Stop Wasting Water

Most of us tend to take a lot of things for granted until they are not there when we truly need or expect them. T.V., lights, and electricity in general fall into that category just to name a few. The one thing that is impossible for us humans to live without though is water, that’s right, good ol’ H20 as Waterboy would say. Water is what keeps us hydrated, clean, and alive for that matter, but we take it for granted the most by wasting it. Running it while brushing our teeth, taking 20 minute showers, doing laundry for 2 shirts, watering the lawn in the dead of summer during a drought, the list goes on.

Americans used 44 billion gallons of water per day in 2005 that served 258 million people, that number is astonishing and downright disgraceful. In case you didn’t have a calculator nearby, that is 170 gallons per person for ONE day (now not every person used 170 gallons per day, some people used more and some less, but it worked out to be 170 gallons per person mathematically). That is why I am going to share with you a few tips to help cut back and save our water supply. Where is all this water being used?

Toilet

The largest user of water per day is the toilet using 26.7% of all household water. The toilet uses up to 5 gallons per flush depending on how efficient your toilet is (older ones use 3.5-5 gallons per flush whereas newer ones use 1-2.5 gallons per flush). This can equate to anywhere from 5-25 gallons of water per day. Think of how much water and money you could save if you still have an older toilet. Switching to a newer toilet could save you up to 20 gallons of water per day or 7,300 gallons a year.

Clothes Washer

The clothes washer comes in second using 21.7% of water in the household. A top loading machine uses around 40 gallons of water per cycle, while a front loader uses 10-24 gallons of water per cycle. Saving water here is pretty easy, do laundry only when you absolutely need to. Doing laundry every day is unnecessary. If you are using a top loader washing machine and want to save more water and money, switch to a front loader. Doing so could save you 16-30 gallons per wash.

Shower

The shower comes in third on the list using 16.8% of water in the house. Saving here is very easy as well, take less time. Go into the shower with a mission, cleaning yourself and nothing else. People like to stand under the shower and almost fall asleep in some cases, this is wasteful. A shower should take no more than 5-8 minutes or less to complete. It isn’t the American idol tryouts, don’t stand there singing for 20 minutes, get accomplished what you went in there for.

Here is a quick way to figure out how much your shower uses: If your home was built pre 1980, your shower may use around 5-7 gallons per minute, 1981-1991 uses 3.5 gallons per minute, and 1992-present is 2.5 gallons per minute. So if you are taking a 20 minute shower at these flow rates you will use 100/70/50 gallons per shower. How can you save? Simple, cut your shower time in half, doing so can save you 25-50 gallons of water per shower, or 9,125-18,250 gallons per year.

Sinks and Faucets

Faucets account for 15.7% of water usage amongst a household. How can you save on water usage at the sink? I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but don’t leave the faucet running while you’re brushing your teeth. The average person takes about 2 minutes to brush their teeth, at a 3 gallon per minute flow rate, this equates to 6 gallons of water just to brush your teeth! That is entirely unnecessary, so shutting the sink off while you brush can save you up to 5 gallons of water, times that by 2-3 times a day that you’re brushing and you are saving yourself 10-15 gallons of water per day or 3,650-5,475 gallons per year.

Another way to save at the sink is by turning the water valves under the kitchen and bathroom sinks halfway off. Turning the valve can help save you up to 50%, maybe even more depending on how much you close the valve, on your water usage. This is a technique most people look over or, most of the time, don’t even know about. Don’t worry though, there will still be plenty of water for you to wash dishes, brush teeth, or wash hands.

Leaks

Leaks calls for 13.7% of water use in a household. If you have 3 faucets in your home leaking at 2 drops per minute, you are wasting 208 gallons of water per year (if you have more faucets you can calculate it here: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc4.html). So inspect your faucets and water pipes for leaks, or check out your local business listings and call in an expert to check them for you, doing so will save you money and water.

So the cliffs for those too lazy to read all that (don’t worry I don’t blame you lol). Update your faucets, toilets, and shower heads to newer ones with a less flow rate to save big. Inspect your water pipes, sinks, etc. for leaks. Spend less time showering, don’t run the water while brushing your teeth, and don’t do laundry every single day.

All together if you follow everything listed in this article you can save yourself up to 34,883 gallons of water per year (note that this figure could be more and could be less depending on what your GPM rates are on your sinks, shower heads, etc.). The average price (depending on where you live it could be more or less) of water is .006 cents a gallon, so that equals a savings of up to $209.29 per year on water.

Anum Yoon

Anum Yoon is the founder and editor of Current on Currency. She loves all things personal finance, which is why you'll find her work all over the PF blogosphere. Catch her updates on Twitter @anumyoon!

One thought on “Stop Wasting Water

  • March 13, 2012 at 12:15 am
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    Incredible stats. It is amazing we still have water to go around. Thanks for the reminder on not taking long showers. Fortunately my laundry room has front loading washers and I only wash when I need to.

    Reply

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