Growing up many of us are instructed by our mothers to wash your face with warm water to wake up and help get the “sleepies” from our eyes. What normal kid doesn’t flip the faucet on full stream to let the water heat up? Then he leaves it running while he rubs his face down and tries to wake up a bit more? That is just the first 5 minutes of the average American day! Estimates vary, but statistically, each person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. Does that number surprise you? Remember, with each toilet flush, there is water. For your shower? There is water. To wash your hands for dinner, there is water! Here’s 10 simple ways to reduce your water usage.
- TURN OFF THE TAP WHEN YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH. Doing this can reduce your water usage by 1.5 gallons of water per minute.
- INSTALL A DUAL FLUSH TOILET. A dual flush toilet helps minimize water flushing down the commode (and then filling up the toilet tank) when not needed. There is one volume for liquids and one volume for solids.
- TAKE A SHORTER SHOWER. In an average home, showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons and lasts for 8.2 minutes at an average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.1 Consider getting an aerated shower head, which combines water and air, or inserting a regulator in your shower, which puts an upper limit on flow rates.
- DON’T USE THE TOILET AS A WASTE BASKET. You blow your nose or wipe something off the counter with a square of toilet paper. Don’t ball it up and flush it down the commode. Every time you flush in that capacity you are wasting 5-7 gallons of water.
- WATER HOUSEHOLD PLANTS WITH DISCARDED SHOWER WATER. Think of your grey water as well when showering. Grey water is great for non-edible plants and if you place a bucket in the shower while you take a shower you can “catch” gallons of “discarded” water which you can then use to water the plants around the house without drawing new water.
- INSULATE YOUR WATER PIPES. By using a pipe insulation sleeve you can cause your water to get warmer, faster. This eliminates having to waste water while you wait for it to warm up.
- FIX YOUR LEAKY FAUCET. A drip from the bathroom sink is more than just annoying. It is wasteful. If you had one faucet drip two drops a minute then in a year you would waste 149 gallons of otherwise usable water.
- TURN OFF THE FAUCET WHILE YOU SHAVE. Most men love a good, close shave. This shaving is typically done at the bathroom sink. There is no need to leave the water running though. Fill the sink with good, warm water, and turn the faucet off. You can clean your razor and remove the shaving cream with just a couple of good swishes in the sink bowl.
- FILL THE WASHING MACHINE. Conventional washers built before 2011 use about 40 gallons of water per load. Be sure to fill your load tub and adjust the water level in the washer to the amount needed for the load.
- AVOID USING RUNNING WATER TO THAW FROZEN FOODS. Consider just removing your food from the freezer with enough time to defrost it overnight in the refrigerator.
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