Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Where does your water go?




In a recent Facebook post, we asked all of you what you wanted to learn from the blogs.  We had a popular response from Stephanie Sharp who wanted to know:
"Interesting figures like average gallons used per shower, bath, dishwasher, washing machine...help me extrapolate!"
Extrapolate, we shall!  First, let's look at where the "average" family consumes most of their water:
Pie chart showing indoor water usage. Shower: 16.8% Toilet: 26.7% Faucet: 15.7% Clothes washer: 21.7% Leaks: 13.7% Other: 5.3% 


Toilet- 26.7%
Clothes Washer- 21.7%
Shower: 16.8%
Faucet: 15.7%
Leaks: 13.7%
Other: 5.3%

Since a majority of water goes to flushing the toilet, washing clothes, and taking showers, let's explore those.

Water Sense 


Toilets
-Toilets installed before 1993 use between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water every flush, toilets installed between 1993 and 2012 use about 1.6 gallons per flush.  A new WaterSense labeled toilet uses no more than 1.28 gallons per flush.,

-Leaky Toilet?  Leaks can account for 13.7% of your water usage. You can waste 300-500 GALLONS of water every day from a leaky toilet.



How can you fix this?

1. Preventative Measures: Buy a WaterSense Toilet- They can save 75-80% more water than older toilets! Find more information at EPA's website.

2. Routine Checks: Check for leaks frequently!  Sometimes, you may have a leak even if you can't hear the toilet running.  The Water Conservation Office loves giving out blue Toilet Tabs, which can be placed in the tank of the toilet.  If you see blue in the bowl, you have a leak.  You can also do this by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank.  Lowe's has a great video on how to do it!
Energy Star Appliance

Washing Machine
Did you know?  Washing machines can use 40-55 gallons of water per load!  

How can you reduce this?

1. Preventative Measures: When shopping for a new washing machine, look for those products that are energy efficient.   High efficiency Energy Star washing machines use less than 27 gallons per load.  They save water and electricity!

2. Routine Checks: Run your washer only when you have a full load.  If you must wash a smaller load, be sure to match the settings (small, medium, large, x-large) correctly in order to save water.




Shower
The shower can use about 7 gallons per minute. 

How can you reduce this?

1. Preventative Measures: The Water Conservation Office loves giving away water-efficient shower heads at special events, but you can also find them in hardware stores. They can save up to about 5 gallons per minute!

2. Routine Checks:  We recommend taking a five-minute shower, or less!  Look at these numbers:



With a 5 gallon per minute showerhead:
5 min shower= 35 gallons
10 min shower= 70 gallons
30 min shower=210 gallons
1 hr= 420 gallons

Multiply this by the number of people in your household, and you will realize how important it is to keep showers short and install a more efficient showerhead!


Well, that just about sums it up!  Those are the top three water consumptive activities inside your house, but here are a few more quick facts:
  • Baths: 28-36 gallons for full tub
  • Running Faucet: 3 gallons per minute (You can save here too by installing a WaterSense aerator available at the Water Conservation Office or at thea hardware store. Make sure to turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth!)
  • Dishwasher: 15 gallons per load (you can save here by using an Energy Star Dishwasher)
  • Lawn Watering: 3-10 gallons per minute (fyi, more plants die from overwatering during drought than from not watering enough.)

If you suspect you have a leaky faucet/bath, you can figure out how many gallons you are wasting by counting the number of drips per minute:
  • 60 drops/minute=192 gallons per month
  • 90 drops/minute=310 gallons per month
  • 120 drops/minute= 429 gallons per month

We hope that this post has been relevant and helpful to you!  Leave questions or comments below!

Here are links to useful websites:

Guide to Water Use
EPA's Indoor Water Use
Water Sense Product Search




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