Family bathrooms present multiple opportunities to conserve water, use less energy and save money. From simple strategies like adding an aerator to the vanity sink faucet to whole-home solutions such as adding a solar hot water system, eco-friendly strategies in the bathroom can help preserve the planet’s precious resources without sacrificing comfort and convenience. Here are five cost effective bathroom upgrades that can help lower your energy bills.
Top 5 Considerations for a “Green” Bathroom
Bathrooms account for more than 50 percent of household water usage. In 1994, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put standards in place to promote water conservation in household bathrooms, including requirements for low-flow toilets and showerheads. Today’s low-flow showerheads use half the water of traditional shower heads while delivering twice the power. They can reduce hot water usage by as much as 50 percent. Because water heating accounts for around 15 percent of an average home’s energy usage, low-flow showerheads cut your energy costs as well. Low-flow toilets can save up to 4,000 gallons of water each year.
2. Insulate Hot Water Systems
Water heaters and pipes that feel warm to the touch indicate that the system is wasting heat, energy and your money. Just wrapping your water heater up in an insulator blanket can save you up to 9 percent on your home energy bills. Pipes can be wrapped in insulating foam as well. Lower the set temperature of the water heater from 130 to 120 degrees, and you can reduce your energy costs by around 5 percent.
3. Solar Water Heating Systems
Heating your home’s water with energy from the sun is likely the most energy efficient upgrade that you can make for your bathroom. Flat-plate collectors installed on the roof use solar cells to heat a solution like antifreeze that then circulates through a water heater, providing hot water for the home. Solar hot water systems are eligible for federal tax credits that can reduce upfront installation costs by as much as 30 percent.
4. Energy Efficient Lighting Fixtures
Investing in energy-efficient light bulbs is a simple, affordable and cost-effective way to green up your bathroom. Upfront costs for fluorescent and LED bulbs are coming down while efficiency remains up. Replace one traditional incandescent bulb with an LED bulb, and you’ll save $400 over the life of the bulb. Some LED bulbs last as long as 20 years, so you won’t have to change bulbs as often either.
5. Detect and Eliminate Leaks
A single dripping faucet can waste over 3,000 gallons of water each year, according to the EPA. Other leaks are more challenging to detect but are just as wasteful. An easy way to check for hidden leaks is to check your home’s water meter over a two-hour period. Choose a time when no water is being used in the home. The EPA recommends annual inspections by professional plumbers to ensure that home and irrigation systems are operating at peak efficiency.
Knoxville Plumbing provide residents with timely plumbing installation in Knoxville and repair services for any remodeling or updating projects.