Water Saving Plumbing Fixtures For Your Home
If you’re looking to save water – and some money – have you considered upgrading your plumbing fixtures? Simple upgrades to tapware and household appliances can go a long way to reducing your environmental impact and water bills.
Modern fixtures also provide plenty of long term benefits when paired with responsible water usage habits, too. This is especially true for larger households with high water demands.
There’s truly no time like the present for change. These are the water saving plumbing fixtures you should introduce into your home.
Get to Know the WELS Ratings
Australia regulates water usage via the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme. In accordance with AS/NZS 6400, the WELS Regulator overlooks the scheme ensuring that relevant products are registered with the Government. They must be compliant and labelled correctly.
Each WELS label has 6 stars, showing just how water efficient each product is. For those unfamiliar with the label, more stars equates to increased efficiency. You want to aim for at least 4 stars with your relevant fixture or appliance.
The ratings will depend on the product. For example, shower heads and taps are rated on litres of water used per minute. Dishwashers and washing machines are rated on how many litres are used per cycle.
Ratings are a great comparison tool. The labels present information about water usage clearly. Alongside the appropriate product research, WELS ratings mean every Australian can make informed decisions.
Low-Flow Shower Heads
For a quick and easy introduction to water efficient plumbing fixtures, say hello to low flow shower heads.
The average shower head holds a WELS 3 star rating, using 9 litres of water per minute. You can reduce that further with 4 star options delivering between 6 to 7.5 litres. There are savings of at least 10 litres per shower for a quickfire 4 minute wash. Water savings will only increase for busy families or larger households.
Quality isn’t compromised, either. Modern low flow showerheads still deliver high pressure jets of water. There’s no slow trickle because the flow rate is lower. Added bonuses like handheld nozzles provide even more accessible and enjoyable showering options.
Water Efficient Toilets
If you have a new home, chances are you already have a high efficiency toilet. Low flow toilets are a simple way to save water, one flush at a time. However, if your home’s a little older, chances are installing new water saving fixtures like a WELS 4-star dual flush toilet suite will help.
The average low flow toilet uses 4.5 litres for a full flush and 3 litres of water for a half flush. Modern designs mean water comes out at a higher pressure than many traditional toilets.
You can also save time cleaning. By installing low flow, or even ultra low flow toilets, you can upgrade to rimless back-to-wall toilet suites. They remove pesky nooks and crannies that always collect dust and grime.
Additionally, another handy way to save water is by connecting your toilet to the rainwater system. Rainwater is safe to use for toilets, helping conserve water around the home.
Pressure Limiting Valves
Water pressure doesn’t always have a direct correlation with water usage. However, you do want a balanced water flow, otherwise damage could occur to your plumbing.
Pressure limiting valves (PLV) are the perfect solution for homes with high water pressure. In Australia, household water pressure should never exceed 500 kPa, and on average it’s between 300-400 kPa.
Unfortunately many older homes have unregulated water pressure causing issues such as water hammer, leaking or burst pipes, and accelerated wear and tear on fixtures.
A professional plumber is required for PLV installation and can perform all necessary water pressure tests.
Water Efficient Tap Fittings
Low flow fixtures like mixer taps are an easy switch for any wet room within the house. You get to say goodbye to traditional fixtures that feel a touch chaotic with the water delivery.
Instead, you have controlled tapware delivering a strong flow of water with consistent pressure. Mixer taps can even provide aerated water perfect for handwashing.
There are WELS 4 or 5 star rated low flow mixer taps providing 7.5 or 6 litres of water per minute. They also offer accurate temperature control. With only one handle to worry about, there’s no flicking between hot and cold taps.
And if a certain style doesn’t suit your needs there are dozens on the market. Gooseneck, pull down, coiled, curved or angled, there’s a mixer tap for any wet room.
Front Loader Washing Machines
It’s not just a plumbing fixture like a tap that can help you save water. Your appliances can make a big difference with water conservation. On average, front loaders are the most efficient washing machine due to larger capacities and reduced water consumption.
However, those considerations vary depending on the size of the washing machine you’re after. So be sure to compare the relevant ratings and capacities for balanced decision making.
Many ratings will also vary depending on the cycle. The information on the label could be related to an eco wash, and therefore is different from longer cycles needed for extra dirty sports uniforms.
Regardless of the washing machine you have, also consider your washing habits. Wait for a full load to ensure maximum water conservation occurs. It’s better to have a full load than several half loads.
Out of all the appliances, dishwashers tend to be a little trickier when it comes to efficiency. The publicised ratings can be slightly deceptive as they’re based on eco washes that aren’t always the default setting.
Still, a modern dishwasher utilises about 15 litres of water per cycle. That’s compared to an average of 10.5 litres for hand washing. Although that seems to favour hand washing on paper, just consider how much is washed each time.
A full dishwasher load contains far more dishes than the average hand wash. It also heats up water independently of your hot water supply. So if you wash the dishes multiple times a day, the litres quickly add up.
Instead, save energy and water with full loads in an economical dishwasher. The time and effort saved is matched by ongoing water conservation!
Smart Irrigation Systems
High efficiency plumbing fixtures don’t have to be limited to inside the home. Look at your irrigation, sprinklers and garden hoses, too.
Many experienced gardeners know there’s always a focus on precision for watering. Never too much, never too little. From the lawn to fruits and vegetables, everything has unique requirements.
But if you’re a little more casual, the best option could be upgrading to a smart irrigation system. Smart technology connects sprinkler systems and driplines to sensors and smart controllers. You can take your gardening to the next level all while regulating water usage.
There’s no better way to save. You also won’t have to worry about standing outside for ages in the heat watering your garden.
Published: 25 Jul, 2022