Should You Switch to High Efficiency Fixtures?   

water-conserveThe cost of living life is going to continue to rise – trust us! We are always looking for ways to cut costs and one way to save money and help the environment as well is to switch out your plumbing fixtures to high efficiency fixtures.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says if all U.S. households installed water efficient fixtures and appliances, the country would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion dollars per year!

Low-flow fixtures are not new; they’ve been around for a long time, but now there are many ultra-low flow fixtures that can save you money while being very efficient.


Toilets are the biggest water user and waster in a home. If your toilet was installed before 1994, it probably uses over 1 ½ gallons per flush. Readily available on the market today is an ultra-low flush toilet that uses no more than about 1 ¼ gallons per flush.  Also, a dual-flush toilet uses a lower flush button for liquid waste and a high-flush button for solid waste.   dual-flush

If you’re not ready to swap out the throne yet, you can save water by placing a small water bottle, (filled with water, the cap on) in the toilet tank for water displacement. *Note: do not use a brick or any material that can break down sitting in water as it could easily clog up the works!

For the utmost in conservation, consider a composting toilet, which uses little
or no water for flushing.


Inefficient faucets (those that use more than 2 ½ gallons per minute) can be replaced with highaerator efficiency faucets that have a flow rate of no more than 1 ½ gallons per minute.  Another way to save water (& money) is to install a simple aerator or flow restrictor to your existing faucet.

Shower Heads:

20% of the average indoor household water use comes from the shower, especially if you love those long hot ones.  Many households have opted to upgrade to those drive-through car wash style showers or the big rain forest “plate” sized shower heads for a luxury shower; those can use as much as 20 gallons of water per minute! Not only are you using a lot of water, you are taxing your water heater and burning up electricity or gas! An energy saving option is to install an ultra-low-flow shower head, available when you schedule service from Firkus Plumbing or any plumbing supplier.

Washing Machines: 

The average American family washes about 300 loads of laundry a year.  (The average washing machine uses 23 gallons of water per load.) Soap manufacturers have improved their product, making better use with less soap, and washing machines have also become more efficient with options for less water use. (The newer machines use 15 gallons per high-efficeincy-washerload.)  If your washing machine was manufactured before 1998, you probably have an energy wasting machine. If you are not in a position to buy a new washer one tip to help you conserve is to make sure your load setting is appropriate for the amount of laundry you are washing. Many soaps can clean clothes with cold water as well as hot, thus saving on water heating costs. If you are purchasing a new washer, be sure to look for models carrying the Energy Star® logo.


Older dishwashers (made before 1994) will use between 10-15 gallons of water with every use.  Newer makes of dishwashers can come equipped with: soil sensors to adjust the water usage; improved water filtration systems allowing for efficient use of water to clean debris off dishes and provide an ultra-clean rinse and innovative dish rack designs, helping get the most advantage of the water spray.

To find out about getting cash or other incentives for switching to energy saving appliances or products, click here.

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