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Is it Important to Track How Much Water Your Household Consumes?

A shower head with water flowing out - Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing

Do you track water usage in your Cincinnati home? Within the average household, water is used in many applications throughout a single day, and most of us don’t think much of it. However, if you are not monitoring how water is consumed at home, you could be vulnerable to more than just water waste.

When you track water usage amongst your family, you become more aware of how you use it and ways you are able to reduce consumption. Monitoring shows the consumption of water you are aware of, as well as water you didn’t know you used – which is incredibly important to your home, and we’ll share why.

To help you get started and monitor your consumption, Thomas & Galbraith share the different benefits your household gains when you track water usage. Our plumbers also explain the methods available that help you do so. The data you collect when you track water usage may lead to the need for a plumber – we are ready to help you solve your water use issues, so give us a call!

Benefits of Monitoring Household Water Consumption

Cincinnati area residents are fortunate our area has an ample supply of safe and clean water for our consumption, as this is not the case everywhere in the world. Even so, we don’t want to consume in excess of what we need, as waste on our end uses up a resource others don’t even have access to, limits the amount available that plants and wildlife need for survival, and contributes to long-term water scarcity – water waste is bad for people and the planet, as a whole. On a personal level that impacts you directly, wasted water means wasted money, as your water bill increases yet you see no benefit.

U.S. families use more than 300 gallons at home each day (average volume of consumption for a 4-person household) – it probably does not feel like so much, but the many applications we use it in add up. Track water usage to obtain a clearer picture of where water goes and use this information to help the environment, protect and improve your home, and save money.

When you track water usage, the information you gain helps you:

  • Improve conservation efforts
  • Detect water leaks
  • Improve your plumbing system
  • Lower your utility expenses

Improve Conservation Efforts

Each person in the U.S. uses an average of around 88 gallons of water each day while at home. For a typical family of four, this amounts to more than 10,500 gallons of water consumed at home each month. Compare this number to the volume of water consumption on your water bill – do you use more or less, or is your consumption in line with the national average?

No matter where your usage falls, there is always room for improvement. Any efforts you make to conserve water in your home have a positive impact. Data gathered when you track water usage is helpful in identifying opportunities to decrease consumption throughout the day. Advanced water monitoring allows you to see where the most water is used and focus your efforts.

Detect Water Leaks

A high water is sometimes a Cincinnati homeowner’s first and only clue that there is a plumbing leak in the home! And when it comes to surprisingly high water bills, a leak is usually the cause. 

When we think of water leaks, we think of puddles and dripping water we are able to see, but this isn’t always the case. Lots of leaks go unnoticed because they are hidden, such as:

  • Leaks between the toilet tank and bowl
  • Leaks in outdoor spigots and irrigation systems
  • Leaks beneath the home’s foundation (slab leaks)

Hidden leaks have the ability to go undetected for quite some time because they don’t always cause visible damage right away – especially if you don’t track water usage. The longer they persist, the greater the chance and severity of water damage. It’s smart to track water usage for this purpose, as leaking water has the ability to ruin your belongings and cause thousands of dollars in damage.

If you open the water bill and it is higher than it has been in months past, check out your previous few statements. Your bill notes the total volume of water consumption – measured in gallons or CCF (centum cubic feet, 1 CCF equals 748 gallons) – find the volume of use during the period in question and compare that number to your usage in months past. 

If usage is higher than in the past, consider possible explanations. Some situations cause a legitimate increase in water consumption and are to blame for a high bill, such as:

  • Adding another person to your household
  • An older child returning home from college for the summer
  • Hosting guests for an extended period
  • Installing a new water-consuming appliance or fixture
  • Watering the lawn for the first time of the season
  • Planting and watering a garden
  • Filling a pool
  • Running a sprinkler for outdoor water play
  • Taking more baths and fewer showers

If a factor such as those mentioned cannot be attributed to your high water bill, signs point to a water leak in your home. Check around the home for leaks yourself and call your plumber if you are unable to locate the source of the leak.

Improve Plumbing System

If you haven’t updated your plumbing fixtures in recent years, you stand to save a significant volume of water by making upgrades. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 imposed federal maximum flow rates and flush volumes for various plumbing products which improved water efficiency. 

Many of today’s manufacturers have voluntarily improved upon these standards to offer plumbing products with even higher water efficiencies, which may qualify their products for the EPA’s voluntary WaterSense labeling program. WaterSense products are typically 20 percent or more water efficient versus similar products.

Since the passage of the Energy Policy Act, household water consumption has dropped significantly, yet more opportunities exist for conservation. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an additional 35 percent improvement in water efficiency can be made if the average household is fully equipped with today’s high water-efficient devices.

If your home is equipped with older toilets, showerheads, and sink faucets, there is ample opportunity to improve upon water consumption in your household by simply upgrading plumbing components. The water savings generated equals lower utility bills, which helps the new fixtures pay for themselves.

Lower Utility Expenses

Obviously, reducing water consumption lowers your water bill. Your water company bills you based on the amount of water you use, so it’s simple – use less, pay less. 

If your home has a private well, you don’t pay a water bill each month, but water usage does generate some costs to you. Your well pump consumes electricity to move water from the ground source to your home for use. Reducing water consumption also reduces the electricity used by the pump, saving you money on your electric bill.

How to Track Water Usage

When you track water usage, you obtain valuable data to assist in your water conservation efforts and lower your bills. Homeowners are able to estimate consumption by using their water bills, or products are available that provide advanced monitoring.

Estimating Water Consumption

Since your bill provides your home’s total volume of water consumption, it doesn’t tell you how the water was used. However, you are able to break this number down further and estimate water consumption for the different plumbing fixtures in your home. 

While not accurate numbers, these estimates do help you track water usage to specific applications. This is helpful as you explore changes that increase water conservation, such as new habits and upgrades to plumbing fixtures.

Water Monitoring Products

Water monitoring products record all the water used in your home. Fixture water monitors affix to the supply pipe that feeds water to the fixture and measure all water that flows through. Many of today’s water monitors are smart products that deliver data straight to an app.

Some water monitors are whole-home solutions that also include automatic shutoff valves. Their main goal is leak detection and preventing water damage – one of the ways they do so is they track water usage and monitor for spikes in consumption. 

The automatic shutoff valve allows the system to shut off the home’s water supply if a leak is suspected or detected by one of the system’s water monitors placed throughout the home. Many homeowners insurance providers offer discounts to customers who install such systems, as they safeguard against expensive water damage and prevent claims.

Save Water with Help from Thomas & Galbraith

Once you start to track water usage at home, the need (leak repair) or desire for (fixture upgrades) for plumbing help is likely to result. Thomas & Galbraith helps Cincinnati homeowners protect their homes and hit their water conservation goals through efficient products and reliable plumbing services. Whatever your plumbing needs, call Thomas & Galbraith for service you can trust.

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