Say you’re an environmentally-conscious homeowner. You feel great about helping the environment, and the big savings on your utility bills don’t hurt either. So what’s the next step? If you want to really go green, you might consider installing “recycling-ready” plumbing. What does it mean? your home will automatically reuse most of the water that goes down the drain for non-potable uses, like flushing the toilet.
How it Works:
Don’t worry! The system doesn’t send dirty toilet water back through the house. Instead, it takes water from your bathroom sinks, showers, and your washing machine. Water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher is too dirty to be recycled, so it goes directly out to the sewer. For the rest of it, the setup sends the gray water to a storage tank. This is where it gets treated chemically and particles and oils are filtered out. Of course, even with the treatment, you don’t want to drink the recycled water, so it gets diverted to the toilet and to outdoor hoses instead of back to the main house system.
Companies that install recycling systems claim that they capture two-thirds of gray water and reduce outgoing sewage by up to 66%. That translated to an immediate reduction in your water bill. Some systems even capture the heat from water going down the drain and send it back to the hot water heater, which will cut down on your electric or gas usage as well.
Bear in mind that recycle-ready plumbing does require maintenance. Such as adding chemicals to the treatment system and changing filters. Ask a plumbing professional about any potential issues or ongoing costs before making a decision.
What Else Can I Do?
Since it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit your current setup. If you want to conserve water but don’t have the money or capacity to have a system installed into your plumbing. You can still cut back following a few simple tips:
- Catch your shower water in a bucket and use it to water plants or flush the toilet.
- Don’t leave the faucets running when you’re doing the dishes or brushing your teeth.
- If you have a dishwasher, scrape food off the plates first instead of rinsing them.
- Install a low-flow showerhead and limit the time you spend in the shower.
- Consider a policy of flushing your toilet only when there’s solid waste.
- Use rain barrels to collect outdoor water from your roof and gutters.
Get in touch with Express Plumbing to learn more about water recycling systems and to get more tips on ways to conserve water.