Over the last few years, life hacks have become extremely popular. They tend to cover things like quick ways to thaw frozen meat and how to prevent Band-Aids from slipping off your fingers. But some life hacks can offer you more than just convenience: they can reduce your energy bill and save you money.
This is especially true for some plumbing life hacks. Anything that can reduce your water consumption can also reduce your energy bills. So to help you keep more money in your pocket, let’s look at our 9 favorite plumbing hacks below.
1. Put a Weight in Your Toilet Tank
Toilets manufactured before 1997 may not be very water efficient. While toilets made after that date use less than two gallons of water per flush, older toilets use between 4 and 7 gallons per flush. And that seriously adds up, raising your water bill. But you don’t need to replace your toilet to stop this water waste. Instead, place a weight in your toilet tank. This displaces the water, making the toilet think the full amount is in there, using less to flush. Use something that will not damage the tank, like a full plastic water bottle.
2. Use Food Dye to Diagnose Toilet Problems
Do you suspect your toilet is leaking or constantly running? In some cases, this is obvious; you see the puddles from the leak or hear the constantly running water in the toilet. But sometimes the problem is too small to detect easily. If this is the case, a little food dye or other colorants in the bowl will help you tell. This will make leaks quite obvious, and if it disappears from the bowl or fades as time goes by, it’s a sign your toilet is running continuously.
3. Use the Toilet Only for Its Intended Use
This may sound strange, but many of us use the toilet for things like disposing of bugs we’ve killed, or getting rid of used Kleenex. But when you do, you give the toilet an extra flush, wasting at least a gallon of water. This is pointless and increases your water bill. Instead, leave the toilet for what it is meant for and use the waste basket for things that should just go in the trash.
4. Fill the Basin Rather than Running the Water
Many of our daily routines revolve around the sink. We wash our face; we brush our teeth, we wash our hands, we shave and put on makeup. And for many of these tasks, we use water. Whenever possible, fill the basin and use the water inside of it rather than continuously running the water. This may not seem like it’s saving water, but that is because you don’t realize how much water is going down the drain while you wash your face and hands and the like. As long as you fill it each time you need to use it and clean the basin regularly, this is just as hygienic as using running water.
5. Install an Aerator on Your Sink
While this is a hack that will cost you money upfront, it will save you money in the long run. An aerator is a small add-on to your sink setup that forces air into the water. This isn’t a lot of air, but what it essentially does is makes your water go a bit further as it comes out of the faucet. This especially makes a difference when you use it in conjunction with hack number 4 on our list, but it also works when you are just running the tap.
6. Wait for a Full Load
Both washing machines and dishwashers use a lot of water, but when you are getting a lot of things clean, it’s worth it. However, it isn’t if you’re only cleaning a few items. If you have just a few dishes that need to be washed right away, handwashing is best (using the filled-basin hack to save even more water). As for laundry, if your machine allows you to control the water level and you desperately need a certain item cleaned, you could choose to wash it with the water on a low level. However, this will still waste water when compared with waiting to wash a larger load.
7. Upgrade Your Showerheads
Once again, this is a hack that costs money, but the money it saves is incredible. Low-flow showerheads are showerheads that are designed to use significantly less water without reducing the water pressure you enjoy. As such, your showers will still be just as enjoyable, perhaps even more so since these tend to be waterfall-style showerheads. While these are a bit more expensive than standard models, they can save you as much as 30% on your water bill.
8. Lower the Temperature Threshold on Your Water Heater
So far, all of these hacks have been about saving water, but your plumbing system doesn’t just rely on water; your hot water heater will also use either electricity or gas to get the water hot. The hotter the threshold on your water heater, the more energy you use to get it hot and keep it hot. The default setting is 140 degrees; however, the 110-120 degree range is recommended not just for saving on your energy bills, but also for preventing accidental burns to family and guests.
9. Never Ignore a Leak
You might not think of this as a hack, but rather as common sense. However, most people will ignore leaks in their home for some time, waiting until they get bigger or cause another problem to fix them. The problem with this is that any leak, big or small, wastes water, and as time goes by, that waste adds up. If leaks are in the hot water line, you end up wasting both water and the gas or electricity used to heat it. As such, you should always fix a leak as soon as possible.
Looking for Lasting Solutions? Orange Coast Plumbing Has Them
From hacks to fixes to upgrades, Orange Coast Plumbing offers everything you need to make your home more energy-efficient. If you want to lower your energy bills or just be more environmentally conscious, we are here to help. Just give us a call, and we will determine which solutions are right for you.