Water conservation in the home is good for both the environment and for your wallet. Older homes, in particular, are prone water waste. Know the common culprits so you can remedy the problem.
1. Dripping Faucets
Dripping faucets waste gallons of water a year. They are also annoying, and the constant dripping can cause the faucet to wear out more quickly. Most faucet drips are exceptionally easy fixes, so there is no need to ignore the problem. In most cases an o-ring or gasket just needs to be replaced. Rarely, the entire faucet may require replacement, but even this isn't a highly expensive or difficult repair.
2. Running Toilets
A toilet that runs long after it has been flushed could be wasting more water than a dripping faucet. If your toilet always seems to be running, or if you have to remember to "jiggle the handle," then chances are there is something wrong with either the float or the flapper inside the toilet tank. You may be able to adjust the float or the chain that controls the flapper to fix the problem. If this fails, then a new flapper assembly may be needed.
3. Leaking Hose Bibs
A common source of water leaks are the hose bibs outside of your home. The gaskets inside the faucet handles wear out quickly because they are exposed to weathering and temperature fluctuations. Sometimes there can also be leaks in the pipes feeding the hose bibs, often due to winter freezes that expanded water stuck in the pipe. Shutting off the water to exterior faucets and draining them prevents these leaks. If they are already leaking, you will need either a repair or a replacement.
4. Outdated Showers
If you prefer showers or baths, it's imperative to make sure your shower head isn't wasting too much water. Modern low-flow shower heads provide all the comfort and water pressure of their predecessors, but they don't use nearly as much water. Simply upgrading to a lower flow shower head could reduce your water usage dramatically.
5. Old Toilets
Another upgrade to consider when water conservation is the goal is the toilet. Old toilets can use 5 or more gallons of water for each flush, while modern toilets typically use less than 2 gallons. Updating your old toilet to a new one, even if it isn't a top of the line low flow toilet, could still equal big water savings.
Contact a plumbing contractor for more help in repairing or updating your plumbing.