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Improving your home’s water efficiency is good for the environment and great for your wallet. Since the 1990s, residential water consumption has decreased by 22%, but America still has plenty of room for improvement. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household uses 300 gallons of water per day or about 170 gallons per person. By contrast, the average Australian uses just 36 gallons of water a day. If you’re ready to upgrade your home and take control of your water use, here are a few things to discuss with your plumbing company.
- Adopt Water-Efficient Habits
Adopting environmentally friendly household habits is the easiest way to curb your water use as well as your water-heating bills. The best part is that these changes don’t cost a thing, and you can start saving today. Here are a few simple ideas that our plumbing company recommends reducing water consumption in and outside your home.
- The average American showers for 8.2 minutes, which requires approximately 17 gallons of water. By taking shorter showers or using a timer, you can easily cut your shower-related water use in half.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving. This simple, painless change can save 8 gallons per day or 200 gallons a month.
- If you prefer cool drinking water, keep a pitcher in the fridge so that you don’t have to wait for the tap to get cold.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full to minimize water consumption. If you wash your dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill the sink with soapy water and use a separate rinse container.
- Consider building or purchasing a rain barrel. About 15% of residential water consumption goes toward watering lawns and gardens.
- If you have an irrigation system, turn it off following heavy rain, and think about adding drought-tolerant plants recommended for xeriscaping.
- When washing laundry, avoid using the permanent press and extra rinse settings, which use an additional 5 gallons of water per wash.
- If you have an automatic washing machine, run full loads only to minimize water use. Otherwise, adjust the water level to the appropriate setting.
- Have your plumbing company perform a water audit to detect leaks and identify the most cost-effective improvements.
- Switch to a Low-flow Toilet
Toilets account for nearly one-quarter of household water use, which makes the porcelain throne the king of residential consumption. Replacing your commode with a low-flow or dual-flush model can unlock substantial savings. Before 1980, toilets used about 5 gallons of water per flush. However, new valve designs have reduced this rate to 1.6 gallons without sacrificing power.
Even if you have an older low-flow model, upgrading to a WaterSense-certified toilet could save a family of four 16,000 gallons of water annually, which is almost enough water to fill a backyard swimming pool. For added savings, ask your plumbing company about installing a dual-flush toilet that can cut your water use by an additional 20% and lower your water bills by another $99 per year.
- Upgrade Showerheads and Faucets
Showers account for 20% of residential water use, which makes them the second-largest water user in most homes. In the past, showerheads used anywhere from 3 to 5 gallons per minute. However, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain now installs models that cut water consumption down to 2 gallons per minute or less. This upgrade can save a family of two 1,800 gallons per year, which is enough to wash 44 loads of laundry.
As a bonus, efficient showerheads can lower your water heating bills. The same benefits apply to low-flow faucet adapters and fixtures. A plumbing company can fit your existing faucets with aerators or replace your fixtures to provide an attractive, water-saving update that has practical, environmental and aesthetic benefits. Low-flow faucets that use less than 2.5 gallons of water per minute can save you 400 gallons of water annually.
- Install Water-Saving Appliances
Clothes washing machines are major water users. They account for nearly one-fifth of residential water use. If you haven’t already, consider purchasing a high efficiency washing machine. Energy Star-qualified models use 35 to 50% less water and half as much energy. Your plumbing company can install new water supply lines and complete the final connections. It’s also a good idea to have the hoses replaced every three to five years to prevent leaks and costly water damage.
Dishwashers may consume a substantial amount of water. Today’s most efficient models use just 4 to 6 gallons of water per cycle, which makes them 15% more efficient than standard models and about twice as efficient as older 1990s-era models that used 10 to 15 gallons of water per load. During the upgrade, your plumbing company can inspect or replace the water supply lines, which are a common source of hidden water leaks.
- Fix Leaks Promptly
Water leaks account for roughly 8% of residential water consumption or about 17 gallons per day. Leaks cost you extra money 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A faucet that drips just 10 times a minute wastes more than 340 gallons of water annually, and large leaks, such as damaged supply lines, can waste thousands of gallons and hundreds of dollars in short order. Toilets are also notorious for causing high water bills if the handle sticks or the flapper ball doesn’t form a good seal.
While outdoor leaks tend to cause larger water losses overall, indoor leaks can cause substantial property damage. The good news is that a professional plumbing company can fix most problems quickly and easily. In most cases, all it takes is a new washer or valve to fix the leak and stop the pennies from trickling out of your wallet.
For more ways to lower your home’s water use, contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain. As a full-service plumbing company, we offer a variety of products and services designed to curb your utility consumption. Our experts can help your family take advantage of the latest water-saving innovations.