When it comes to thinking green in the world of plumbing, most ideas revolve around reducing usage and waste. Making choices that save on water is the best way to be eco-conscious with plumbing, but not necessarily the only way.
More and more professionals are becoming more familiar with green choices for their clients. The Plumbing Detectives, a popular Sydney plumber, have seen several eco trends lately that can help you save money as well as help the environment.
Low-Flow Shower Heads
Let’s start off with a pretty simple plumbing project: changing the shower fixtures to a low-flow variety. You can save up to 2 gallons per minute during your showers without sacrificing flow or pressure. A good quality low-flow fixture is designed to still give you a strong shower, just using a little less water. This is the kind of thing you can do without a professional with just some standard hand tools.
Dual Flush Toilets
A bigger project might be the toilet, which is still a reasonable change to make without breaking the bank. Switching a conventional toilet for one that allows you to make either short or standard flushes can save a lot of water. Just choose the button or lever for small flush if you only have a little liquid to deal with, and give it the full flush for larger waste situations. By using less water when you don’t really need it, you save several gallons every day.
You can also get low-flow toilets that don’t offer the dual flush choice which will also save on water usage but aren’t always the best option for those times you need serious flushing power.
On-Demand Hot Water
Maintaining a large tank of hot water so it’s ready for use isn’t the most energy-efficient approach, even with insulation. A system that uses rapid heating to give you hot water in moments means you can ditch the tank and only use the energy when you actually need it.
Grey Water System
If you are really serious about green plumbing, you can add in a grey water system to reuse the rinse water that drains from your washing machine or dishwasher too. This might be a bigger project than the average homeowner wants to get into, but it is a huge improvement in water efficiency if you give it a go. Water that is drained off from the washing machine, for example, is relatively clean and can be rerouted for toilet-flushing use or perhaps for outside gardening (providing you use a natural detergent). Water from the bathtub drain can be used for this as well.
This is a little different from the water-saving tips given so far. A clogged drain sends most people reaching for the nearest jug of caustic chemicals to get it cleared, which is far from a green decision. Instead of trying to unclog a sink with toxins, try a more natural option next time. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is surprising very effective at loosening a clog as it fizzes. It also creates gas pressure if you plug the drain after you apply.
You can also try the mechanical route with an extendable drain “snake” that will directly break up the clog without any chemicals at all.