Mr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber Blog

How to Conserve Water to Save Money This Summer

May 10th, 2016

With the approach of summer 2016, we enter another consecutive year of water conservation and region-wide sprinkling regulations that will help us use our drinking water more wisely. In fact, on May 15th we begin Stage 1 of Greater Vancouver’s Water Shortage Response Plan that limits our lawn watering. But how else can you save water (and save money)?

You might think that conserving water requires a significant investment, from installing new ENERGY STAR–rated appliances to using rain barrels and buying new on-demand tankless water heaters. While all these options represent great ways to reduce water consumption (and they often save you a lot of money over time), you can also employ small, simple strategies to conserve your water usage.

While we previously gave you tips for how to get your outdoor plumbing ready for spring, this blog post will give you a checklist of water saving tips (28 in fact!) for both outside and inside your home.

But first….how much water do we use?

Water Consumption Graph

Water Consumption Graph – Image courtesy of Metro Vancouver

The average household uses 26,000 litres of water each month. That’s 326 litres of water per person per day. And 75% of that is coming from the bathroom (and 1/3 of that use is just the toilet!).

On top of this, between now and early fall, our water use will double from the rest of the year due to swimming pools, growing food, maintaining sports fields and other social and community-building uses. At home, we also increase water usage to green our lawns, wash our decks, driveways and cars. All this water adds up…in price.

28 Water Conservation Strategies for Your Home

Here is the checklist of water saving tips—how many of these strategies will you implement this summer?

Kitchen & Laundry


  • Kitchen faucet flow: Install a low flow kitchen faucet aerator. This can reduce the flow out of your tap by up to 40 per cent.
  • Dishes & laundry: Use your dishwasher and washing machine only for full loads.
  • Garbage Disposal: Avoid using the garbage disposal in your sink. Disposals require you to flush the unit with water in order to work properly. They also increase the amount of solids in your pipes. Instead of wasting water and possibly causing buildup in your pipes compost your food.
  • Leaks: Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Leaks waste water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Cool drinking water: Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful.
  • Washing machine and dishwasher inspection: Check your washing machine and dishwasher hoses for bulges or leaks. If there are any signs of weakness, or if they’re older than 10 years, it is a good idea to replace them.
  • Water meter leaks: If you have a water meter, check it for leaks. Check it at a certain time during the day, and then wait two hours without using any water. If the reading is different the second time, you have a leak in your home.



  • New toilet: Replace your water-guzzling toilet with a WaterSense labelled model. New toilets use only 4.8 litres per flush while older toilets can use over 20 litres per flush. It can cut your water use by as much as 30%.
  • Toilet leaks: Check your toilets for leaks. Put a little food colour or a dye tablet in your toilet tank. If the colour appears in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak.
  • Toilet flushes: Install “low flush” toilets. Although the investment may cost more to start with, these toilets use only 1–2 gallons per flush. Normal toilets use 3–5 gallons per flush.
  • Trash can: Don’t use the toilet as a trash can. Every time you flush a small piece of trash, you waste between five and seven gallons of water.
  • Showerheads: Install WaterSense labelled showerheads. This can reduce the flow up to 40%.
  • Bathroom faucet flow: Install low flow bathroom faucet aerators. These too can reduce the flow by up to 40%.
  • Tooth brushing: Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush.
  • Shower time: Take shorter showers. Long, hot showers can waste 18 to 35 litres of water.
  • Leaks: Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 75 or more litres of water a day.

 Pools & Spas



  • Do regular leak check-ups. A leak in the pool are can waste 3,800 litres or more per day.
  • Pool covers: Use a pool/spa cover to cut down on water loss (and heating costs) caused by evaporation.
  • Chemical balance: Keep track of the amount of chemicals you use. An increase in chemicals can be a sign of a leak.
  • Water level: Lower the pool water level to reduce the amount of water splashed out.



  • Don’t water the sidewalk. Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden – not on paved areas.
  • Leaky hoses: Check frequently for leaks in hoses and couplings and keep them drip-free.
  • Unhook your hose: Unhook your water hose from the spout after each use.
  • Check your backyard for wet spots. Walk around your property once a week to look for spongy or mushy ground where broken pipes might be hidden. If it’s not raining then you may have an underground leak from a water or sewer line.
  • Plant drought-tolerant grass and plants. To reduce evaporation, lay mulch over any exposed soil and cut your grass to a slightly longer length.
  • Car washing: Wash your car with a bucket of water and a sponge. This is much more efficient than using a hose or going to a commercial car wash.
  • Sprinkler inspection: Check sprinklers for jammed or malfunctioning heads.
  • Sprinkler usage: Use accurate, efficient sprinklers or drip irrigation systems instead of hand watering.

Start Conserving Water Today

Most of these tips don’t cost you anything. By making some small adjustments you can make a big impact on your water consumption, utility bill and the environment. Combine as many of these ideas as possible to ensure you are doing your part. So, what are you waiting for? Start saving today!

For more water conservation tips or to hire a plumber to help you find and fix those water leaks, give Mr. Swirl a ring at 604-435-4664.

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Outdoor Plumbing Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

April 20th, 2016

As we start to spend more time outside in the warmer weather, spring is a great time to check your outdoor plumbing to make sure everything is in working order. After all, the sooner you find leaks the better chance you have of keeping water damage to a minimum.

This blog post will get your home ready for spring with plumbing maintenance tips for identifying and preventing water leaks.

Tip #1: Check and clean out gutters and downspouts

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3 Problems That You May Encounter with Your Toilet

January 11th, 2016

The toilet is one of the most instantly recognizable components in any plumbing system. Its ubiquitous presence and our familiarity with toilets may lead us to think—mistakenly so—that our toilets are always going to be there for us when we need them. In fact, there are a lot of different problems that we may encounter with our toilets. While you should really leave any necessary toilet repairs to your Vancouver, BC bathroom plumbing pros, it is still helpful to know what issues you may encounter. Read on to learn about some common toilet plumbing problems, and contact Mr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber to schedule any services that you may require.

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Why Schedule a Professional Pipeline Inspection?

January 4th, 2016

Your plumbing system has a lot of different components within it. The pipe, though, is really something of a basic building block within any plumbing system. Your water supply pipes are responsible for bringing potable water into your home, and then distributing it throughout. The pipes in your drain and sewer system, meanwhile, are tasked with the important job of ensuring that your wastewater is whisked out of your home in a hygienic, reliable manner. With this in mind, it should be clear to see just how detrimental damaged pipes can really be. That is why you may need professional pipeline inspection services in Vancouver, BC. If so, be sure to schedule service with the professionals here at Mr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber.

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5 Plumbing Problems that Can’t Wait

December 28th, 2015

What is it now? It seems that there is no shortage of issues that arise over the years of owning a home. There is always something new that comes up, and you’ll need to have a list of dedicated professionals at your beck and call to sort out anything that may arise. That especially includes your supply and wastewater plumbing systems, which can put a halt to most of your daily activities throughout the house. Such problems can also occur at inopportune times, such as on the weekends or late at night. Here are 5 that can’t wait.

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Avoid Drain and Sewer Problems this Holiday Season

December 21st, 2015

There is an awful lot to occupy your attention during the holiday season. If you are hosting any gatherings, of any size, then you know that it can quickly become a stressful endeavor. We don’t want to add anything more to your plate, but we do want to warn you about the potential threat to your drain and sewer system that having a sizable gathering can pose. It is a well-known fact in the plumbing world that service calls tend to spike around this time of year. If you require any drain and sewer services in Vancouver, BC, we are the pros to call. Read the following information, and let Mr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber know if you encounter any problems. 

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Is My Water Line in Trouble?

December 14th, 2015

To say that your water line is a major component in your residential plumbing system is to make a massive understatement. It is your main water line, after all, which is responsible for introducing clean, potable water into your plumbing system in a convenient and reliable manner. For this very reason, encountering problems of any kind with your water line can be quite stressful.

Not only can a disruption to your water line disrupt your daily routine in a very serious way, but it can also lead to considerable water damage on your property. In order to resolve any issues with your water line in a prompt manner, you need to learn to spot signs of problems with your water line in Vancouver, BC early on. Read the following tips, and contact Mr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber to schedule service.

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Spotting Signs of Trouble with Your Sewer Line

December 7th, 2015

There are essentially two sides of your plumbing system. The supply side, including the water line that brings potable water to your home and all of the piping and fixtures that distribute that water throughout your household, and the drain and sewer side, which disposes of your waste and wastewater once you are done with it. In order to ensure that the latter half of this equation is completed in an effective, hygienic manner, you must know for certain that your sewer line in Vancouver, BC is in fine working condition. Should any problems arise, it is vital that you schedule professional sewer line repairs immediately. Below you’ll find some examples of warning signs that it is time to schedule sewer line repairs with Mr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber.

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Is a Tank Water Heater Right for Me?

November 30th, 2015

In today’s homes, comfort, convenience, and efficiency are held in equally high regard. You need to be able to take a hot shower in the morning before work, and to run your dishwasher effectively at night, after dinner. You should also be able to count on your washing machine to get your whites clean. In order for all of this to be the case, you must have a good water heater installed in your home. Not only must this water heater be of solid design and build, though, but also well-suited to your own personal user preferences. For many, modern technology such as the tankless water heater is appealing. Don’t overlook the benefits of using a tank water heater in Vancouver, BC, though. Read on, and schedule your water heater services with Mr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber.

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Do You Need a Commercial Grease Trap?

November 23rd, 2015

Commercial property owners have a lot on their hands. If you run or own a restaurant, diner or cafeteria, you know just how much costly equipment is needed in order to keep that kitchen up and running properly. One component of any commercial kitchen that commercial property owners cannot afford to overlook is the grease trap. The grease trap fully exemplifies an instance of something being a dirty job, but one that does in fact need doing. Read on to learn more about the operation of grease traps. Remember too to dial our number if you need any grease trap services in Vancouver, BCMr. Swirl The Friendly Plumber is more than happy to ensure that your grease trap is installed and serviced properly.

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