10 Fun Facts About Plumbing

10 Fun Facts About Plumbing

Leaking Faucets and Pipes Pay Off

Leaking faucets may add up to a lot of wasted water in many areas, where the price per gallon is higher than in other places.

It’s a Dirty Job, But Someone Has to do it.

There are an estimated 240,000 residential plumbing repair or renovation companies in the United States. One of the most common calls to plumbers is clogged drains and toilets. However, no one area causes more problems than anywhere else in the house, with issues being roughly evenly distributed throughout.

10 Fun Facts about Plumbing

The first known use of drainage pipes was from the Minoan civilization over 3,000 years ago. They created a closed system of water channels under their palaces to carry wastewater and snowmelt far away from the buildings. They were designed and built by hand from ceramic (clay) pipes and consisted of a central “street” and smaller intersecting private drains that fed into it. The first plumber known by name was likely to design this system: Exekias, an Athenian potter by trade.

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

In a single day, a typical toilet is flushed about 30 times. The average American uses approximately 80 to 100 gallons of water every day. If you’re average, those 100 gallons are used by taking a shower (~20 gallons per minute), doing the dishes (up to 2.5 gallons per load), flushing the toilet (1.6-gallon flush), and running the faucet (~2.5 gallons per minute). That means that a leaky toilet, which can waste up to 200 gallons per day, or a dripping faucet, which wastes about 2.5 gallons per day, would be responsible for 3% of your daily water usage. If you replaced just those appliances with high-efficiency models, you might save more than 450,000 gallons of water in one year alone or image enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

It’s the Water Silly

The water used for each flush in a modern low-volume toilet is 1.5 gallons or less. This means that you could flush about 50 times in one day and use only 7 gallons of water to accomplish it. A traditional toilet can use anywhere from 3 to 5 gallons per flush. If you were to replace just the low-volume toilets in your house with older models, you could save more than 20,000 gallons of water in a year.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

On average, Americans use nearly 70 gallons of water per day at home for all purposes. Outdoors, we use about 50% more. However, most people are unaware that they’re using over twice as much water outside the home than inside! The two biggest culprits are lawn and garden watering, accounting for roughly one-third of all outdoor water use. If you replaced just one-quarter of your grass with native vegetation, you might reduce your outdoor water usage by up to 30%.

It’s Not Just the Big Guys

For all you DIYers, your toilet is probably not one of the biggest water wasters in your home. The showerhead typically accounts for about 2/3 of a household’s entire hot water usage! If everyone installed low-flow showerheads, we could save more than 1.2 trillion gallons of water each year.

Water: It Does a Body Good

Of all the water used in the home, the most significant percentage (about 40%) goes towards outdoor irrigation.

So, outdoor irrigation can account for as much as half of all residential water use, which is particularly alarming given that nearly 70% of outdoor water use comes from evaporation. Not only does watering lawns with potable drinking water waste a valuable resource, but the amount of electricity required to pump and treat that water releases about 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere every year.

It’s Not Your Imagination: The Water Pressure is Low

Low water pressure isn’t just annoying, and it’s also incredibly wasteful. The average faucet flows at about 2 gallons per minute, which means that if your shower head has low water pressure and you take a 10-minute shower, you’ve wasted almost 20 gallons of water!

“It’s a Dry Heat” is a Lie

While many people assume that its hot weather leads to increased water consumption, studies have shown that it is the opposite. Hot climates lead to increased air conditioning usage, accounting for 50% of all households’ indoor water consumption! The good news is that you could save about 2,000 gallons of water per year by installing a programmable thermostat. The even better information is that by simply turning down your air conditioning a few degrees, you could reduce your usage by 10-20%!