An essential part of “adulting” is learning how to get a handle on your water bills and prevent plumbing-related issues around the house. Everyone develops their own tips and tricks, and we’ve gathered many over the years from friends, family, customers, and our own experiences as plumbing professionals.
Here are some of our favorite tips for ways to save water and avoid plumbing problems at home.
1. Keep a Baking Sheet Under Your Sinks
It’s common for leaks to develop underneath sinks. An easy way for you to catch the leak early and prevent water damage is to keep a disposable, foil baking sheet underneath your sink and its P-trap. Check on it every so often, and if you see water collecting in it, you’ll know it’s time to call a plumber.
2. Shorten Your Showers
Showers typically use less water than taking a bath, but that’s only true if you keep your showers relatively short. You can start by timing your showers to get an idea of how long it takes you on average to clean up, and you can start working on shortening your time from there.
3. Never Pour Grease Down the Sink
Grease might seem goopy and slippery enough to go down the drain with ease, but eventually, it’s going to cool down and solidify. When that happens, that once-liquid grease will coat your pipes and cause clogs with the other things trying to pass through. Instead, pour grease from your cookware in a jar where you can collect it over time and throw it out in a biodegradable trash bag on garbage day.
4. Only Wash Full Loads of Dishes and Clothes
While it might seem convenient to run your washing machine or dishwasher when there are only a few dirty items you want to clean, resist the urge until there’s a full load. You won’t only save water, but you’ll conserve energy too.
5. Use Your Dishwasher, Rather Than Handwashing
While we’re on the topic of using your dishwasher, did you know that dishwashers use, at most, 5 gallons of water to wash a load of dishes, whereas handwashing will require anywhere from 9 to 27 gallons? If you do have a full load of dishes that need to be cleaned, you’ll save a substantial amount of water by letting your dishwasher do the dirty work.
6. Don’t Flush Any Trash But Toilet Paper
Manufacturers construct toilet paper so that it will break down easily when soaked in water. Sturdier, more absorbent items like paper towels, cotton balls, makeup pads, and, yes, even “flushable” wipes, will keep their shape in your plumbing pipes and are very likely to form a clog.
7. Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners “work” by either eating away at a clog or melting it. This requires some highly corrosive substances, including sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. Not only can these substances damage your pipes, but they can also endanger your health and safety. Instead, use a plunger or a drain snake to remove clogs, and if you need help, contact a trusted plumber to clear the blockage.
8. Put Aerators In Your Faucets
Washing your hands is a critical part of illness prevention. According to the CDC, you should be scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds to remove germs. While you have the option of turning the faucet off after first lathering and then turning it back on to rinse, this increases your exposure to germs on the faucet handles, so many people choose to leave the water running.
You can reduce the amount of water wasted each time you wash your hands by installing an aerator in your faucets. An aerator infuses air bubbles into the waterflow, reducing the volume of water that comes out, while the pressure feels the same.
At Quality Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we pride ourselves on providing top-notch plumbing solutions for our customers in Kodak, Sevier, and Knox counties. If you need a plumber, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (865) 622-7785.