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WaterSense and lowering your water bill?

WaterSense and lowering your water bill

WaterSense is a program developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency to identify water-efficient products. The EPA first introduced the WaterSense label in 2006, and applied it to toilets and plumbing fixtures. To earn the WaterSense label, a product must use at least 20% less water than the EPA’s baseline fixtures. According to the EPA, Americans have reduced their water consumption by nearly 3 trillion gallons using WaterSense certified products.

The list of WaterSense rated products includes toilets, sink fixtures, toilet valves, flushing urinals, showerheads, irrigation controllers, spray sprinkler bodies and commercial pre-rinse spray valves. The Department continues to develop standards for water-saving products available to residential and commercial customers.

Why is saving water so important? Although water covers the majority of the Earth’s surface, only about 1% of the water on our planet is fresh. By reducing water consumption, we can reduce the amount of energy needed to treat and transport water. We can also save money!

Laundry and showering are the two biggest water consumers in your house today. Conventional toilets can use between 50-70 gallons per day. As a rule of thumb, the average person in the United States uses about 100 gallons of water per day. Reducing consumption by just 20% can save hundreds of dollars in water costs per year.

Being water efficient lowers your water costs

Start saving in the bathroom. Not surprisingly, the bathroom is where you’ll use most of your water. Installing a low-flow toilet, a low-flow showerhead and a water-saving bathroom sink fixture will make a noticeable dent in your water bill. Cutting your shower time to 5-10 minutes can also put money back in your pocket. The latest low-flow toilets perform exceptionally well and use only about a gallon per flush. Keeping your conventional commode – which could use 3.5 gallons or more per use – is literally flushing money down the toilet.

Clean up your laundry. If you have an old, top-loading washing machine, think about replacing it. A new, high-efficiency washing machine uses just about 25% of the water your old top-loader does. If you do 20 loads per week using your old top loader, you’ve used about 1,000 gallons of water. If you do the same 20 loads in a high efficiency washer, you’ve used about 250 gallons of water. A new washing machine will pay for itself in about 2 years, in the form of lower water bills.

Leaks. We have nothing good to say about water leaks. A leaking toilet, faucet or pipe can raise your water bill hundreds of dollars over the course of a month. A leaking or broken shower diverter is another excellent way to throw your money away. We won’t even mention the amount of damage a water leak can cause to your home. Leaks don’t fix themselves. Truthfully, they can only get worse over time. If you have a leak, or suspect one, fixing it immediately should be a high priority. It will save money and prevent more extensive damage to your home.

Outdoor water usage and your water bill

Outdoor watering. If you water your lawn or landscaping, you can find water-saving irrigation products that reduce your water consumption. You can also use rain barrels, which collect water from rainstorms for “free” landscaping irrigation. Use water timers to control usage and make sure your sprinklers are adjusted properly to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways.

Your swimming pool. If you have a swimming pool, you may also have an automatic pool filler. Evaporation of pool water can seriously increase your water consumption. Keep an eye on your pool filler. If you’re losing a lot of water to evaporation, consider using a pool cover to limit your water loss. Depending upon the size of your pool, they can be a little expensive, but they’ll easily pay for themselves.

If you’d like more information about water-saving toilets, showerheads or faucets, or you have a water leak that needs to go, call us at Boston Standard Company at (617) 288-2911.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Whiteland, via Flickr

Beverly Hills Shines Light On Urban Water Consumption

California has been devastated by a prolonged drought, causing Governor Jerry Brown to declare a statewide water emergency. That action, taken last June, implemented a mandatory 25% reduction in urban water consumption. Some of the state’s A-listers apparently missed the memo on the new water regulations, and that put the City of Beverly Hills in a bind.

To meet the state-mandated urban water consumption requirements, Beverly Hills implemented restrictions on outdoor watering, car washing and swimming pool usage.

Nothing.

The city sent letters to dozens of over-users. The letter included a request to reduce water consumption and a warning that future bills would begin accumulating punitive surcharges.

Still nothing.

The city was flooded with complaints that its residents were ignoring the watering restrictions. The State of California penalized Beverly Hills by assessing a $61,000 fine for its failure to meet water consumption targets, even though it recognized that the City was doing everything right in its bid to reduce water consumption.

In November 2015, the City sent letters to its highest water consumers, using data from its June to August billing cycle. The letters went to some of the city’s most expensive homes. The water bills in question ranged from $2,500 to more than $31,000.

The worst offender? Recording mogul David Geffen, whose 10-acre Warner Estate swallowed more than 1 million gallons of water in just two months. Geffen said that he’s been trying to get permission from the City to drill a well on his property to tap into groundwater for use around his property.

Other offenders include comedian Amy Poehler, developer Geoff Palmer, directors Brett Ratner and Max Mutchnick. Some of overusage has been attributed to leaking water lines, and the offenders have vowed to have them fixed. Others maintained that they had no previous knowledge that their water consumption was that high.

Despite the city’s get-tough approach to water usage, and its recent progress on curbing urban water consumption, it’s still falling short of the state mandated conservation targets. Officials acknowledge that the city may get fined again for missing the mark.

Prior to the water restrictions, the typical urban water consumption rate for the average Los Angeles resident was about 77 gallons per day. As of January, the average Los Angeles resident consumed 59 gallons of water – 2 gallons shy of the city’s reduction target.

Los Angeles has undertaken some significant conservation measures, including offering rebates of $3 per square foot for turf removal and replacement with drought-tolerant plants. Water conservation is something everyone can do, regardless of where you live in the country. If you’d like more information about water conservation strategies that you can employ here in Boston, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to show you how you can reduce water consumption in and around your home.

Photo Credit: Alejandro Basso, via FreeImages.com