The most recent information from the EPA shows that the average U.S. household uses more than 300 gallons of water per day. However, now that many people are spending more time at home, that number might be even higher. Whereas most of us were relying on restrooms and kitchens at work and public facilities, that “business” is now being conducted at home--and as a result, water bills are going up.
If you’re looking to lower your water usage and start saving money, there are several ways to begin, starting with some good habits and some “water-smart” plumbing improvements.
START SMALL: 3 WATER-SAVING HABITS YOU CAN START TODAY
1. Use a “shower bucket.”
If you’re like most people, you have to wait a minute or two before the hot water starts coming out of your bathtub or shower faucet. During that time, 2.5 to 3 gallons of water can go down the drain! Instead of letting it go to waste, collect it in a bucket or other large container to use for tasks like house cleaning, making homemade cleaning solutions, watering plants, shaving, and handwashing delicate clothing items.
2. Use your dishwasher rather than handwashing.
Many people are surprised to learn that handwashing requires more water and energy than using a relatively new dishwasher. If you own an ENERGY-STAR certified dishwasher, you’re definitely missing out by handwashing because your efficient appliance can reduce your water usage by nearly 5,000 gallons a year.
3. Only wash full loads of laundry.
Some newer washing machines can adjust how much water they add to the cycle based on how many clothes are going in. However, if you're like most people, your washing machine adds the same amount of water regardless. This is why you should postpone doing the laundry (yes, you have a legitimate excuse!) until you have at least one full load to wash.
NEXT STEPS: 4 SMART PLUMBING IMPROVEMENTS
1. Repair small leaks.
Don’t let “small leaks” like a dripping faucet or a toilet that won’t stop running slip under your radar. WaterSense reports that leaks in the average U.S. home account for more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water yearly. You can run 270 loads of laundry with that amount of water!
2. Equip your faucets with aerators.
Frequent handwashing is a must to prevent illnesses from spreading, but that can lead to a lot of water down the drain. An aerator injects air into the water coming out of your faucet. This does two things:
- The volume of water that comes out is lower.
- You don’t notice the lower water volume.
It’s a win-win!
3. Replace your showerhead with a low-flow model.
Many new low-flow showerheads work similarly to a faucet with an aerator. A common complaint about low-flow showerheads of the past was that they supplied weak water pressure. To avoid this kind of disappointment, make sure that you opt for a WaterSense-labeled showerhead.
Why does this matter? To earn the WaterSense label, products must: “use at least 20% less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.” Basically, this means you won’t have to own a dissatisfying plumbing fixture just to reduce your water usage.
4. Insulate your hot water pipes.
Think about it: on the way from your water heater to a faucet, the water will lose heat through your pipes--especially during cold weather. This means you’ll spend more time waiting at the faucet for warm water to arrive. By insulating your hot water pipes, you’ll reduce the heat loss that occurs. In some cases, you can even lower your water heater’s temperature setting and save money on your energy bill as well.
Not sure about your DIY plumbing skills?
At The Rooter Works Plumbing and Drains, our friendly, experienced plumbers provide top-notch plumbing fixture installations and repairs in Columbus, Franklin, and Knox County. Call us at (614) 412-3324 to schedule your appointment or use our online form. Don’t forget to check out our latest discounts!