Are you looking to make energy-efficient plumbing upgrades while increasing the value of your multi-unit highrise? One of the ways you can do this is by implementing strategic plumbing upgrades, like installing water-saving fixtures, upgrading your water heaters, taking advantage of trenchless sewer repair and pipelining, installing water filtration systems, and investing in smart plumbing technology. Let’s take a look at the top 5 plumbing upgrades and how they can save you money while increasing the market value of your building.
Upgrade #1: Energy-efficient fixtures
One of the first and often easiest plumbing upgrades to make is installing low-flow water fixtures. These can include:
- Compact Urinals – Compact urinals are also referred to as waterless urinals. This is because they don’t offer a flushing mechanism. Instead, the design of the bowl and gravity remove all the liquid waste. A traditional or flush urinal uses 1 gallon of water per flush. This means that if your urinals are flushed an average of 10 times a day, you’d save 3,650 gallons per urinal of water each year. The current cost of water in Chicago is $4.55 per 1,000 gallons. This means that installing a single waterless urinal could save your building roughly $16.60 per year. If you changed out 50 standard urinals, you’d save $830 a year or $69.16 per month.
- High-Efficiency Toilets – High-efficiency toilets use 35 gallons less than a standard toilet per day. They function by using water velocity instead of volume to remove waste. This means that on average, they use between 1.08 and 1.35 gallons of water per flush. A standard toilet uses between 1.6 and 7 gallons per flush. The average person flushes a toilet 5 times a day, which means installing one high-efficiency toilet for one person would save between 1.25 and 2.6 gallons per day if all the toilets in your building were installed after 1992.
- Low-Flow Faucets – Standard faucets use between 1 and 3 gallons per minute. Low-flow faucets use between .5 and 1.5 gallons per minute. While this won’t save money when filling pots and coffee makers, it does save money when it comes to cleaning and washing your hands.
- Low-Flow Showerheads – Low-flow showerheads use roughly 1.5 gallons per minute, while their standard counterparts use approximately 2.5 gallons per minute. This means that if a single person takes 10 10-minute showers per week, they’ll save 100 gallons of water per week and 3650 gallons per year.
Installing these low-flow and energy-efficient fixtures will not only pay for themselves over time, but they can also increase your property’s real and perceived value. This is because many people are looking to save money while limiting their impact on the environment. According to Freddie Mac, making energy-efficient upgrades to a home can increase its resell value by up to 2.7 percent. If you have a building that sells condos, you might be interested to learn that 81 percent of buyers are looking for places with Energy-Star-rated appliances, and 79 percent would prefer to move into a place that is Energy-Star rated.
Upgrade #2: Modern water heaters
Modern water heaters are extremely energy efficient, and these days, you have your choice between tanked and tankless water heaters.
Tanked Water Heaters
Tanked water heaters are the standard. These water heaters hold water in a large tank, usually between 30 and 80 gallons, and keep it warm. The water is kept at a preset temperature 24 hours a day so that you always have hot water available. These units can be purchased as Energy-Star rated, which means they use less fuel or energy when compared to units that are not Energy-Star rated. They’re also available in a variety of fuel types, including gas, propane, electricity, geothermal and solar.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than their tanked counterparts because they only turn on their heating elements when you need hot water. They also keep heating water until you don’t need it, which means you won’t run out while taking a shower, bath or when washing clothes or dishes. These units can save between 27 and 50 percent in energy costs when compared to a tanked water heater. They’re also available for use with a range of fuel types, including electric, gas, geothermal and solar.
Upgrade #3: Trenchless sewer repair
How well is your sewer pipe functioning? The sewer pipe to your building is responsible for funneling all the wastewater from your building into the city’s municipal water treatment plants. Lots of things can affect how well your sewer pipe functions and if it develops clogs over time. For example, if your tenants or unit owners don’t understand how drain pipes work, they may inadvertently put items down their sinks and toilets that don’t belong there. A few of those items include eggshells, coffee grounds, any paper product that isn’t toilet paper, wet wipes, cat litter and pet waste and grease, oil and lard. When these items are put down drain lines, they can cause sewer pipe clogs. Additionally, tree root infiltrations can cause sewer pipes to break and clog.
Getting your sewer pipe lined with an epoxy liner can make it less likely that your pipe will become infiltrated with tree roots or get clogged. This is because epoxy with extremely smooth and tough. It can even rehabilitate sewer pipes that currently have breaks, cracks, and tree root infestations.
Upgrade #4: Water filtration systems
Mineral deposits can cause staining on your faucets and in your sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets. They can also affect how the water tastes. The good news is that installing a whole-house or whole-unit water filtration system can help eliminate those stains and improve the taste and appearance of the water. Water filtration systems can also help prevent pipe corrosion and lessen the wear and tear on your water-using appliances. In buildings and homes that have water filtration systems, buyers and renters are willing to pay a little more because water filtration systems leave clothes feeling softer and dishes feeling cleaner. It also makes cleaning bathrooms and kitchens easier.
Upgrade #5: Smart plumbing technology
According to the EPA, households with leaking pipes waste as much as a trillion gallons of water each year. If you’re looking to make your units more energy efficient and prevent flooding from broken pipes and water-using appliances, you can’t go wrong with a few technological plumbing upgrades.
- Leak Detection Systems – These are water monitoring systems that detect the presence of small leaks, frost, and even water flow that is unusual. This type of technological upgrade is often the most affordable and the most beneficial.
- Smart Faucets – These faucets have sensors that allow individuals to tap them anywhere in order to turn them on. This is beneficial when your hands are filthy, and you don’t want to touch the handle. They also display the temperature of the water, can be preset to fill any amount, and can be turned off and on via an app.
- Smart Showers – Smart showers are a luxury improvement. These showers allow for the input of preset water temperatures. They can play music and take phone calls. Some can even be paired with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so that you can turn on your shower from any room.
- Smart Toilets – Smart toilets can be purchased with an array of features, including heated toilet seats, automatic flushing, bidets, voice activation, nightlights, and even self-cleaning modes.
- Pump Monitoring – Pump monitoring helps keep your basement or crawlspace dry. It is essentially a backup sump pump that activates when your main sump pump is not operable. It can also be connected to a Smartphone app to let you know if it’s been activated.
Installing these upgrades can make your apartments or condos more attractive to renters and buyers because it shows that you’re invested in providing your residents with the latest technology and upgrades so that they can save money and enjoy enhanced convenience.
Trenchless Pipelining Technology with NuFlow
If you’re looking for plumbing upgrades that prevent leaks and ensure proper water flow, consider trenchless pipelining. Trenchless pipelining is a plumbing upgrade that you can make to your building that doesn’t create a lot of mess or disruption. It’s also affordable when compared to all the costs involves in a traditional pipe replacement.
To learn more about our trenchless pipelining for potable water pipes, drain lines, and sewer pipes, please contact us.