Did you know how much water you’re losing from a leaky faucet? A slow leak – about one drop every two seconds – wastes three gallons a day. That’s the equivalent of taking an extra twenty-seven baths every year. Worse – a leaky toilet can lose about twenty two gallons a day! It’s the little stuff that counts when it comes to reducing waste. However, it’s also hard to convince ourselves to deal with this kind of little stuff. It’s time to start looking into the places where our homes create waste and deal with it. You’ll save money and have a much lower environmental impact.
Start by fixing those leaks, and then take a look at other options, too. If you have air leaks in your home (around windows and doors, in the attic, or in other areas), you’re losing heat in the winter and gaining it in the summer. That causes your energy bills to rise and more fuel to be used, no matter how you heat and cool your home. Take a look at your options for sealing those windows, doors, and other leaks. You’ll save a lot of money and energy just by making a small change.
Pay attention to your habits, too. We all know not to stand with the refrigerator door open, but many of us leave our television receivers or computers on constantly. While a computer uses less power in “sleep” mode, it’s still drawing electricity. Turning it off will make a small, but noticeable, difference in your power bill. Don’t believe the nonsense about appliances using more power to start up than to run, either. That hasn’t been true for decades, if it ever was. Even the most efficient appliances and electronic devices use less energy when they’re off.
Don’t forget about phantom loads, either. Many devices have features that allow them to start up more quickly. However, this also requires them to draw power. When you’ve turned your television off, do you still see a light on? That means it’s using electricity to remain partially on, so it won’t take as long to be ready for use. If you care about waste, unplug the television when it’s not in use. It really does make a difference.
If the time’s come for you to buy new electronic equipment, fixtures, or appliances, pay attention to their labels. We’re probably all familiar with Energy Star appliances, computers, and similar devices. However, you should do more than just look for the logo. Try to find out the numbers on how much power the device really uses, and plan accordingly.
Likewise, check out the EPA’s WaterSense labeling for products and services. Plumbing equipment with this label must use less water than usual. For instance, the WaterSense label on a toilet means it uses twenty percent less than the standard models do. You’ll find low flow faucets and shower heads, and you don’t need to avoid them for fear of low performance. Water saving fixtures has come a long way since the early days, and can now measure up to their water hogging cousins.
A combination of replacing old energy and water hogs with more efficient devices and making simple changes and repairs could make your entire life a lot easier on the environment. The little stuff really does count, and you’ll notice a difference in your bills and in your environmental footprint. So get out there and fix that leak.
Photo by: Oleksii Sergieiev -