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Save money, live green with these eco-friendly bathroom upgrades

Save money, live green with these eco-friendly bathroom upgrades

There are many eco-friendly upgrades a consumer might consider for the bathroom. From top of the line, brand new fixtures to less expensive retrofits, there is something for every budget. Installing green plumbing fixtures that add value, whether a homeowner is remodeling because they intend to stay in the home for several more years or they intend to resell it. These solutions will save money on the water bill month after month.


Do

Do replace the toilet

If your toilet was installed before 1993, it is not efficient and is wasting water. Newer models will save a household an average of $2,000 over its lifetime in water conservation. So, if it's in your budget, replace it with a new 1.28 gallon model.

Do consider a retro-fit for the toilet

If you don’t have the budget to purchase new, a more cost effective option for the toilet is the dual-flush converter which can be retrofitted to most any existing toilet and save water. Installation is easy and significantly less than a replacement.

Do look carefully at low-flow showerheads

Sometimes, water pressure is a concern when considering replacement of a showerhead. Take your time shopping and doing your research on low flow shower heads can still provide the needed water pressure. If this is a family bathroom, this solution is especially something to consider, as it as it can save the average family of four as much as 24,000 gallons of water on showers each year.

Do consider top-of-the-line touchless faucets

You’ve seen them in public restrooms but did you know that the top manufacturers make touchless faucets for residential bathrooms as well? These fixtures are admittedly expensive, but will save more water than any other faucet option. They are reducing slightly in cost as they become more prevalent in homes, but know the cost before choosing this option.

Do use less expensive faucet solutions

Faucets are one of the easiest and least expensive eco-friendly plumbing solutions. Choose an EPA WaterSense approved faucet for maximum efficiency. Aerator installation is something any homeowner can do and is very cost effective. This attachment can reduce gallons per minute from 1.5 to just .5 on any sink.


Don't

Do not overlook the obvious

New fixtures and remodeling is great. However, one of the most eco-friendly upgrades a homeowner can make is to fix leaks. Leaks are the greatest source of wasted water in a home. Dripping faucets, running toilets and leaky pipes are all minor upgrades that can save big bucks.

Do not forget about usability

Like most green commitments, some of these upgrades require a little sacrifice of convenience. Make sure you thoroughly research eco-friendly products before upgrading and ask an expert, like a plumber, how the switch might affect your daily water usage. If learning to flush a toilet differently, a decrease in water pressure, etc. are an issue, consider another solution.

Do not proceed without at least talking to a plumber

Some of the retrofit options mentioned, like installing a sink aerator, are easy enough for the average handy homeowner. However, as we said, when making these purchases, it's important to do research. Meet with a plumber to discuss your green goals in your bathroom to get the best recommendations before trying to go it alone.

Do not undersell the importance of green plumbing

Although water is perhaps one of your less expensive monthly bills, rates are rising. Take the time to track water usage both before and after you install water conservation upgrades. Real cost savings can be a great value-add if at some point the house might be re-sold.

Do not skip maintenance

Typical drain cleaners purchased in a supermarket contain harsh chemicals and can actually be detrimental to your plumbing system. Regular maintenance will keep a plumbing and drain system running efficiently. A simple online search will reveal a number of eco-friendly, non-toxic drain cleaners.


Summary
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Water conservation is an important green issue and eco-friendly plumbing solutions are generally a convenient, non-intrusive way to upgrade your home. After installation, the money that can be saved is usually well-worth the investment. However, like any new purchase or product, do your homework for the absolute best results.
 


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Photo Credits: Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia Rooms courtesy of Hotel Kursaal/Flickr Creative Commons; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Larry RothmanDirector of Plumbing Services

Larry Rothman is a Master Plumber who has been with Roto-Rooter Services Company for more than twenty years. He has extensive expertise in plumbing innovation and technology as well as both commercial and residential plumbing service....

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