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Missed Fix-A-Leak Week? You Can Still Save On Your Own

Earlier this month, Delta Faucet Company and the Environmental Protection Agency paired up to help homeowners save more than 7 million gallons of fresh water annually. The event took place in nine cities, including Boston. Water-saving plumbing fixtures were installed by volunteers. Fixtures included faucets, showerheads, toilet valves, and flow regulators.

Even if you missed this particular opportunity, you can still put water-saving fixtures to work in your home. Low-flow toilets can use less than a gallon of water to provide an impressive, bowl-clearing flush. If you don’t want a low-flow toilet, you can also install a special dual-flush valve that reduces your water consumption. The dual flush valve allows you to flush and clear the bowl with running water, rather than using the 2 or 2.5 gallons that are stored in the toilet tank. This low-consumption flush is good for clearing liquid waste. When the flush is complete, the bowl refills with running water.

Water stored in the tank is used only when you need to “power-flush.” These dual-flush valves can reduce your toilet’s water consumption by one-third to one-half. They’re also easy to install, adjustable and are available at most home improvement stores.

Water-saving showerheads can limit flow to no more than two gallons of water per minute while still providing an excellent rinse. These fixtures are also available at your local home-improvement store are easy to install. In most cases, the shower fixture has a threaded connector. Simply disconnect the old one and connect the new one. You can also install an inline temperature control for your shower that can help prevent scalding injuries. Just like the showerhead, the inline temperature regulator is threaded and simply screws into place.

A leaking faucet that drips at a rate of once every 6 seconds can waste about 700 gallons of water per year! That’s significant when you look at your overall water consumption. Put another way, that’s the same amount of water you’d use showering daily for a month, or doing about 25 loads of laundry using a large-capacity washing machine.

Sometimes a leaking faucet requires a simple adjustment to stop leaks, but depending upon the faucet’s design, you may need to replace the entire fixture to stop a drip. Replacing a faucet isn’t hard and requires only a few basic hand tools, like a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. The effort is definitely worth it when you consider how much water you can save on an annual basis.

If you have leaking sink, tub or toilet fixtures and you can’t address them yourself, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We can recommend low-consumption fixtures that will address your leak problem and save water in the process!

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Dual Flush Valve Great Plumbing DIY Project

The good news is that I’m not in the shower this week, but I am still in the bathroom. Virtually, that is. A couple of weeks ago, I profiled a couple of low-flow showerheads that are designed to save water. This week, I’m featuring a dual-flush valve kit that can work with any conventional toilet. For homeowners in Boston, plumbing may not be a specialty, but this DIY project can certainly save water (and money) with each flush.

Water-saving toilets will play an increasingly important role in urban water-conservation efforts. If you live in an area where fresh water is relatively plentiful, you may not think much about water conservation. On the other hand, if you live in the desert, your water bill may be as much of a concern to you every month as heating in Boston would be in the winter.

Enter the HydroRight dual flush valve, designed to fit to conventional toilets. The valve replaces your standard flush handle with a two-button control. Use the upper button when you want to flush away liquid and paper only. This empties the holding tank just halfway and still clears the bowl adequately. For clearing solid waste, the lower button provides the standard full flush. Using this approach, you can reduce the water usage of an average toilet by about 30%.

This is the ideal DIY project. Installing the HydroRight valve requires no tools, no tank removal and is a done deal within about ten minutes. It also eliminates the dreaded chain and handle – common failures in standard flush toilets – and replaces the flapper valve – one of the usual suspects when it comes to leaky tanks. You can also find the HydroRight valve at your favorite home improvement stores for about $20. Depending upon how much you flush, you can recover the cost of the dual flush valve in less than a year, and you’ll be doing your part to help the environment, too.