The plumbing industry is fast becoming a leader in advanced technologies and emerging trends. It’s important to maintain awareness of the latest innovations to ensure your home or business is getting the most of what the industry has to offer. From water-conserving plumbing fixtures to high-tech pipe materials designed for durability and longevity, the plumbing world is being turned upside down. Today’s advancements are increasing energy efficiency while helping build a more eco-friendly world. Let’s take a look at some of the newest trends and advances in technology in the world of plumbing.
Smart Leak Detection
Any water leaks can be destructive but water leaks that go undetected pose especially harsh consequences. Undetected leaks create conditions that encourage the growth of mold and mildew putting the health of families at risk. Additionally, leaks account for thousands of dollars of wasted water, and with the availability of freshwater becoming more scarce we have none to waste. The cost of repairing damages due to leaking water can be astronomical as it can rot infrastructures leaving homes and businesses uninhabitable and causing insurance premiums to skyrocket.
In the past, leak detection was limited to visual inspections but in the 1960s infrared technologies were introduced allowing technicians the ability to ‘see’ through structures to locate hidden leaks during onsite inspections.
This technique was improved by the innovations in digital technology allowing for a camera to be inserted into pipes. Not only did this help with leak detection but provided invaluable information as to the materials used and the overall condition of the plumbing system.
Acoustic water detection followed and used the sound of escaping water through pinhole leaks and cracked pipes to detect leaks. This method combined with knowledgeable technicians allowed for the amplification of water sounds to detect hard-to-find leaks.
Smart technology has taken over the world and includes the advanced ability to monitor, detect, and prevent water leaks in homes and businesses. Smart technology equates to loT-enabled devices that use sensors to alert home or business owners and their plumbers to potential water damage. It connects to the WiFi system to send notifications when water patterns change. The system also communicates with itself to resolve issues even when you are not present. This means when a leak is detected the system can turn off the main water supply to prevent a plumbing emergency. Smart technology is the wave of the future.
Smartphones, tablets, and computers can all be programmed to sense and relay important information to and from your plumbing system and fixtures to ensure a safe and comfortable home. Here are a few examples of the latest technology:
-iQuaris uses acoustical leak detection along with GPS positioning to locate leaks.
-Leak Detector uses your iPhone’s microphone to listen and find leaks.
-Leak SMART will shut off the water supply when moisture of any kind is detected.
Water-Saving Fixtures And Appliances
The advancements in plumbing fixtures and appliances have been rapid in the race to provide efficiency with water conservation. Appliances are now rated with Energy Star labels to help consumers best choose the most efficient appliances such as washing machines that use 30-50% less water and require less energy to run. Dishwashers are also being redesigned for less water usage while eliminating the need to pre-rinse dishes saving even more money.
Plumbing fixtures are also joining the push for eco-friendliness. There are low-flow toilets, shower heads, and faucets that have sensors that turn on and off the water only when needed. These save on water waste while providing the function for which they were intended.
Reducing water usage and lessening the amount of energy needed to run appliances helps not only with the impact on the environment but it helps home and business owners from wasting money.
Advances In Pipe Materials And Construction
Early pipe materials such as galvanized iron were primarily used in plumbing applications until 1960 when copper overtook iron as it was less costly, more flexible, and could better withstand changes in temperature. World War II caused shortages and forced the development of newer non-metallic pipe materials such as plastic PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Both are known for their flexibility, durability, chemical stability, and leak-free operation due to their heat fusion joints.
Plastic pipe and copper are the most common plumbing pipes used today and the advancements made in each category are promoting corrosion-resistant pipes that are durable and long living. These new innovations are supporting an eco-friendly environment where water conservation and energy reduction are the focus.
Green Plumbing Solutions
Innovation is everywhere and plumbing practices are embracing new ideas that just make sense. Rainwater harvesting is one such innovation. This refers to the collection of rainwater into storage tanks for future use. Although not drinkable, it can be used for irrigation purposes or for emergency backup water. Harvesting conserves water, is environmentally responsible, and provides water at no cost to you!
Grey water is the wastewater exiting your sinks, tubs, and washing machines and can be used for irrigation purposes also. Watering vegetable gardens can be included as long as the water does not come in contact with the vegetables themselves. This uses large amounts of water that would otherwise be wasted and plays a big part in water conservation if the system is set up properly.
Green plumbing practices reduce the amount of energy required for the treatment and distribution of water, reduce stormwater runoff, and prevent less exposure to pesticides and other pollutants. Green plumbing is good for the environment and good for the economy.
Learning about the advances in plumbing technology allows individuals to participate in the ever-growing reach for energy efficiency and water conservation methods. Whether it’s smart technology, advances in pipe materials, or green plumbing practices, together we can join others in promoting sustainable living because a healthy tomorrow begins with you!