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5 Tips for Preventing Waste and Reducing Utility Bills

plumbing tips

It’s not surprising that many of us use more water in summer than at any other time of year. Lawns need more water, pools have to be filled, and a long, cool shower feels great on a hot Montgomery, Alabama, day. The increased need for water can stress your plumbing system and increase your utility bills. Here are some helpful tips to help you reduce waste and save money.

Upgrade Your Toilets

In 1994, Congress limited toilets to 1.6 gallons of water per flush to save water. Earlier toilets used over three gallons of water per flush. The first water-saving toilets often took two or three flushes to clear the bowl, and clogs were common. Fortunately, today’s models flush easily and save water. New toilets can even increase the value of your home. You can choose a gravity flush, pressure assist, or vacuum assist toilet.

Gravity-flush models use a flush valve or flapper that opens to flush water from the toilet bowl. Pressure-assist toilets have a pressure tank that holds water under pressure. When the flush valve opens, gravity and pressure together create a loud, powerful flush. Pressure-assist toilets are common in public restrooms. Vacuum-assist toilets have a vacuum tank that’s connected to a large tube called a trapway that carries water out of the bowl. When you flush a vacuum-assist toilet, the water flowing out of the tank creates suction to help remove waste.

Take Care of Your Washing Machine and Dryer

It could be the result of more dirty clothes due to increased activities but we might also need to do more laundry in the summer months. Without proper maintenance, this could stress your washing machine and shorten its life. Move the machine a few inches away from the wall to keep the hose on your washing machine from kinking, and inspect it for leaks, cracks, bulges, and other problems. You’ll need to replace most rubber washing machine hoses about every three years.

You should also try to stay at home while your washing machine is running so you can stop it and call a professional if there are any mechanical problems. A burst hose wastes lots of water, and it can cause extensive water damage. Clean your dryer’s lint trap regularly to save energy and lower the risk of fire.

Turn Down Your Water Heater

You can save energy by lowering your home’s water heater to a lower temperature. A water heater can cause severe burns if the temperature is set too high. You might be able to lower your heater’s temperature even more in summer. If you lower it too much, you can always increase it again. Your water heater should have a dial for adjusting the temperature next to it.

Use a Water Heater Timer

Gas water heaters have a pilot light, a small flame that stays lit all the time. That way, your water heater can provide hot water to your kitchen and bathrooms quickly. If you have a regular schedule, you can use a water heater timer to turn the pilot light off when you’re at work and asleep. A water heater timer is simpler, but it’s very similar to a programmable thermostat.

Find Your Shut-Off Valve

Every home has a main shut-off valve so you can turn off the water during leaks or other plumbing emergencies. This keeps you from having to clean up lots of water and even replace furniture or carpeting because of a broken pipe. Different homes have shut-off valves in different locations, and some fixtures like toilets have their own valves.

Homes with basements usually have a shut-off valve near the front foundation wall, within three to five feet of where the main water enters. If you don’t have a basement, the shut-off valve is usually under the kitchen sink or near the water heater.

Air Conditioning by Luquire can help you with all your plumbing needs, as well as heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repair. We offer free estimates on new systems and a one-year guarantee on all repairs. Call us anytime at 334-230-5870 for quality service.

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