Water Conservation

Fixing Leaky Toilets, Shower vs Bath, Brushing Your Teeth, Washing Your Hands, Dishwasher vs Handwashing, Fix Leaky Faucets, Saving While Shaving...

Fixing Leaky Toilets:  Toilets are one of the most common sources of water leaks and the amount of water wasted by a leaking toilet can be mind-blowing.  If a toilet is leaking, on average it wastes about 6,000 gallons of water each month.  In many cases a leaking toilet can exceed 25,000 gallons of wasted water per month and you wouldn’t even know it was leaking until you receive the water bill!              

There are many ways a toilet can leak.  Some toilet leaks are easy to detect and some are difficult even with thorough testing.  The most obvious leaks will cause your toilet to run periodically for a second or two when it wasn’t flushed, and you will hear it.  If you ever hear your toilet running when it wasn’t flushed, your toilet is definitely leaking. 

Many severe toilet leaks are silent and may be difficult to detect.  A “dye test” is an effective way of detecting some of the silent leaks.  You can find many videos on YouTube about how to do this, but it is fairly simple.  To do a dye test, start by pulling the lid off the toilet tank.  Second, add about 10 drops of food coloring into the tank.  Now watch the water in the toilet bowl to see if it starts to change color.  If the water in the toilet bowl turns color within 30 minutes, your toilet is leaking.  The faster the water in the toilet bowl changes, the more severe the leak is. 

One other thing that is simple to check is the overflow tube that is in the tank of the toilet.  The water level in the tank should be about one inch below the top of the overflow tube.  If the water level is at the top of the overflow tube, water may be slowly leaking over the tube and wasting massive amounts of water.

Shower vs Bath:  Take short showers instead of baths.  The average American showers for 8.2 minutes and the average shower uses 2.1 gallons per minute.  So, the average shower uses about 17 gallons of water whereas a bath uses up to 70 gallons. 

Baths and laundry are the primary reasons households with children use more water than households with only adults.  Teaching children to take short showers instead of using the bathtub can save a significant amount of water every month.

For a single person, trimming a minute or two off your normal shower time can save about 125 gallons per month.  If every person in the household reduces their showers by a minute or two it can lead to big savings! 

Another way to save water with showers is by turning the water off while washing your hair and lathering.  This method can save up to 150 gallons a month per person!

Brushing Your Teeth:  Each person can save up to 200 gallons of water per month by shutting off the water while you brush your teeth!  For a family of four, that’s up to 800 gallons of water saved each month!

Washing Your Hands:  If you follow the standardized guidelines to scrub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds when washing your hands, each person could save 180 gallons per month by turning off the tap while they scrub.  Assuming you only wash your hands a few of those times a day at home, each person could still save 60 gallons per month.  It doesn’t seem like much, but for a family of four that is 240 gallons of savings each month and 2,880 gallons per year!

Dishwasher vs. Handwashing:  Many people believe they are saving water by handwashing their dishes instead of using the dishwasher… but in most cases, it isn’t true.  Handwashing dishes typically uses at least 3.5 times more water than an average dishwasher does for the same amount of dishes.  Older dishwashers use about 10 to 15 gallons of water per load, and newer dishwashers use less than 5.5 gallons per load and sometimes under 2 gallons per load.

Another way to save water while washing dishes is to skip the pre-rinsing before putting them into the dishwasher.  Today’s dishwashers are capable of getting the dishes clean without pre-rinsing.  Consumer Reports claims the average household will save about 500 gallons of water per month by not pre-rinsing the dishes.

Fix Leaky Faucets:  Even the slightest drips from leaky faucets can waste a significant amount of water.  At one drip per second a single faucet can wash over 250 gallons of water down the drain every month!

Saving While Shaving:  When shaving with a razor, plug the sink and fill it half way up.  Use that water to rinse your razor instead of running the water the entire time.  This can save up to 300 gallons of water per month for each person who shaves on a regular basis!