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Plumber Advice: Plumbing Strategies to Reduce Environmental Impact | Oak Ridge, TN

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Plumbing is not the first thing most people think of when they decide to be more environmentally conscious, but plumbers work with commercial and residential buildings and water. Water conservation and preventing pollution of water sources is one of the most important environmental issues of our time. Buildings, whether homes or businesses, account for nearly 40% of all energy use in Oak Ridge, TN, and the United States overall.

These factors make plumbing a frequently overlooked opportunity to lessen the impact of human constructions and behavior on the environment. Small changes can save on utility costs and cause less harm to natural environments. Other possible changes may require a larger commitment of time and resources, but they offer substantial long-term benefits.

Water Conservation Fixtures

Bathing accounts for the majority of water used by the average American per day. Taking short showers instead of baths reduces water use, but there are other options for people that do not want to give up longer showers. The simple act of replacing standard showerheads with low-flow fixtures reduces water use by hundreds of gallons each year for every person in a household. Rain-style heads are a type of shower fixture that uses less water pressure and spreads the flow over a wider area.

Faucets generally account for approximately 15% of a household’s indoor water use. A restricted flow faucet restricts water pressure by 30%. The pressure reduction does not inhibit or slow daily tasks such as brushing your teeth or washing your hands, but it reduces a family’s water use by up to 700 gallons per year.

Toilets made before 1993 use over 2 gallons of water more per flush than modern toilets. Dual flush toilet models improve water use even more by allowing a weaker pressurized flush for liquid waste and a more powerful flush for solid waste. Replacing old toilets may be the most effective way to cut down water use in your home. Dual flush toilet models are available for purchase, or homeowners can hire a plumber to modify some standard toilets to dual flush systems.

Insulated Pipes

A modern, energy efficient water heater saves energy and provides reliable hot water. Recirculation pumps let hot water reach faucets faster, so the water loses less heat during transport. These pumps also reduce the water wasted while waiting for it to warm up before a shower.

Insulated pipes also conserve energy by lessening the amount of heat lost while water travels to fixtures. Pipe insulators can reduce heat loss by up to 80%. Consult your local plumber to insulate the entire plumbing system in your home. An insulated plumbing system also reduces the amount of energy needed to heat houses and other structures.

Cured-In-Place Piping

Pipe repair used to be a very time and labor-intensive process. It took weeks and the home’s plumbing system was out of commission for most of that time. The installation process tore up driveways, sidewalks, floors, and lawns. Families had to deal with major disruptions in their daily lives.

Cured-in-place piping, or CIPP, is a fairly new type of piping in Oak Ridge, TN. It is much less disruptive and causes less environmental harm. Almost no digging is required for CIPP. It requires only one or two access holes and plumbers can repair breaks and leaks in the pipeline without tearing up a lawn or floor.

CIPP is constructed from felt tubing made of fiberglass cloth or polyester saturated in resin. The lines bonds with the original pipe and protects it from root intrusion, wear and tear, friction from stones and gravel, and other common causes of damage. It usually takes only a single day for a professional to complete repair or replacement work with CIPP.

Trenchless Sewer Installation

Construction of any kind often damages microclimates extensively in the environment around job sites. Trenchless sewer installation and rehabilitation is much less disruptive than standard sewer line installation. Plumbers can place trenchless sewers with minimal destruction of plant life in many cases. Trees, shrubs, hedges, or bushes that can be relocated are saved to re-plant after construction is finished. Dirt removed during installation is reused at the end of the project.

Knowledgeable plumbers, possibly with the help of other professionals, can also use landscaping to reduce water runoff and promote efficient drainage. Metal piping and fixtures removed from prior sewage infrastructure is recyclable. HDPE is very common in plumbing systems. It can be used for adjustments in pipes during new installations or recycled at appropriate facilities.

Pipe Bursting

Trenchless sewer lines are placed with pipe bursting or pipe lining technologies. Pipe bursting involves a machine that tears existing pipes apart while placing new pipes. Two access holes are created as well. One goes into the house and the other facilitates the connection between the home’s sewer lines and the sewer mains.

Plumbers perform pipe bursting with a machine that breaks out the old pipe while laying the new pipe in place behind it. Two access holes are made, one where the sewer line goes into the house and the other where it joins the sewer main.The new pipe is the same size as the old pipe and accommodates the same water flow.

Pipe Lining

Pipe lining is a flexible pipe coated with resin. The flexible new pipe is forced or pulled through the existing pipe then inflated once it is in place. The lining method reduces pipe diameter by approximately 1/4-inch, which is small enough not to make any difference for most homes. Pipe lining usually requires only one access hole.

Call My Professional Plumber for advice on making environmentally friendly changes in your home. A professional plumber can help you choose the most feasible and beneficial changes to make. Changes to a home’s plumbing should be completed by professionals to make sure everything is installed correctly and prevent future problems.


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