When your plumbing fixtures are out of date, replacing them is a good way to conserve water and energy. But did you know it can also help you save money? Cutting back on water and energy usage in your home is more than just beneficial for the environment - you'll notice a difference in your water and electricity bills, too. And even if you're saving just a few bucks a month, that money can really add up in the long term. With that in mind, take a look at these four plumbing changes you can make around your home to save money:
1. Cover your water heater
Water heater blankets are a great investment if you're looking to save some money on energy here and there - especially if you have a large water heater in your home. The machines have to exert a lot of energy to warm up all of the water that's in the tank, and blankets provide insulation that maintains higher temperatures. This means the heater won't have to use as much energy the next time it's used. Some plumbers dispute the benefits of water heater blankets but they have proven their worth, especially when the water heaters are located in unheated garages or basements.
2. Switch to low-flow fixtures
Low-flow fixtures are great water conservation tools that can help you to live frugally and conservatively. Plus, things like kitchen and bathroom faucets and shower heads are pretty easy to replace on your own. These fixtures use remarkably less water per second than older models, which means the more low-flow fixtures you switch to, the more money you'll save. And don’t worry about low-flow shower heads feeling inadequate. It’s true that the first generation of low-flow shower heads were pretty awful, but today’s low-flow shower heads are engineered so well, you won’t believe you’re actually conserving water.
3. Replace your toilet
Even though paying for a new toilet may seem like a lot of money upfront, it's definitely worth it if you want to conserve water and save money – and have an older toilet. Older models can use more than twice as much water per flush than newer ones, which is a serious waste of resources and money. If you do replace your toilet, consider going for a low-flush model that will use even less water per flush. Your options include 1.6 gallon-per-flush (gpf), 1.28 gpf, or dual-flush models that allow the user to choose a low-power flush for liquid waste and a full-power flush for solid waste.
4. Make sure your appliances are in good shape
Your dishwasher, washing machine and water heater are responsible for a lot of water and energy usage every day. It's important to make sure they're working properly - a leak or blockage could cost you. Keep these machines clean, and stay on top of any maintenance issues. Also, keep in mind that you can conserve water and money by running only full loads through the dishwasher and washing machine. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it on your own terms instead of waiting for it to fail. Remember that the average life of a water heater is 11 years. After that, you’re on borrowed time!