LESLIE: Hey, if you need help with a plumbing project, then you are in luck because our next caller, Colleen in Missouri, has that exact question. What can we do for you?
COLLEEN: Well, we just purchased a home. It's about 20 years old and we knew there were going to be some things that we were going to want to update or improve. One of those would be the commodes in the bathrooms. Three bathrooms; three at least 20-year-old units. And when a plumber came and looked at it he was saying, “You really don't have – you know, there's no water efficiency here. You've got some major usage issues that you could probably save a lot on.” But if I'm going to replace it, I'm not sure exactly what my options are. I mean, how critical is that to me? How much am I going to save? What's that going to equate to me? And if I do, what do I want to look for?
TOM: Well, there's a new program out right now from the EPA. It's called WaterSense. And this WaterSense certification is very similar to sort of the Energy Star program where you have manufacturers that are building plumbing fixtures to meet certain water efficiency and performance standards. And ...
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, like green guidelines.
TOM: Exactly. And right now there are plenty of WaterSense-labeled toilets and WaterSense-labeled faucets and shower fixtures available. So if I was choosing to replace plumbing fixtures today, I would look for WaterSense-certified products. This is going to not be an expensive upgrade because, you know, these fixtures are not any more or less expensive than any other new faucet or new toilet.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. And I think it's important to say, you know, that the showerheads and the faucets – you're not going to notice a change in pressure. Yes, you're saving water as far as the usage amount but what they've done is they've put in a different type of aerator so you're going to have more air forcing the water out, so it feels like it has fantastic pressure while you're still saving water; so you're not going to sacrifice that great shower.
TOM: Now, are you going to save so much water that you can pay for all of this stuff? My answer would be yes, eventually. But who knows how long you're going to be in the house long enough for that? So I would say that if you want to replace the fixtures anyway, the best thing to do is to go with WaterSense-certified products. If you're happy with the existing fixtures, you can just continue to use them; there's really no reason to replace them.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.