Unless you have a large lawn, your water bill isn’t usually the focus of concern when bills come due. Even then, reducing the cost each month from how much water you use doesn’t just improve your standard of living, it helps with local water conservation efforts. One of the simplest methods for reducing water use just requires a little time and some initial investment. Low flow fixtures reduce your water use without changing your lifestyle or habits (you can work on changing those to increase the savings if you want).
How Low Flow Fixtures Work
The goal of a low flow fixture is to reduce water used without sacrificing the benefits you’re used to (e.g. high pressure shower heads). To do this, multiple technologies have been developed that reduce the amount of water throughout your home or at the fixture itself. In short, different fixtures use a combination of stream control, aeration, pressure adjustment, or simply giving a water flow rate option for each use.
Laminar-Flow Faucets – Rather than increasing the pressure with a more powerful pump (increasing the amount of water used per second), laminar-flow faucets adjust the shape of the water stream to maintain pressure with less water. For shower heads, this usually means a pressure of 80 pounds per square inch with a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or less. Laminar flow systems leave you with a clear stream of 100% water.
Aeration Systems – You can also maintain the pressure in a line while using less water by replacing it with air. Aeration systems either use a sprayer or air pressurizer to add air into your water line. This is done either by fixture design (at the fixture) or in a pressure manifold before water is pushed out to faucets. By adding air into the line, the pressure level is maintained with less water flowing out.
Half-flush Toilets – For waste disposal, these toilets have two different options. Liquid waste requires easily half the water of a traditional flush toilet, so half-flush toilets use two options. The first uses less water for liquid waste while the full-flush option deals with solid waste. Throughout the day, less water is used without any drastic change in flow rate.
Pressure Assisted Toilet – Most toilets use some form of pressure to clear the bowl. This buildup of pressure requires extra water. Low flow toilets use pressurized air instead. It’s a trade off because the pressurization is very noisy, but they use roughly 45% less water than a traditional toilet. For many the trade-off is worth it.
Gravity Assisted Toilets – As an alternative, gravity flush toilets simply use gravity to aid in flushing. Their much quieter but require some initial pumping to get the potential energy necessary for a full flush. Either way, both pressure assisted and gravity assisted toilets are more efficient than traditional toilets.
Most of these options require a professional plumber to install, but they typically reach a full return on the investment within a year. If you don’t like the bill you’ve been receiving on your water bill, try upgrading to low flow fixtures.
If you need any assistance with installation or repair of low flow fixtures (or any plumbing fixture or appliance), don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Boulden Brothers plumbing!
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