With environmental concerns becoming a major issue in this country, many people wish to “do their part” in water conservation and other “green” issues. But does installing water saving devices really have an effect on the environment? Advertisers are constantly telling consumers that not only do water saving devices help conserve water, they will also save the consumer money by lowering their energy bills. But is that really true? Here is a breakdown of some common water saving devices and whether or not they live up to their advertised expectations.
Low flow showerheads are commonly touted as the first step towards a water conserving house. In the past a low flow head simply meant that the water was constricted and therefore trickled out. Manufacturers have improved the current designs however and many now combine air with the water to keep the pressure higher and make it seem as though you are getting your typical amount of water. The standard showerhead uses an average of five to eight gallons per minute. A shower head that just meets Federal requirements for conservation drops that average to two and a half gallons per minute. That means for a normal ten minute shower you are saving fifty-five gallons with a low flow showerhead. Clearly a “green” shower head does conserve water, but does it save you money? The annual water cost for a regular shower head averages from $50 to over $100 depending on how much your water rate is. The annual savings from a low flow shower head? $20 to $60. Low flow showerheads come in many different price ranges, but you can find good models in the $25 range. Clearly water conserving showerheads are not only good for conserving water, but also for saving you money.
A typical toilet uses around four gallons of water every time you flush compared with a low flow model which uses only 1.6 gallons. So how much water does that mean you’ll save? Since toilets use an estimated 27% of household water you’ll save an average of 76 gallons a day with the lower flow toilet. So you’ll conserve a lot of water. But what about the cost? Are low flow toilets really worth it? The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average homeowner will save $90 a year on water costs by switching to a low flow toilet. Some localities encourage homeowners to make the switch by providing tax breaks, vouchers, or rebates as well. “The city of Austin, Texas, for example, gives residents up to three HETs for free, though there is a modest fee for certain design features, such as an elongated bowl or a seat that meets the ADA-required height of 17 inches.” Because they use such a high percentage of a family’s overall water, water conserving toilets are the way to go green.
Yes, water saving-devices do save you money! How much money? It depends on what systems you install and how much water you use. Low flow shower heads and water-saving toilet systems are an excellent way to start your water conservation efforts. These two facilities are used daily and a substantial water saving can be made if installed in a large household or hotel. Water Rhapsody’s Multi-Flush system replaces the flushing mechanism in your toilet. This system only flushes for as long as you hold the flushing handle down; when you release it, the flushing stops. This means that you use the least amount of water to clear the pan. Savings on your water bill could exceed 20% or more. The advantage of the Multi-Flush over other low-flow & dual-flush toilet systems is that the flushing is totally user controlled. Other low-flow toilet mechanisms only give you two choices: full flush or half flush. On these systems, often the full flush button is pressed by mistake, thereby wasting water. In some cases, a full flush from a low-flow toilet doesn’t clear the pan (because of the small cistern)- this can be an inconvenience. None of these problems affect the Multi-Flush which is easily retrofitted to existing toilets. Once you start with small water saving devices, you will become more aware of the amount of water that is wasted. Water Rhapsody can further enhance your water conservation efforts by offering rainwater harvesting systems, water tank installations, grey water recycling (2 types: one for greywater landscape irrigation and one for flushing toilets) and a swimming pool backwash recycling system. A household that has all the above water systems installed will enjoy substantial water savings and savings on the municipal water bill. A level of water self-sufficiency can be obtained, especially if you install rainwater tanks. Apart from the environmental benefits and monetary savings, our water systems are already becoming almost mandatory in many parts of South Africa. Water is becoming scarcer and no amount of money can buy water that isn’t there! Water preparedness is and will become are far more important issue. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact us now for a free, no obligations quote!