Water Use and Energy
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the question is posed about “what water use and energy have to do with each other. In most cases, electricity or gas are used to heat water, and this costs you money. In addition, your water utility uses energy to purify and pump water to your home, as well as treat sewage generated by the community.”
Currently, about eight percent of U.S. energy demand goes to treating, pumping, and heating water, which is enough electricity to power more than 5 million homes for an entire year. Water heating also accounts for 19 percent of home energy use.
Water conservation news
By reducing your household water use, you not only reduce your water bill, but you also help to reduce the energy required to pump and treat public water supplies. A startling fact from the EPA website states: “If just 1 percent of American homes replaced an older toilet with a new WaterSense labeled toilet, the country would save more than 38 million kilowatt-hours of electricity-enough electricity to power more than 43,000 households for one month.”
Home Maintenance and Household Practices
Below are 3 home water conservation strategies and everyday household practices to help you conserve water. By making just a few small changes, you can save a significant amount of water, which will help you save money and preserve water supplies for current and future generations.
Maintenance Inside the House
Fix Leaks – You can significantly reduce water use by simply repairing leaks in fixtures (faucets and showerheads), pipes, and toilets. A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. That would be like flushing your toilet more than 50 times for no reason!
If your water heater tank leaks, you may need a new water heater.
Check faucets and pipes for leaks: A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.
Water Conservation Strategy #1: Don’t use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.
Check your toilets for leaks: Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks. Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
Water Conservation Strategy #2: Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads. Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing soap recommend not pre-rinsing dishes which is a big water savings.
With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 20 liters (5 gallons) for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers. New Energy Star rated washers use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving front-load washer.
Water Conservation Strategy #3: Put plastic bottles or float booster in your toilet tank. To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Or, buy an inexpensive tank bank or float booster. This may save ten or more gallons of water per day. (From the EPA.gov website)
Be sure at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. If there is not enough water to get a proper flush, users will hold the lever down too long or do multiple flushes to get rid of waste. Two flushings at 1.4 gallons is worse than a single 2.0 gallon flush. A better suggestion would be to buy an adjustable toilet flapper that allow for adjustment of their per flush use. Then the user can adjust the flush rate to the minimum per flush setting that achieves a single good flush each time. (Check out Earthcare.us for more information).
More toilet conservation ideas: For new installations, consider buying “low flush” toilets, which use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5 gallons. Replacing an 18 liter per flush toilet with an ultra-low volume (ULV) 6 liter flush model represents a 70% savings in water flushed and will cut indoor water use by about 30%.
BONUS WATER CONSERVATION STRATEGY
Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators: Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. “Low-flow” means it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
You can easily install a ShowerStart showerhead, or add a ShowerStart converter to existing showerheads, which automatically pauses a running shower once it gets warm. Also, all household faucets should be fit with aerators. This single best home water conservation method is also the cheapest! (Google these economic, green-friendly fixtures).