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Thu, March 21

Ask the Contractor: ‘Instant hot water’ saves water and money

Faucets dripping at 60 drips per minute equals 192 gallons per month or 2,304 gallons per year. Faucets dripping at 90 drips per minute equals 310 gallons per month or 3,702 gallons per year. (MetroPraphics)

Faucets dripping at 60 drips per minute equals 192 gallons per month or 2,304 gallons per year. Faucets dripping at 90 drips per minute equals 310 gallons per month or 3,702 gallons per year. (MetroPraphics)

Gosh, my heart is so proud, and our organization is so honored for the readers and supporters of our column. I would have never thought our article last week on water conservation would generate the calls and e-mails that it did. It was totally awe-inspiring to hear from many of you with comments and information.

Here is an e-mail from Pete and Terry about “instant hot water” that I am passing along to you.

Hi, Sandy, I read your April 27 column with great interest on new technology for conserving water.

We had a home built in 2006 on the west side of Prescott and had a hot water recycling system installed. We recently moved to a home that was built in 2001 that didn’t have the system. We wasted a lot of water running the faucets to get hot water to the sinks.

I found that Watts ( (800 752-5582) has a product that used existing water lines to circulate the hot water.

We had this installed in our home, and now we have hot water at all faucets in the home all the time when the pump is running.

There is a significant loss of water in older homes without hot water recycling systems, and if home owners installed these kits there would be a significant water savings that will extend our water use for many years. Maybe you would like to cover this product in one of your columns.

To Pete and Terry, Thanks for your e-mail and I will certainly write a column on “instant hot water” systems.

I have one in my home and I love it. The minute the faucet is turned to hot in the kitchen, baths and the washing machine it is hot.

Let me clarify, my water heater is on a timer and anytime from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., every day, and then from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. very day it is instant hot water time.

Should I elect to use hot water outside of those hours, the faucet runs for a brief fleeting period of time for hot water to appear. I will say there is nothing like instant hot water.

Three additional readers called in and asked for more information on toilets and water issue. So my question to you: Have you checked for leaks?

Each of us typically uses about 29,000 – 36,000 gallons of water a year on indoor usage, not counting sprinklers, pools, spas and car washing.

As we briefly discussed last week, there are some relatively easy water-saving tips that can make a big difference in your bill. Installing low-flow showerheads, installing aerators on faucets and installing low-flow toilets can make a big difference in water consumption.

The largest household water guzzlers are toilets. A toilet takes up to half of the household water supply.

A toilet that “continues running” after you flush or a sink that drips after it is turned off will waste thousands of gallons of water a year. And if the drip is hot water, you are paying for energy too. Leaky pipes and drips when undetected waste thousands of gallons of water and result in higher monthly water bills. Dripping faucets and running toilets are pretty easy to detect. Underground leaks are invisible but can literally wash away the structural integrity of your home. Here are 5 steps to detecting a water leak.

1) Locate your water meter

2) Turn off all indoor and outdoor water-using devices including evap coolers, water softeners and icemaker

3) Record the reading from your water meter

4) Wait 30 minutes and read and record the water meter again

5) If you have a different reading, there is a water leak

If the water meter test indicates a possible leak, being your search with the toilet. To check the toilet, put 10-15 drops of food dye into the tank. After 10-15 minutes, check the bowl for color. If there is color in your bowl,. Your toilet is leaking. The most likely culprit is the “flapper”.

The flapper is what keeps water in the tank from flowing into the bowl. Make sure the flapper fits properly on the valve seat. It should fall straight onto the valve seat. A “worn” flapper won’t seal properly either. To replace the flapper, turn off the valve and flush the toilet to drain the tank. Clean the seal and follow instructions for installation of the new flapper. Now run the dye test again. Approximately 90% of the leaks in a home are due to the toilet flapper. Tablet-type cleaning products placed in the tank can shorten the life of the flapper considerably.

Dripping faucets are not only a nuisance, they are a waste of precious water. Likely the problem is from the on and off handles or loose fittings or a worn washer. Standard stem faucets with separate handles for hot and cold water use flat washers with a hole in the middle for a washer screw. Replacing a washer is easy and require the use of a wrench, screwdriver and of course a new washer.

Faucets dripping at 60 drips per minute equals 192 gallons per month or 2,304 gallons per year.

Faucets dripping at 90 drips per minute equals 310 gallons per month or 3,702 gallons per year.

Using a water-saving showerhead and installing faucet aerators will save more water by creating a more forceful spray and installing these devices will save a typical family of four up to 47,000 gallons of water per year. The smallest, minimal and little token water leaks in your home add up quickly to gallons of wasted water and potentially hundreds of dollars per year on your water bill. Leaks are not always obvious and can go a long time before being noticed.

Remember if we don’t learn to conserve, we’ll all be fish out of water.


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