Water Saving Tips
In recent years, many parts of the U.S. have suffered from moderate to severe drought conditions. Scientists predict that climate change will continue to increase the frequency and severity of droughts. Some of the nation's fastest-growing cities are in regions where water has often been scarce. Saving water has always been important, but is even more critical today.
The first step toward water conservation is being aware of how much you're using—and wasting. The EPA estimates the average American family of four uses more than 300 gallons of water a day. To figure how much water your family uses and see where you can save, visit www.watercalculator.org.
Keep in mind that even small changes can add up to big savings. Cutting your shower time by just two minutes every day can save more than 1,500 gallons per year. Installing water-efficient appliances and fixtures can save a lot of water and money as well. Here are our tips by room:
- Toilets typically use the most water in the bathroom. If you need to replace an old toilet, look for WaterSense-certified models, which use only 1.28 gallons per flush, compared to older toilets that use 3.5 to 7 gallons.
- Current shower heads models use half as much water as those made before 1994. WaterSense models use even less water than standard models—only 2 gallons a minute. If your shower fills a gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the shower head.
- Switch from an aerated shower head to a laminar-flow shower head, which saves energy by maintaining the temperature of the water as it comes out.
- Use a shower timer and try to shower in five minutes or less.
- WaterSense bathroom faucets reduce flow by 30 percent without diminishing performance. This can save up to 700 gallons per year, per faucet.
- Promptly fix leaky faucets to minimize water waste.
- If you have a dishwasher, use it fully loaded instead of hand-washing dishes in the sink. Hand-washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons of water, but an efficient dishwasher can use less than a quarter of that amount.
- If hand-washing, soak dishes first instead of relying on water pressure to get them clean.
- Install a low-flow faucet, which can use as little as 1.5 gallons a minute.
- If you have a top-loading washing machine that is more than 10 years old, consider upgrading. Front-loading machines hold 30 percent more clothes since there’s no agitator, and use remarkably less water and energy.
- Wash only full loads of laundry and try to wash most loads in cold water. The biggest cost associated with washing clothes is heating the water.