Tuesday Night Plumbing Club

My scraped head

How do you have fun on a Tuesday night? I like to unwind with a little amateur plumbing repair. This Tuesday I dismantled the kitchen faucet assembly, rushed over to the hardware store minutes before closing time and pawed madly through the plumbing section for valves and bits. Then I ran back home to reassemble the whole mess and I only had to reverse one valve body! In the process I also banged my head under the sink. All of this so I can stop a maddening drip at the kitchen faucet. Yep, good times at our house.

Why am I writing about fixing a leaky faucet? For one, small leaks add up. Before I went to the hardware store I placed a measuring cup under the faucet. The faucet was dripping once every 25 seconds which added up to 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water in 6 hours = 60ml/day = 1.8 liters/month. The leak was from the hot water valve which means we were (slowly) wasting energy via the gas-fired water heater. While this leak wasn't a torrent, the drips had been steadily speeding up.

The rising price of water is another reason to fix that leaky faucet. Our local water utility is increasing water rates by 8.2 percent each year for the next five years to cover the costs of a water diversion program and water conservation programs. Simply, the southwest is an arid place and water is an increasingly valuable resource so prices are rising accordingly. Santa Fe already has a relatively low per capita water use of 101 gallons/day, but even that rate may be too high in the long run.

Fixing a leaky faucet isn't high on the 'sexy and sustainable' scale. But, that's part of the fun of frugality. Fortunately, I get to check off the first month of my New Year's resolution to reduce my use of fossil fuels. If you're wondering how this qualifies - the leaks were wasting hot water from the gas-fired water heater, and municipal water systems use a lot of electricity (mostly coal-fired in NM) to treat and pump water to your home. I know this is starting small, but I have plenty of larger improvements planned for this year.

Oh, and while you're under the sink fixing that leak - watch your head!

More Info:

Santa Fe, NM - New 8.2% Water Rate Increase

WRCC.dri.edu - Santa Fe, NM: Climate Summary

Santa Fe - Gallons per Capita per Day

NRDC - Hotter and Drier, The West's Changed Climate

New Year's Resolution

Tuesday Night Music Club