Money-Saving Plumbing Upgrades

According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the average Arizona resident uses about 120 gallons of water per day. That’s higher than the national average of 80-100 gallons per day. On a monthly basis, Arizona households use around 6,000-15,000 gallons of water. While that might seem high, the good news is that there are a multitude of ways to save water with smart plumbing upgrades. Using less water means spending less on your monthly bills, and using less energy in the process. It’s a win-win for you, your wallet, and the environment.

The name to know: EPA WaterSense

When you’re shopping around for new, efficient plumbing products and appliances, keep an eye out for the EPA WaterSense label. Products only earn the WaterSense label if they pass the EPA’s stringent criteria for efficiency, performance, and water saving capabilities. The WaterSense label ensures that the product uses at least 20% less water than regular models, while also saving energy and maintaining performance.

The numbers speak for themselves: Replacing old faucets with WaterSense certified models can save the average family $250 in water and energy costs over the lifetime of the faucet, and WaterSense certified showerheads can save more than 2,700 gallons of water per year.

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, use anywhere from 30- 50% less energy than traditional water heaters with tanks. This saves the average family about $100 a year. These compact heaters only provide hot water when you turn on the faucet, allowing you to save water overall by reducing standby losses. Standby losses occur when energy is wasted while water cools down in pipes or sits in the tank of a traditional water heater.

Another benefit of a tankless water heater is their space-saving design. The average tankless water heater is no larger than a suitcase, and can be installed in a closet, a garage, or wherever else you have room. With no bulky tank to accommodate, tankless water heaters are perfect for smaller homes.

Tankless water heaters also have a much longer lifespan than a standard gas or electric water heater. As long as they’re well maintained, they can last anywhere from 5-10 years longer than the average standard water heater.

Solar water heaters

Solar water heaters are growing in popularity amongst homeowners in sunny climates who want to save money and reduce their environmental footprint. In the aptly-named Valley of the Sun, solar water heaters are a smart choice that will pay off over time. After all, with around 300 days of sunshine per year, there’s no better environment for solar power than Arizona. Solar water heaters harness the sun’s energy through a variety of systems. The most common configuration consists of:

  • A thermal panel installed on the roof to collect energy directly from the sun’s rays
  • A tank to store the hot water
  • A circulating pump to carry the solar energy from the roof to the tank
  • A thermal regulator to trigger the heat exchange and to prevent overheating
  • A back-up heating system for times when there isn’t enough sun

Another benefit of solar water heaters is their long lifespan. According to ENERGY STAR, the average life expectancy of a certified solar water heater is 20 years. To compare, the average lifespan of a standard gas or electric water heater is 8-12 years.

Low-flow shower heads

In years past, shower heads used anywhere from five to eight gallons per minute (GPM). Today, the average shower head uses approximately 2.5 GPM. Low flow shower heads use 2.5 or fewer GPM. Some shower heads fall into the ultra-low-flow category, using 1.5, 1, or even 0.5 GPM.

While older low flow shower heads were prone to low water pressure, modern ones offer the same great shower experience you’re used to, with less water. Many low flow shower heads include a flow restrictor, which allows you to control your desired water flow based on your preferred water pressure.

Replacing your old shower head with a newer one is a great way to save energy, water, and money. For example, say your current shower has a flow rate of 6 GPM. If you upgrade to a low flow shower head that uses 2.5 GPM, you can save 35 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.

Low-flow faucet aerators

Similar to low-flow shower heads, these devices screw right onto your existing faucet head and reduce water flow while maintaining water pressure. Inexpensive and easy to install, low-flow aerators pay for themselves after a few months with savings on your water and utility bills. By installing low-flow aerators on all the faucets in your home, you can save as much as 50% off your water and utility bills.

ENERGY STAR ® certified washing machines

According to ENERGY STAR ®, washing machines are the second largest water user in the average home. ENERGY STAR ® certified washing machines use 22% less energy and 33% less water than standard models. For even greater water savings, look for models with a low integrated water factor (IWF). The lower the IWF, the less water the model uses. The most efficient models will have an IWF ranging between 2-3.

High-efficiency toilets

Your toilets account for nearly 30% of your home’s water usage. With some models using as much as six gallons per flush, it’s easy to see why. To earn the EPA’s WaterSense certification, a toilet can only use 1.28 gallons per flush. Upgrading to a high-efficiency toilet is a great way to reduce water usage, and your investment will pay off over time in the form of lower monthly water bills. The most popular high-efficiency toilets include:

Dual-flush toilets

Dual-flush toilets use 20% less water per year than traditional toilets. They have either two flush buttons or a two-stage lever that can be pushed up or down. One setting uses less water per flush for liquid waste, while the other uses more for solid waste.

Gravity-assist toilets

The power of gravity allows these toilets to use less water per flush because of their strategic design. Gravity-assist toilets are very commonly found these days, with many styles and colors to fit the décor of your bathroom.

More money-saving toilet tips

Dual-flush and gravity-assist toilets are just the beginning. In 3 Ways to Reduce The Amount of Water Your Toilet Uses, we cover additional high-efficiency toilet varieties and ways to use less water with every flush.

Keep your water bill in check with Chas Roberts

Whether you’re interested in upgrading your plumbing fixtures with efficiency in mind, or you need help with a persistent plumbing problem, contact the professional plumbers at Chas Roberts. We know the ins and outs of the industry, and we pass our knowledge onto you so you can save money, save water, and enjoy your plumbing systems to the fullest. Contact us to get started.