Posts Tagged ‘water conservation’

Conserving water is a simple way to contribute to the resolution of a complex ecological issue.  A general estimate is that the average American uses 100 gallons of water per day, including showers, hand washing, dishes, toilet usage, laundry, etc..  This equates to roughly 3,000 gallons a month.  Extrapolate those numbers out to community, state, and national levels, and you can see where even reducing household water usage levels by 2 – 3 percent a year (or 2 – 3 gallons a day) could have a significant cumulative impact on water conservation efforts.  Not to mention if you conserve water you also lower water bills.

The bathroom and kitchen are two areas of the house with the greatest water consumption.  Some common bathroom and kitchen water efficiency efforts simply include being aware of running water and modifying your behavior accordingly.  Upgrading to more efficient equipment and implementing water flow controls is also an option.

For example, leaving the water run while you brush your teeth (or shave) can quickly add to your monthly usage.  Consider that the average bathroom tap runs at 2 gallons a minute, leaving the tap run while you brush your teeth (assuming brush time at one minute, two times a day) could equate to an excess of 4 gallons of water used per day (or 120 gallons per month).  Along this same line, shortening your showers by a just a minute or two can shave gallons off your water usage.  Choosing showers over filling the bathtub also provides another option to conserve.  As for the kitchen, if you are washing dishes by hand, fill the sink or a bowl with water, rather than washing dishes with the tap continuously running.

Another large water hog is the toilet.  Upgrading to a newer, more efficient toilet is an effective option.  Some older toilets can use between 4 – 7 gallons of water per flush, where as the more efficient, low flow toilets use on average 1.5 gallons of water per flush.  While replacing equipment may not be an option, identifying and fixing your toilet for leaks is another way to potentially save water and money.  A common and inexpensive test involves putting dye in the tank, waiting roughly 30 minutes, and then checking the bowl for dye – if dye has leaked into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that is wasting water and costing you money.  Check your seals if you’re a do-it-yourself-er, or bring in a plumber to take a look.

For both the bathroom and the kitchen, installing a low-flow faucet shower head and/or low-flow faucet aerators provides a relatively simple and inexpensive means to conserve water.  High efficiency dish-washers and laundry machines also provide a great opportunity.  While these upgrades are more capital intensive, you can realize significant water (and utility) savings over the long haul.  A high-efficiency dish washer also means less pre-washing or rinsing of dishes up front.  Also, minimizing garbage disposal usage helps to reduce water consumption.  For regular tips on ways to conserve water – visit Water Use it Wisely or 25 tips on water conservation at earthyeasy.com.

As a final note, if you are thinking of upgrading to more efficient, water-wise equipment, you should check with your local water utility as some offer discounts or rebates on high efficiency equipment.

What’s your best tip to conserve water?