If you’re fed up with drowning under hefty water bills, the first place to reduce your family’s overall water usage is the bathroom. “Up to half the water consumed in a home is used in the bathroom,” reports HomeEnergy.org. There are four main areas within the bathroom where water usage can be dramatically cut to save money and natural resources.
1–Replace outdated toilets with newer models. Plumbing expert F.H. Furr explains, “Toilets actually account for about 26% of water use in single family homes.” Any toilet manufactured prior to 1994 was not under the U.S. federal mandate limiting toilet water to 1.6 gallons per flush. Upgrading means 50-75% less water will be flushed out of your home. To increase the savings, upgrade to a high-efficiency toilet, which uses 1.3 gallons per flush. Bump up your conservation efforts further with a dual-flush toilet, which has two flushing options depending on your needs–a half flush using .8 gallons and the full flush using 1.6 gallons. Look for the EPA’s WaterSense seal of approval, indicating the toilet exceeds federal mandates while still getting the job done.
2–Replace shower heads and faucets installed prior to 1994. Newer faucets use less than 2.5 gallons of water per minute, up to four gallons less than older models. Replacing the faucet head screen with an inexpensive aerator further reduces the flow down to one gallon per minute while still giving a full-flow feel. Low-flow shower heads have a similar effect for a slightly higher price tag. Some shower heads offer different flow options, including a no-flow feature to briefly turn water on and off from the head.
3–Hunt down and repair leaks. According to F.H. Furr, “The average home . . . suffers from leaks that add 10% to your water bill each month!” Leaks are generally an easy fix, such as an ill-fitting toilet flap or a connection that needs tightening. If, however, you suspect a leak or notice a constant drip you cannot remedy, call a professional plumber. The savings in your water bill will rapidly compensate for the cost.
4–Improve water conservation habits. Turn off the water when it’s not being used. Nobody needs to run the water during an entire two-minute teeth-brushing session. To wash hands, wet them briefly, turn the water off while lathering, and turn it back on for a quick rinse. Use that same approach while showering. Contrary to popular western culture, daily showers are not necessary if faces and smelly areas are washed with a washcloth each morning. Hair and skin will benefit by fewer washings, allowing the natural oils to nourish them instead of being stripped away by harsh products. Opt for showers over baths, and don’t wander off while pre-heating the shower.
Take a serious look at these four areas of water conservation in your bathroom. You will save money not only on the water bill, but also on the energy required to heat the excess water you were previously using. Not only that, you will be helping in a global effort to use resources responsibly. This is a win-win for your pocket book and the environment.