Go Green and Repair Sources of Water Waste

If you have an old home, more than likely it is a leaky home causing water waste. It does not help the green environmental goals. Plus, it can get expensive on the wallet. There are obvious potential leak points in your home and those not so obvious. But you want to be aware of them and repair them as quickly as possible so as to avoid water waste and help your home go green.

In an older home not built for green, there is more than likely much water waste occurring behind the walls. The most common place for waste to occur is around the bathroom which makes sense because they are fed so much water. Many times there is an access panel located on the other side of the bathroom or shower that will expose the water feed pipes. More than likely, these feed pipes are made of copper which has a tendency to corrode indicated by a green color and tiny pinhole leaks. It will have to be replaced.

It takes a little patience to solder copper piping. You’ll need to purchase a propane soldering torch, copper pipe cutter, copper piping, joints, tees, and elbows (depends on your pipe arrangement). You will first cut out the leaking section and replace with a new copper pipe section. Use the joints, tees, or elbows as necessary.

To solder the joint, coat the surfaces with flux and then super heat the joint once you have inserted the replacement. Place the solder on the superheated joint and the heat/flux should suck it in creating a good seal. There cannot be any water running inside of the copper pipes or else they will not get hot enough.

In older houses not built for green, a problem often exists where even though the water main is shut off there is still slow seepage into the line. The solution to this is to stuff some regular white bread into the pipe to stop the slow water flow. Solder in your replacement pipe and when you turn the water main back on, the bread will dissolve. Plus the bread is biodegradable keeping in line with your green goal. Also help the goal of going green by taking the old copper piping to the metal recyclers.

Go green and find those underground leaks. There are two good signs that you have an underground water leak between the main city water meter and the house. You’ll hear a constant sound of water running and your water bill will spike extremely high all of the sudden. It can be an incredible waste. Leak detecting cameras are not always 100% successful in finding the wasteful leak point. You can save a lot of money by just trenching the area where the line is yourself until the leak is revealed.

Then there is the problem of freezing. Some older homes not built for green have additions where the builder might have been the homeowner at the time and did not bury a water line or junction to a hose bibb deep enough resulting in it bursting and incredible waste each year during a hard freeze. This is simple to fix. Just get one of the frost-free hose bibbs, dig up the area where it leads to the water feed, and install the new hose bib. While you are at it, wrap some pipe insulation that you can find at any home store. Then, cover the area with dirt (assuming the bibb is going into the ground).