I know I missed the What’s for Dinner this week. We started a new home improvement project and I have been busy with ‘work work’. Here is something that I haven’t gotten around to writing about.
A few months ago there was a little blurb on our gas bill offering a free energy saving kit. I looked up the details and our gas company was offering a low flow shower head, 2 faucet aerators, and a small roll of plumber’s tape to all of their customers. You may be wondering why the gas utility company would be giving away items that would help people reduce the amount of gas they use. The gas company after all sells gas, right? Not quite. Nicor, our gas company, just like Ameren, our electric company, provide distribution of natural gas and electricity. They don’t actually produce the commodity they just deliver it to your home. The more usage the delivery network gets, the more wear and tear happens and that costs them money. By helping customers reduce their usage, they can save some money themselves.
A month or so after I set in the request for a kit I got this small box in the mail.
We had already purchased a 1.5 GPM (Gallons per minute) shower head when we moved in that is *almost* identical to the one included in this kit. Each of the two faucet aerators are 1 GPM and the kitchen aerator is 1.5 GPM. I was really happy to receive the aerators because our bathroom faucet aerator was broken and our kitchen one was kind of dingy.
Shae was able to install the new aerators herself. She didn’t even need the included plumbers tape according to the instructions pamphlet (the aerators have built in rubber gaskets). Our sinks now use half the water as they did before.
This kind of project probably won’t have a noticeable impact on our gas or water bill but every little bit does help. Thankfully in the Midwest, water is plentiful and we often don’t think about using it sparingly. My sister and her family live in the American South West where the presence, or lack thereof, can make or break entire lifestyles.
Every time I check our water usage I get a little reminder that it takes an entire group of people to conserve resources. Our water usage chart includes data from previous owners. I highlighted in green the months that we have lived in the house. All of the other data is from previous owners or when the house sat empty. The numbers are cubic feet of water used. You can get gallons by multiplying by 7.48. So the 1800 cubit feet of water used by previous owners in July of 2005 equals over 13k gallons of water that month or about 450 gallons per day! We have been averaging about 70 gallons per day or 35 gallons per person.
I am looking to conserve even more water by replacing our 3.5 GPF toilets with modern low flow varieties. That is a post for another day though. Do you know how many gallons your household uses in a month? How about per person? According to the USGS, the average person uses between 80-100 gallons per day.
If you’d like to learn more about the Nicor Energy Efficiency Program you can do so here.