Are you ready to take the green route with pipes and drains?
What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase ‘green living’? If your first association is eco-friendly packaging, recyclable materials, non-toxic cleaning supplies, solar panels, or energy efficient appliances, you have a very green mind indeed – but did you know that plumbing can be greenified for an environmentally safe twist, too?
Sustainable plumbing refers to locally and ethically produced low-tox equipment designed to minimize water and energy waste. Apart from its benefits for the planet, green plumbing is good for human health and home budget, too: green plumbing updates can curb the risk of diseases caused by toxins and chemicals in tap water and considerably reduce your household’s annual utility costs. So, what’s the deal with sustainable plumbing and how can you greenify it?
1. Insulate your pipes
An insulation update for your bathroom and kitchen pipes will help prevent heat loss as hot water travels from the heater to the tap. The longer the pipes are, the higher the energy savings will be – and the added insulation layer will also prevent the plumbing from freezing during extreme wintertime temperature lows. The types of insulation which you can use on pipes range from spiral-wrap fiberglass, foam tubing, self-sealing foam, fiberglass shell pipe covers, and regular insulation fiberglass.
2. Install a green hot water circulation pump
On-demand hot water circulation pumps send heated H2O to the fixtures within seconds, so they are a money-saver that cuts both ways. Since you do not need to run the faucet while you are waiting for hot water to heat up and rush out, you will be saving both H2O and energy by a single green plumbing update.
3. Get a new energy star heating unit
According to experts from Ozzy plumbing, without proper maintenance, the heating unit can become a hotbed for debris which can reduce its functionality and shorten its lifespan by up to 10 years. When buying a new water heater, look for an energy efficient one: although energy star heaters are somewhat costlier initially, the investment will pay off quickly as the heating unit accounts for as many as 15% of your household energy expenditure.
4. Use water purification systems
Households in areas plagued by polluted water often feature whole-house filtration equipment. Faucet and showerhead add-ons such as activated carbon filters and reverse osmosis systems can be used to ensure maximum water safety in regions with hard water. A comprehensive purification system will eliminate all microorganisms, chemicals, and particulates from tap water, so it is a great investment in both your family’s well-being and cleaner environment.
5. Slap a low-flow aerator on it
Flow reducers and low-flow tap and showerhead add-ons can cut water waste by whopping 40-60%. This is a small investment when you take into account its long-term eco rewards and lower utility bills – plus, you can add these easy-to-install gizmos to your home fittings on your own.
6. Low-flush toilets to prevent money drain
Did you know that the toilet is the biggest water waster in your home? A regular toilet draws 3.5- 7 gallons of water per flush, which is a lot when you crunch the numbers of expended H2O per month. With a low-flush toilet, you can cut water loss by 2-5 times without compromising your loo’s hygiene.
7. Check the water supply system
A quick inspection of your household’s plumbing system will reveal secret water and energy leaks. For maximum eco-efficiency, the pipework should follow the shortest possible travel route. Also, have the water tested by a professional to make sure internal piping is not releasing toxins. In case the results come back packed with high metal and chemical content, you should at least get a purification system, if not invest in pipe replacement below deck.
8. Eco-rinse and recycle whenever you can
When replacing dishwashers, water heaters, laundry machines and other water-supplied tech, truck the old devices off to the local recycling plant. Also, switch to green cleaning supplies and ditch chemical-packed detergents and disinfectants: these will wind up in the sewage system and flow out somewhere. The chemicals in the water will eventually seep into the ground, compromising both the quality of soil and everything that grows on it.
A green thought goes a long way in plumbing practices: faucet and shower head aerators alone can reduce water waste by 50%, and their price is ridiculously small compared to the massive benefits for the ecosystem, utility savings, and your own health. Are you ready to take the green route with pipes and drains?
Zoe Clark, the author of this article, is a proud mom of one baby girl and a miniature schnauzer. When not obsessing about designing perfect homes, Zoe is spending time with her family.
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