Few industries are immune to technological change.
Plumbing is no different. Even for such a hands-on service, recent advances have reshaped the industry in the past decade. The pace of change does not seem to be slowing. From smart pipes to tankless water heaters, the innovations just keep on coming.
Plumbing professionals now pair their drain rods and pipe cutters with Wifi-enabled tablets and waterproof cameras to deliver top-notch service for customers. Staying on top of these emerging technological trends has never been more crucial for some home service professionals that want to remain competitive.
Here’s a deeper look at the top tech trends in the plumbing profession this year.
The Technology Trends Shaping the Plumbing Industry This Year
Smart Pipe Systems
Home automation is all the rage these days.
One of those increasingly popular home automation systems are smart pipe systems (sometimes called “brain pipes”). They solve a big challenge in the plumbing profession: being able to detect a leak early before it leads to a lot water loss.
Smart pipes give a big boost to the preventive practice of plumbing by monitoring water pressure and alerting homeowners and plumbing pros about the exact location of leaks. This takes some of the guesswork out of fixing problems and increases the likelihood that issues are repaired before significant damage takes hold. In the long run, consumers save big by avoiding costly damage restoration and mold abatement.
Rather than trying to replace the work of the plumber, technology like smart pipe systems empower customers and plumbing professionals alike with more just-in-time knowledge to address problems before they become crises.
Hands-Free Faucets and Fixtures
You’ve probably seen these in airport and fancy hotels.
A common fixture in public restrooms are motion sensor faucets. They’re quite simply more sanitary and they reduce water waste. Now, more and more homeowners are catching on and installing hands-free faucets in their bathrooms and kitchens.
Another hands-free fixture rising in popularity are “do not touch” toilets. Since toilets can be a big source of bacteria and other contaminants, more consumers are looking to these ultra-hygienic toilet options that allow for hands-free usage in this part of the bathroom as well. This option can also lead to more efficient water use (think: fewer excess flushes).
These are relatively low-cost ways to improve household health and win one for the environment, two things customers and home service professionals are doing more about these days.
Tankless Water Heater Systems
This another area where homeowners are looking to upgrade: their water heater system.
Many homeowners are investing in tankless water heater systems as the big, bulky water heater tanks installed in the early 90s are reaching the end of their lifespans. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that tankless water heaters can save homeowners upwards of 25% on yearly water expenses through their efficiency.
With another technology that saves money and reduces overall energy usage, plumbing professionals should stand ready to deliver tankless water heating systems for customers ready to make the switch.
Advanced shower heads
If you’re bored of your regular old shower routine, this one’s for you.
Many consumers are now looking to spice up their daily shower experience with advanced shower heads that do much more than just spray water. Some advanced shower heads are Bluetooth-enabled to play music, taking singing in the shower to a whole new level. Other high-tech shower heads also come with LED lights for consumers seeking displays of sight and sound while getting fresh and clean.
Plumbing professionals would be wise to keep these next generation shower heads in stock and ready to be installed for those consumers looking to liven up their shower time.
As most industries are going green, plumbing is following suit.
While this technology isn’t about reusing old dishwashers, it is about changing the way dishwashers use their water. Remember that dishwashers themselves have allowed consumers to save lots of water, a cost and environmental benefit. Now, new dishwasher technology allows for a wash cycle option (dishwasher recycling) that recycles rinse water.
Dishwashers equipped with this option can reduce water usage by nearly 700 gallons per year. With such a huge savings made possible by this high-tech add-on, plumbing professionals would be on the right track to offer modern dishwashers with rinse water recycling included.
Droughts have become a way of life for many communities in the Southwestern and Western United States. Therefore, many consumers in those areas (and all over the country) are seeking new ways to conserve water.
Greywater recycling technology is becoming more popular as one solution.
This technology recycles water used in the shower and excess water from the kitchen sink and puts it to use for other functions such as watering the grass and doing the laundry. Greywater technology is another no-brainer solution that saves consumers money while supporting the environment, especially in drought-prone areas.
Adding the installation and maintenance of greywater systems would be a big step forward for plumbing professionals looking to provide high-quality service to consumers seeking to lower their water bills and environmental footprint.
Smart irrigation systems
Imagine a sprinkler that is now also a meteorologist.
(OK, not quite but pretty close.) New smart irrigation systems can keep tabs on the weather forecast and skip watering the lawn if precipitation is expected. These intelligent sprinklers shut off automatically when rain comes so no water is wasted by doubling up the irrigation of the grass (letting Mother Nature do its job).
More than just monitoring the weather, these advanced irrigation systems also factor in the types of plants, soil conditions, microclimates, and other relevant environmental data—all in an effort to find the most efficient and lean way to keep the greenery irrigated and water conserved.
Many of these systems are cloud-based and connected through 3G and 4G wireless networks to ensure accuracy and reliability. These smart irrigation systems even connect to a mobile app for easy access to the data for both homeowners and home service professionals.
New Plumbing Technology That Works for People and the Planet
The big word here is save.
Homeowners and plumbing professionals alike want to save time, money, and water.
New plumbing technology trends are making it easier for them to do so, together. From tankless water heating systems to smart irrigation technology, plumbing professionals have their work cut out for them delivering on the promise of these new technologies for homeowners.
With climate change looming as a bigger threat to household bottom lines and the broader environment, everyone is looking to technology to deliver new, more efficient ways of living. Luckily, plumbing professionals and homeowners are more in sync than ever when it comes to deploying these new technologies to reap the biggest benefits for people and the planet.