothes will still be appropriately washed and you will save hundreds of litres of water per year.

With your washing machine, one way to really great way to save on water is to hook the washing machine into your rain water supply. The rain water can be run through a filter to ensure better quality of water. So every time your wash your clothes not only are you using free way but you are also contributing to a greener earth.

Free

Droughts

During the Aussie summer the temperatures can be stifling, this puts strain on our local water infrastructure due to evaporation of our reservoirs and lack of consistent rain fall.

We can help our local infrastructure by looking at some of the following areas:

Rain Water harvesting

We could install rain water tanks so any captured rain could be used to water our gardens, clean our cars, wash our clothes or even flush our toilet.

Supply plus install 2k+, great cost saving long term

Showers

One of the simplest ways to save water is t limit of time in the shower. Halving the average shower time of 7minutes down to 3.5/4 mins will greatly decrease our. Water usage.

Free

Water evaporation

Thousands of litres of water is evaporated each year from your pool. All pool should be covered with pool covers and shade clothes if possible and try to use rain water where pods to top up the pool. This can be done manually or through a pump.

Hundreds to purchase, install yourself

Harvesting grey water

This is really only effective if you have a fair bit of a garden, lawn area to play with.

So harvesting grey water, put basically involves installing a small underground tank and pump some where close to your existing drainage and is then used to capture water from your showers and basins,the water is then used to re water your lawns, gardens etc.

As you can imagine, tens of thousands of litres of water can be saved annually with this method but it is important to remember that if this method is to be used then a licensed plumber should be used to install and set up the tank and irrigation because there are quite a few safety precautions that need to be considered when installing this system. This being considered, still a great system to use if you have a fair sized block.

Estimate 3k+ but cheap long term

Shower shower savers

Installing a shower saver will limit your flow rate to around 9 litres per minute. Without a flow restrictor you will likely get around get 15+ litres per minute depending on your water pressure. If you can install water savers in all your showers and still maintain similar shower lengths then again you can save thousands of litres of water per year. For example a 7 min shower will use approx 42 litres less per shower x 365 = 15330 litres of water saving for just one person per year, a huge saving.

Cheap

Tap aerators

Like a shower saver, the tap aerator acts as a flow restrictor by limiting water through the mouth of the tap but also adding air to the process at the same time.?This method reduces the flow to 6-9 litres per minute, so quite a significant percentage saving.

Cheap

Summary

With only a small amount of time and money you can make minor changes to your water fixtures and small habit change will save you tens of thousands of litres per year.

Being water wise does make you feel good a like you are doing your bit for Mother Nature.

Recommendations

Book a water wise inspection with your local plumber today.

An inspection and certification will cost you around $100. The site inspection usually lasts about an hour and will check you home for water efficiency and give you a list of items that need to be fixed.

Visit www.yatesplumbingandgas.com.au or message me on 0437827502 to book an home water wise inspection.