With the UK facing a potentially lower water supply in 2019, being smart with water consumption needs to become a top priority for everyone. Sir James Bevan, chair of the National Drought Group, says in his September 2018 statement that they are taking steps towards long-term water resilience such as operating water transfer schemes and liaising with water companies, hopefully ensuring a sufficient supply for everyone.
Faulty plumbing systems can sabotage your attempts to curb water use because of damage which can cause leaks. According to the Environment Agency, a public body sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), an estimated 3 billion litres are lost daily through leakage, which is about equal to the water consumption of more than 20 million individuals.
Regular plumbing maintenance is necessary if you want to ensure efficient and sustainable water consumption. Here are ways you can start:
Pipes, taps and toilets are parts of your plumbing system that are susceptible to damage from heavy use, which can cause leakage. While you can easily address the obvious ones, hidden water leaks are more difficult to fix; sometimes, you can only detect them once you notice an upsurge in your water bill.
To detect leakage, turn off all your taps and observe your water meter. If the meter is still running, shut off the valves individually until you find the source of the leak. You can use temporary repairs like applying putty and clamps, but also consider other methods depending on the severity of the leak.
Sinks and other drains with clogs and waste build-up are less efficient and more prone to breakage. If untreated, these clogs can lead to more costly damage. Detect clogged water systems by observing the drain time; if water drainage is slow, waste may be impeding water flow through the pipes.
You can clean and maintain parts of your plumbing system. For example, if you have a clogged office sink, you can use pipe-cleaning brushes paired with or without chemical cleaners to remove a possible build-up of kitchen waste.
Even if some pipes are not leaking, you may still need to consider replacing or upgrading them. Pipes with deformations and corrosions can still work, but they present safety hazards which can be costly such as a pipe burst or water contamination.
Audit your water systems and check for discolouration, dents and other possible indications of damage. Metal pipes, for example, have specific lifespans; if you need to replace or upgrade them, contact your local plumber or water company for assistance.
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