Conserve Water in the Wettest Place in the House

Because 75 percent of all home water usage takes place within the bathroom, conserving it there makes the most sense. Even in places where water is abundant, using less water is of great benefit, and it couldn’t be easier. 

So, the next time you sidle up to your bathroom vanity, keep these water-saving tips — and the reasons for them — in mind.

Why Bother?

Whether you’re concerned about the environment or just want to lower your monthly bills and keep your septic system in tip-top shape as long as possible, conserving water is extremely beneficial to the individual homeowner, but increasingly, it matters on a larger scale as well. Overloading city sewer systems can result in untreated sewage flowing into lakes, rivers and watersheds causing costly and dangerous pollution. When less water flows through your municipal sewer system, it can handle the workload more easily and more efficiently for a longer time. A well-running sewer system also cuts down on chances for pollution. As cities grow, older sewer systems are being strained, but some communities have managed to avoid expensive sewer system upgrades and expansions through simple citywide household water conservation efforts.

The Sink

From keeping the tap on while you’re brushing your teeth to the subtle and consistent drip that results from a worn faucet washer, the bathroom sink sees a lot of action and needs dutiful maintenance to make sure it isn’t a source of water waste. Here are some helpful tips to keep you conserving water while you’re using the sink.

·       Check for leaks, and fix them. A small drip from a leaking faucet or worn pipe can waste as much as 20 gallons of water a day.

·       Turn off the tap while you brush. Once you get your toothbrush wet to begin brushing your teeth, keep it off until you’re ready to rinse your mouth and the brush.

·       Install a low-flow aerator. Low-flow aerators work at conservation even when you forget. Each time you turn on the faucet, you’ll save as much as 3.5 gallons per minute.

The Shower

For some people, waking up in the morning can’t be accomplished without a hot shower, and getting clean after a hard day’s work or a hot yoga session is a treat no one should forego. These shower-time changes are small, but they yield big results.

·       Take shorter showers. A five-minute shower can use anywhere from 20 to 40 gallons of water.

·       Don’t bathe. Believe it or not, taking a shower — if you’re being mindful of the time you’re taking — tends to use less water than taking a bath, which can require more than 40 gallons just to fill the tub.

·       Install a low-flow showerhead. Low-flow showerheads use less than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Compare a ten-minute shower at that usage to standard usage, which is at least five gallons per minute.

The Toilet

Making sure your toilet is doing its part in conservation is easy.

·       Put a float booster in the tank. Float boosters reduce the amount of water it takes to fill the tank, which reduces the amount of water used in each flush. You can also fill a couple of plastic bottles with sand or rock and put them in the back of the tank, too. The idea is to displace the water that would normally be filling the space with something isn’t water. Just make sure you leave at least 3 gallons of water in the tank, or your toilet won’t flush properly.

·       Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt or a tissue, up to five to seven gallons of water gets used.

·       Check for leaks, and fix them. Checking for a toilet leak is actually kind of fun. Just put food coloring in the back of the tank, and if the color appears in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that needs to be addressed.

Water conservation benefits individuals, whole households and whole communities, and it only takes a little bit of effort and attention. By changing habits, minding repairs and upgrading a few items, one of our most valuable resources can be better protected.


 About the Author: Faith Marshall is a contributing blogger and home improvement junkie.