How to Minimize Water Loss in Your Home

by James Florence

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There are several measures you can take to cut down on the gallons lost while waiting for hot water. Photo: Water Heaters Masters (2014)

Some of the most substantial water wastage in the home occurs while waiting for hot water to reach a sink or shower. Researchers estimate that in an average single-family household, 5 to 10 gallons of water go down the drain in this manner on a daily basis—a figure that has implications for both water conservation and water bills.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce water loss in your home. One way is to install an ancillary device to improve the efficiency of your hot water delivery system. A recirculation pump, for example, keeps hot water flowing throughout the home’s plumbing system on a continuous loop, making it available with almost no delay. However, while a recirculation pump can help conserve water, it can also increase your energy bills due to the constant pumping required. This energy usage can be curbed by utilizing a timer that limits the timeframe of recirculation, but an even better solution is to install an on-demand recirculation pump. Activated by either a button or a motion sensor, an on-demand circulator pulls hot water from the heater through one pipe while sending the sitting cold water back to the heater through an alternate route.

Another way to augment your hot water delivery system and save money is to upgrade your piping. Converting wide, metallic water pipes to smaller, plastic ones will cut down on water waste (though building codes may factor in), while adding insulation to your pipes will help water retain hot temperatures for longer intervals.