Water Conservation In The Home
Where to Start?
Start with the largest water users. The toilet, shower/bath, and clothes washer account for two-thirds of the water used in an average household.
About 20% of toilets leak. Consumers can lose 200 or more gallons of water a day from a leaky toilet. A toilet that leaks 22 gallons/day means 8000 gallons per year of wasted water and an unnecessary expense. Put a few drops of food dye in the tank. If after 15 minutes, color appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired. Typically, the toilet flapper needs replacement or the water level adjusted.
A toilet installed prior to 1993 may use up to 8 gallons of water per flush. New toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush. Pressure and vacuum assisted and jet action toilets were designed to improve waste removal. Dual flush toilets use 0.8 and 1.6 gallons per flush. If your present drain system blocks often, select a toilet rated high for drain carrying.
Toilet dams, 1.6 gallon flappers, or water-filled plastic containers can be installed in older toilet tanks but reduced flow can affect flushing. About 3gallons of water may be needed in the tank to flush properly. Avoid bricks that crumble and affect operation.
Adjust water levels to the laundry load size and soil.
Typically, full loads use less total water for the amount of cloths washed.
Horizontal axis (usually front loading) clothes washers are more water conserving, using about 1/3
as much water as vertical axis (usually top loading) machines. In addition, new features are making some
top loaders more water efficient.
Look for the EnergyStar label and compare the amount of water used for same tub capacity. Some
washers sense the load size and soil of water and fabric and adjust the water level. High-pressure rinses
to spray clothes during the rinse cycle reduce water consumption. Adjustable water level settings allow
you to choose the level for the load.
Older showers can use up to 6 to 8 gallons of water per minute (gpm) fully opened. As of 1994, new shower heads use no more than 2.5 gpm. A quick shower usually draws less water than a bath.
A leaky faucet can waste 10 to 20 gallons or more a day and damage materials. Faucet repairs may be as
simple as changing an inexpensive washer or O-ring.
Faucet aerators restrict the water going through the faucet by about 50%, adding air to make the flow
appear the same. Faucet aerators with flow rates of 1.5 gpm or lower (1/2 - 1 gpm) are available for a few
Other Ways to Reduce Water Use
Use brooms instead of a hose to clean patio, decks, sidewalks and driveways.
Use a rinse basin or sprayer for rinsing hand washed dishes or items instead of running water.
Reduce toilet flushes by not using them as waste paper baskets.
On-demand water softeners use less water than the traditional water softeners by responding to actual
water use and water hardness rather than a timed schedule.