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Water System Operating Manual (for single-family homes)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense® New Home Specification

The EPA WaterSense New Home Specification states that:

The builder shall develop and provide to the single-family homeowner a written operating and maintenance manual for all water-using equipment or controls installed in the house and yard, including all relevant WaterSense materials on indoor and outdoor water use. This may be a chapter or folder in an existing manual.

If clothes washers or dishwashers are not provided, general information about water-efficient appliances shall be included.

5.1.1 Irrigation System - If an irrigation system is installed, the builder shall provide the single-family homebuyer with a record drawing (e.g., schematic) of the system, an itemized list of irrigation components, copies of the irrigation schedules, and information about reprogramming the schedule after establishment of the landscape. This information should be included in the operating manual.

Homeowners need general information about their water-efficient new home, including its unique features and the proper maintenance of its fixtures, settings, and equipment. WaterSense has developed the Homeowner Manual Template for WaterSense Labeled Homes to help builders integrate water efficiency information into the traditional homeowner’s manual that they often provide and that many other green building programs require. This template is included as part of the new homes marketing tools that builders can access when they sign a WaterSense partnership agreement with EPA.

The homeowner operating manual should be designed for ease of use. Where possible, include the names of vendors where the homeowner can purchase replacement parts (e.g., flapper valves for toilets) or contractors to service systems. The manual should be designed for long-term use, since it could change hands as homeownership changes. The manual should still be useful many years after the home has been constructed.

EPA includes a checklist in its manual template so that the builder can conduct a walk-through of the home with the buyer, point out the water-efficient features, and explain the proper operation and maintenance procedures for all of the settings and features installed in the home.

5.1.1 Irrigation System - Providing the single-family homeowner with a schematic of the system is important for conducting system repairs, as well as any future activity that might require excavation. The itemized list will allow homeowners and their irrigation contractors to replace parts as necessary to maintain the performance and efficiency of the system. One of the most important aspects of efficient irrigation is to educate the single-family homeowner on the importance of changing the watering schedule as plants’ water needs change.

These materials should be obtained from the certified irrigation professional and included in the single-family homeowner’s manual.

Application to Existing Homes

The measure described int his guide applies equally well to new and existing homes.

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Case Studies

None Available

References and Resources*

  1. Publication Date: June, 2017

    Take steps each day to save water and protect the environment by choosing WaterSense labeled products in your home, yard, and business.

  2. Author(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: July, 2014

    Resource that provides a checklist of program criteria for water-efficient new homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.

  3. Author(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: July, 2014

    Resource that establishes the criteria for water-efficient new homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 8, 2017