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Green Plumbing: 3 Key Things You Can Do

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In an age of rising energy costs and environmental concerns, more homeowners are looking for ways to go green. Unfortunately, homeowners often overlook one of the biggest areas for efficiency improvements: their plumbing system. If you would like to learn more about improving your plumbing system, read on. This article will discuss three effective strategies for greener plumbing.

1. Go Tankless

Traditional water heaters have a natural degree of inefficiency. This inefficiency stems from the fact that the water in the tank must remain at a certain temperature at all times - even when you don't necessarily need the water. Holding water at a constant temperature requires that the heater regularly consume additional energy.
This source of inefficiency can be eliminated by upgrading to a tankless water heater. As its name implies, this style of water heater does away with the central holding tank. Instead, a series of highly powerful - and highly efficient - electrical heating elements bring cold water instantly up to temperature. 
A tankless water heater can effectively meet your hot water needs within seconds of turning on the tap. When you're not actively using any hot water, the heater won't be consuming any energy. As a result, your energy bills will drastically decrease. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that homes that integrate tankless water heating may expect to improve energy efficiency by as much as 34 percent.

2. Insulate Hot Water Pipes

Those who aren't ready to invest in a tankless water heater can still improve their hot water efficiency. One of the most effective ways of doing so involves insulating the hot water pipes in your home. Insulation has three key benefits. For one thing, it will result in hotter water coming out of your fixtures.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, pipe insulation limits heat loss, especially for the water that remains standing in your pipes between uses. This lowers the amount of energy consumed by your water heater. Expect to yield savings of between 3 and 4 percent for making this simple upgrade, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Finally, insulating hot water pipes will ultimately help to lower the volume of water your household consumes. You will no longer have to painstakingly run the hot water tap while all of the cold water drains from the pipes. Instead, you will be greeted almost instantaneously by hot water.

3. Embrace Low-Flow Fixtures

Not all plumbing fixtures allow the same amount of water flow. Your showerheads and faucets play a huge role in dictating the amount of water your home uses. Switching to low-flow fixtures will limit the amount of water wasted while you shower, wash dishes, and perform other common tasks.
Many people hold an unfair stigma against the idea of low-flow fixtures, especially where showerheads are concerned. This stigma stems from the lackluster performance of first-generation low-flow showerheads. Yet the options available on the market today vastly exceed these in terms of performance. In fact, many people find that their low-flow showerheads deliver better results than their older, high-flow showerheads.
Faucets can be made low-flow by the attachment of aerators. These simple additions reduce your per-minute water consumption by passing the water through a tight-knit metal screen. Whereas an aerator-less faucet will consume a whopping 1 gallon per minute, equipping that faucet with an aerator will reduce consumption to as little as 0.35 gallons per minute.
Green plumbing upgrades will ultimately save you money while often increasing your comfort and convenience as well. For more information on ways to promote a greener plumbing system in your home, please contact the residential plumbing experts at Dave-Co Plumbing.
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