What is a plumbing makeover? When we hear makeovers, we think about someone’s hairstyle, makeup, or clothes. Other transformations are considered makeovers, such as transforming or remodeling a house. I got inspired by an article I read about “going green” (to be environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible) that moved me to consider the concept of a plumbing makeover. We’ve long been advocates about going green for years. At Big B’s Plumbing, our definition of going green is reducing water consumption by adding low-flow fixtures, faucets, and appliances, whenever possible. As a company, we try to check all the boxes when it comes to being environmentally friendly that includes consulting with our customers on the latest green plumbing technologies. When considering a plumbing makeover, we wanted to consider the following:
- It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it is affordable to almost every homeowner.
- Every product recommendation either has met or exceeded showerhead recommended standards.
- Every product has the WaterSense label.
- The product performs as well or better than the water-guzzling counterpart.
Unlike our family’s vehicles, which get regular oil changes and tune-ups, our home doesn’t receive the same attention. This plumbing makeover focuses on your fixtures, faucets, showerheads, toilets, and appliances. That may also include replacing your water heater if it exceeds ten years old.
California Is The Topic Of Water Conservation
If you live in California, water conservation is a hot topic. While most of the blame usually points to water waste or even climate change, we neglect to hear about the extra 20 million people that have made California their home over the past 50 years. According to USGS.gov, the average person uses 80-100 gallons of water per day. It doesn’t take long for someone to do the math to learn that our water problem is caused by more than water waste and climate change. We can change those things “we can change” to make our environment a better place to live.
A Plumbing Makeover Makes Complete Sense
If you’re like most of us, you’ll wait until something gets clogged or breaks before we do anything about it. Of course, you never want to do something for the sake of doing it, but a plumbing makeover makes complete sense if your home has not seen any improvements for several years. For example, our old toilets used 3.5, 5, and in some cases, 7 gallons per flush (GPF). The new toilets use 1.6 GPF, and high-efficiency toilets use 1.28 GPF. Based on five flushes a day per person, the average household of four can save 12,000 gallons of water per year or more.
Time To Replace Our Old Toilets
If you have a toilet manufactured before 1992, it needs replacing. In 1992, the federal maximum for a 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF) toilet was signed into law by then-president George W. Bush. It took some time for makers to develop a toilet that would match the flushing power of its previous 3.5 GPF equivalent. But over the years, new toilet designs have exceeded the previous designs giving new toilets the flushing power homeowners desire. Additionally, new developments have exceeded expectations even further by producing toilets that use 1.28 GPF. Dual flush toilets have reduced that amount even further to 1.1 GPF for liquid waste and 1.28 GPF for solid waste. The icing on the cake is a new quality dual flush toilet you can purchase for less than two hundred fifty dollars.
Faucets and Showerheads
New faucets and showerheads are nice, and the new standard is 2.0 gallons per minute (GPM) in California (soon to be 1.8 GPM). Unlike toilets where you flush and walk away, faucets require us to create new habits for washing, shaving, and brushing teeth if we’re to see the real water-saving benefits. Our faucets are another affordable product for your bathroom and kitchen when completing your plumbing makeover.
Showerheads Can Make A Big Difference
The standard for showerheads is 2.5 GPF. If you want to earn the WaterSense label, your showerhead must demonstrate that it can use 2.0 GPM. Showerheads are similar to faucets and require new habits to save, such as shorter shower times. The latest showerheads will not give up performance while using significantly less water.
Replace Old Appliances
A plumbing makeover shouldn’t cost much, but it must be stated that if you have an old poor performing water heater, you need to replace it. New water heaters can save as much as 24-34% in energy costs over water heaters built ten years ago. In addition, they require less maintenance and will perform much better than the older heaters. Energy.com has excellent information on how to choose the right water heater.
Checklist For A Plumbing Makeover
- Toilets must meet or exceed 1.6 GPF.
- Consider replacing your water heater if over ten years old.
- Check all faucets and for leaks.
- Replace old faucets with WaterSense® labeled faucets.
- Change showerheads to water-efficient heads.
- Change faucet aerators to ones that use one gallon per minute.
While you can upgrade most faucets, fixtures, showerheads, and toilets to the latest low-flow products with a small investment, there are those same products with new smart technologies that cost much more. These products will raise the bar for any bathroom or kitchen, and the cost of these products will escalate. Set a budget and explore all the new products out in the plumbing marketplace.