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Being forced to shelter in place has changed many people’s lives in many ways. From your local plumber to nurses to teachers to retail workers to children, everyone in Granbury, TX has had their life affected in some way or another. For most people, this means staying at home, which is a larger challenge in more ways than one. Loss of income, boredom, education, and access to resources are just some of the many problems that people staying at home are facing. Another might be rising utility bills.
As any plumber will tell you, the more you use your plumbing system the more strain it will be under. The more water it will also consume, which means that you might be spending more at home all day. Before the crisis, most people spent a good majority of the day outside of the home. This means that half of your total water consumption probably happened outside of your home, and someone else was paying for it. Now that you are home, you have a much higher consumption of all of your utilities, and those costs can easily start to overwhelm you if you are not careful.
How Can I Minimize My Utility Bills?
To start, you need to be cognizant of all of the extra ways that you are consuming energy. For instance, if you are generally at work all day and the children are at school, then you probably consume little electricity during the day. Now that you are home you are probably more apt to charge devices, turn on the lights and fans, turn up the heater or A/C, and use the toilet. Every single flush is an additional gallon of water that your household does not generally consume. Every time you wash your hands is more water. Toss in additional loads of dishes because you are only eating at home or additional loads of laundry and you can see how your water consumption is quickly increasing.
Short term this may not be a huge problem, but long term the extra use can strain plumbing systems that are older or in need of repair. You may not even realize that there is something wrong with your plumbing, but the extra use may result in a call to the plumber sooner than later. It doesn’t look like restrictions will be lifted for a while, or if they are slightly lifted most people will still be spending most of their time at home.
With this in mind, if you need to reduce your expenses to make it through this tough period in time it may be helpful to start cutting back on your utility needs. Luckily, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. It also may result in keeping away the plumber a bit longer since your water use will return to previous levels. Anything you can do to take the strain off your system is always a good start.
Before starting on a list of what you can do, be aware that if you notice any issues with your plumbing you should not hesitate about calling a plumber in Granbury, TX. While it can be tempting to put it off, small plumbing issues can quickly turn into emergencies and emergencies can be much more costly. No one wants to find themselves in a position of needing a plumber right now, but it is always better to call a plumber while a situation is controllable then to be stuck calling a plumber out of desperation.
That said, here are a few things that you can start doing now to lower your overall utility bills. Making a few changes to the way you do everyday things can be all it takes to get your utility bills under control. As a bonus, if you develop these good habits while sheltering in place your family can keep practicing them once things return to normal. Everyone can appreciate good energy use habits and saving money regardless of the current environment.
Minimize Your Toilet Use
First of all, recognize that you need to watch your toilet usage. While you cannot control your own bodily habits, you can control how much you flush the toilet. Some people who practice energy consumption habits don’t flush unless there are solid wastes in the toilet. In other words, you can allow urine to sit in the pot for a bit in between bathroom visits.
In practice, this is not a terrible idea so long as you don’t have pets or children playing in the toilet (which is admittedly gross anyhow but still something to consider), but from a plumber’s perspective, there are a few things to consider. If you plan on doing this you need to keep an eye on the amount of toilet that accumulates in the bowl. Skipping a flush every other use is not a bad idea, but any more and you could get in trouble. Toilets are not designed to handle massive amounts of toilet paper at one time. If you allow it to build up while skipping flushes you could be setting yourself up for a clog.
At this point, you will end up needing a plumber which will quickly erase any money you saved on water consumption. Homes with adults who can be mindful of toilet paper usage and flushing may be a better candidate for this trick than homes with small children. Plus, children are generally heavy users of toilet paper from the start. Instead of worrying about flushing, it may be a good idea to talk to them about proper usage of toilet paper to help save yourself from a clog in the first place since now they are home all day using your toilet(s).
Practice Good Bathroom Habits
Speaking of good bathroom habits, this is a good time to be reminded that only toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. There is a national toilet paper shortage at the moment, and that can prompt some people to flush paper down the toilet they otherwise wouldn’t, but if you don’t want to see a plumber then you need to resist. It is inconvenient to have to place your paper wastes outside of the toilet, but it is even more inconvenient to call and seek help from a plumber in Granbury, TX during a shelter in place order.
Our plumbers are essential and are happy to come to help our customers, but we know that you would prefer not to see us. The general rule of thumb any plumber will repeat is do not flush anything down the toilet that is not toilet paper. Regardless of how thin or soft it appears, only toilet paper should go down the drain. This goes for flushable wipes too which are deceiving because of their marketing but just as dangerous for your pipes. Anything else can and will eventually lead to a clog that can cause flood damage and a major pain for you and a plumber to sort out. We know it’s hard but just hang in there.
Turn Off the Sink While Washing Your Hands
Another great way to reduce your water consumption is by turning off the sink when you wash your hands. These days almost everyone in every household is washing their hands at a greater frequency. This means that you are consuming a fair amount of water every single time you wash your hands. The average sink uses 1-3 gallons of water if you wash your hands for one minute. The recommendation for washing hands is at least 20 seconds, so if you wash your hands at least three times a day you are using an extra 1-3 gallons of water. Most people wash their hands much more than three times, and you have to multiply this figure by how many people live in a home.
You can eliminate a lot of this waste by simply turning off the faucet while you wash your hands. You really only need a second or two of water to wet your hands and then maybe five seconds to rinse them afterward. This allows you to cut out a significant portion of your water use. Just remember to use your elbow to nudge the sink handle on and off so that you don’t have to wash the handle once you finish washing your hands. Staying safe is paramount, but it doesn’t hurt to be smart about your water use while washing.
If you aren’t already doing it, you also should remember to turn the water off while brushing your teeth. It is recommended that kids and adults brush their teeth for at least two minutes a day. This equates to 2-6 gallons of water use a day if you don’t turn the sink off while brushing. In a house of four people, that is a large potential for water waste that can quickly be reduced.
Don’t Be Afraid to Open Your Windows
The stay at home orders have left a lot of people afraid of the outdoors, but there is actually no need to be. Both the CDC and the government have recommended opening the windows in your home. Circulating the air in your home and keeping it fresh is the best way to keep it from becoming stagnant and full of undesirable bacteria and germs. Plus, fresh air can help lighten your mood.
Texas is Texas, so even though it is spring you may be running your A/C in Granbury, Texas, but the mornings and evenings are still cool. Give your HVAC system a break and open your windows when temperatures cool off. Once again, you will probably find the fresh air rejuvenating and your electricity bill will drop as a result which will no doubt be refreshing to see.
Inspect Your House for Leaks
Finally, now that you are home with some spare time on your hands it is a good idea to inspect your plumbing system for leaks. This is a good idea for everyone whether or not you have had a Granbury, TX plumber in to look at your plumbing system lately. No one wants to go looking for problems, but being proactive about plumbing issues can save you a lot of time and money down the road.
A dripping faucet is estimated to waste about 138 gallons of water a year, and you are the one footing the bill for all that water waste. If a dripping faucet costs this much, think about how much a fracture in a pipe could cost you, or a showerhead that is leaking. Every plumbing leak is worth inspection, whether it is something you would call a plumber to fix or something that you can handle on your own. One of the best things you can do for your personal finances while sheltering in place is looking for cost-effective fixes. The quicker you call a plumber to make these repairs the more you will end up saving in the long run.
Just like sheltering in place is going to be a long term effort, your plumbing system and habits have long-term effects. If you spot any areas of concern then you should give a Granbury, TX plumber a call. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Fort Worth- Granbury, TX is home to a group of family-orientated plumbers who are happy to come out and take a look at any plumbing issues you may discover during these trying times.
We are considered essential workers and want to make sure that we keep your plumbing system working properly so that you can safely shelter in place in your home. If you have any plumbing questions or need to schedule a visit give us a call so we can help restore your peace of mind.