Water is one of our most important – and frequently used – resources. Accordingly to the EPA, each American uses an average of 88 gallons of water at home per day. Unfortunately, we all tend to waste a lot of water, too.
Cutting down on you water usage benefits everyone. It reduces your home’s water bill, makes your area less prone to drought, and is better for the environment. Let’s look at ways you may be wasting water in different areas of your home.
In the kitchen
- Running a half-full dishwasher – Try waiting until the dishwasher is full to maximize water use. If you have to run it half empty, use the “light cycle” setting.
- Letting the water run while washing dishes – You can save water by putting a stopper in the drain, filling up the sink with soap and water, letting your dishes soak, and then scrub and rinse them all at once.
- Not fixing a dripping faucet – A leaky faucet can waste up to 3,000 gallons per year. This can apply to any faucet in your home.
In the bathroom
- Flushing the wrong things down the toilet – Using the toilet as a trashcan can waste about 2-5 gallons per flush. Plus, flushing items like paper towels, cotton balls, and feminine care products can cause a clog in your plumbing.
- Taking extra-long showers – The average shower uses 2.5 gallons per minute. So every minute extra you stay in the shower is unnecessary water and money going down the drain.
- Not using a low-flow showerhead – Switching to a low-flow showerhead can save up to 800 gallons of water per month.
- Not fixing a toilet with a worn out flapper – If you hear your toilet running periodically when not in use, it usually means the flapper (or valve seal) is worn out. For a few dollars, this replacement can instantly cut down on wasted water.
- Running the water while brushing your teeth – If you brush for two minutes and let the faucet run, you could be wasting about 3 gallons of water each time.
- Using an older toilet – New toilets use up to 1.5 gallons per flush. Compare that to older models that can use up to 7 gallons – that’s a big difference.
Around and outside the house
- Not fixing leaky pipes – The EPA estimates that household leaks waste 1 trillion gallons of water nationwide each year. Plus, ignoring or not noticing a leaky pipe can cause major damage in your home.
- Washing small loads of clothes – A typical washing machine uses 35-50 gallons of water, regardless of how many clothes are in it. So doing two smaller loads is using twice as much water.
- Overwatering your lawn – Consider when and how often you water. The morning is ideal since it’s cooler and less of the water will evaporate. Also, watering your lawn once or twice a week when it’s dry is usually enough. Finally, consider using a rain barrel to water small lawns or flower gardens.
- Spraying the driveway or sidewalk with the hose – A garden hose can use more than 10 gallons of water per minute. If possible, sweep up with a broom instead of spraying.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much effort or change in lifestyle to significantly reduce your water usage. Follow even a few of these tips and you’ll likely see your water bill drop.
If you’re ready to install more water-efficient products in your home, such as low-flow toilets or showerheads, give Reichelt Plumbing Inc. a call at (219) 322-4906. Our licensed plumbers can show you how you can be a water saver instead of a water waster.