Water saving devices for the home are known as low flow devices. Since the enactment of the National Energy Policy Act, manufacturers have been quick to develop a plethora of various low flow devices, such as kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators, toilets, and showerheads. Low flow fixtures are designed to restrict the amount of water used, while not sacrificing performance. Below, we’ve created an introduction of sorts, to low flow devices.
In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency developed the WaterSense label for water fixtures in the home. All products labeled WaterSense certified mean that they’ve been tested by an independent testing lab for flow rate. Those products which are certified are 20 percent more efficient than non-certified units. The following illustrates the savings which can be achieved by using WaterSense certified water fixtures:
- Bathroom faucets – 30 percent flow reduction
- Toilets – Save up to 13,000 gallons of water per year
- Showerheads – Save up to 2,900 gallons of water per year
Major kitchen faucet manufacturers, such as Delta and Moen have made arrangements to have their units tested to see if they live up to the WaterSense water saving requirements. If you live in an older home, and still have water fixtures from say, the 1960’s, then of course, your water fixtures are not saving your money. To give you a heads up, we’ve compiled a list of inexpensive water-saving devices which you can install to help you begin your water saving journey. Remember, saving water will actually save you money in the long run!
In our journey to add water saving devices to your home, it’s smart to start small, and that means the aerator. You’ll find that the water aerator is the simplest and inexpensive way to start saving on water. If you’re not familiar with them, the aerator is found on the spout of your faucet, the part with the little screen. Water efficient aerators are built with a small disc that keep the water flow in check and can help save water usage up to 50 percent. Aerators keep the pressure the same, while reducing the amount of water flowing from the faucet.
Grey Water Diverter
Grey water diverters take the water that is used in one room and reuse it. Now don’t get put off by these diverters, as the water diverted will not be used for consumption, but instead to do things such as wash your car, or water your garden. Grey water diverters take the water you used in your kitchen or bathroom, and divert it to a storage unit, where it stays until you’re ready to water your roses, or wash down your driveway. But please keep in mind that since you’ll be using this water for outdoor applications, grey water diverters should really only be used in households that use eco-friendly products that will not harm the environment.
Check valves offer you backflow protection, along with control of the water flow. Just by adjusting the valve stem opening, allows you to alter the amount of water flowing through. This means that by simply adding a water efficient check valve you’ll be able to save money by controlling the consumption of the water. These valves are super easy to install and require little or no maintenance.
Rain Barrels or Tanks
Rain barrels have been used for decades as a way to collect rainfall for use in gardens. While rain water has been used for human consumption years ago, it’s not such a good idea today. Even though rain water is relatively free from contaminants, it’s when it enters the barrel that the trouble can begin. Water that falls from rooftops, or comes in contact with other surfaces will contain any contaminants located on those surfaces. That being said, using the water collected can be of great help when it comes to watering gardens, washing cars, and other outdoor cleaning chores.
Water Saving Devices for the Shower
There’s nothing quite like a nice, long hot shower. But, what about the water waste and expense associated with it? In fact, did you know that taking a long, hot shower actually uses around 5 to 10 gallons of water per minute? By installing eco-friendly showerheads and timers you’ll be able to save a significant amount of water. Go online and take a look at the selection of low-flow shower heads. You’ll find that there are a variety of designs. Some will have flow restrictions, for instance. When shopping for your low flow showerhead, you’ll come across two basic types: Laminar flow and Aerating. Laminar flow showerheads let you enjoy nice, streams of water. Whereas an aerator will combine water and air to provide a mist-type spray. You can also purchase flow control inserts that work to decrease the flow, as well as shower shut-off valves that allow you to control the flow.
Purchase Water Saving Appliances
You might not think it, but washing dishes by hand actually uses more water than washing them using an energy efficient dishwashing machine. This is due to the habit most of us have of leaving the water run as we rinse our dishes. In fact, according to the EPA, a water efficient dishwasher has you save up to 5,000 gallons of water per year! The same applies to an efficient washing machine. A high efficiency washing machine can use around 7 gallons for each load. Now, compare that to an older, non-efficient washing machine which can use up to 54 gallons! In order to ensure that the appliance your considering is efficient, look for its Energy Star rating. If there is no Energy Star Rating, then consider a different model.
We’re living in a world where clean water is quickly becoming a scarcer resource. Therefore, now more than ever before, we need to seek ways to reduce our individual consumption. Fortunately, technology is our friend, and the top manufacturers of water fixtures have created ways for us to restrict our water usage while not sacrificing performance. Devices such as check valves, grey diverters and aerators can all greatly reduce the amount of water usage in the home. Add to that, products with the WaterSense label, and we’re well on our way saving not only water, but the cash in our wallet.