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April 20, 2014  |  Login
Taming Toilets and Shaving Down Showers: Saving Water in the Bathroom
By Dr. Alan Greene

Most of the water you use in your home each day—about 75 percent—flows in and out of the bathroom. That’s a huge slice of the pie! So implementing some water-saving strategies in this room is a terrific way to make a quick but significant green impact.

Saving With Your Toilet

Think twice before you crumple up that stray tissue and dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet. Toilets eat up more water than any other user in the home—up to 28 percent (GreenHomeGuide Staff).

If your toilet was purchased before 1994, it uses about five gallons of water per flush. Newer toilets cut that amount to about 1.6 gallons per flush. And an ultra-low-flow dual-flush toilet drops the water use to a mere .5 gallon. Some quick math says that a family of four, who each flush the toilet an average eight times per day, can save 13,000 gallons of water per year by using a dual-flush toilet instead of a standard modern toilet, and 52,000 gallons of water compared to the older toilets.

Here are two quick ways to be sure your toilet isn’t wasting water:

  • Check for leaks in your toilet. Squeeze a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the toilet leaks, the color will seep into the toilet bowl within fifteen minutes.

  • Reduce the amount of water used by older toilets by placing a half-gallon plastic jug filled with water and a bit of gravel in the tank. This will displace some of the water, reducing the amount used with each flush.

Saving With Your Shower

Showering uses up about 20 percent of your home’s water consumption (GreenHomeGuide Staff). Showers installed before 1992 put out 5 gallons of water per minute. After that date, the Energy Policy Act required shower­heads to limit water output to 2.5 gallons of water (and you can now buy showerheads that reduce this flow to 1 gallon per minute).

By switching to a low-flow showerhead, a family of four people who each shower for ten minutes per day, can save about 58,000 gallons of water per year!

You might also install a showerhead shutoff valve above the showerhead. This allows you to reduce water flow while lathering up, without losing the hot water in the pipes.



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