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Conserving Water

What can I do?  You might be amazed!

If you live in an area where water shortages are not an issue, consider yourself lucky. Nearly 450 million people in 29 countries face severe water shortages. Predictions indicate that within 5 years, at least 36 U.S. states will face water shortages due to a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, and waste. 

But there is hope -- research has shown that residential water use could be reduced by as much as 50 percent through efficiency. Here are a few simple, low-cost suggestions for reducing your family's water consumption.

Minimize appliance water consumption.
Outside the bathroom, most water is used to wash clothes and dishes. Rather than wearing dirty clothes and using paper plates, keep these tips in mind while tackling daily chores

Reduce water use from showers and faucets.
Although it's often the smallest room in the house, the bathroom is where 75 percent of indoor household water consumption occurs. Seem impossible? Consider this: The average 6-minute shower uses about 20 gallons of water! Minimize your appliance consumption too.  Here are some helpful tips:

No cost ideas:

bulletFully Loaded:  Dishwashers and clothes washers should be operated when full for optimum water conservation. If you must wash partial loads, adjust the water levels as appropriate
bulletThe dishwasher is your friend: Even old-school dishwashers don't use as much water per dish as hand-washing. Newer, more efficient dishwashers use only 1/6 of the water used during hand-washing, and save 230 hours of your time each year
bulletScrape, don't rinse: Pre-rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher is unnecessary. Scrape off food and then trust that bad boy to do its job.
bulletPass on Permanent Press: Avoid the permanent press cycle when washing clothes, which can use an additional 5 gallons for the extra rinse.
bulletLimit Shower time to 5 minutes or less, or even better share that shower with the one you love.

Low Cost Ideas:

bulletLess than $10:
Install an on/off valve between the shower arm and showerhead. This temporarily shuts off the flow while maintaining the temperature, and can be a useful water-saver while soaping up or shaving.
bullet$5 to $25: Faucet Aerators (less than two gallons per minute).
faucets typically use 7 gallons per minute and new faucets use about 3.5 gallons per minute.  These kitchen and bathroom faucets can be replaced with low flow faucet aerators, which are available in sizes ranging from .5 to 2.5 gallon per minute.  These aerators mix air with the water to make an effective spray pattern.  By replacing old aerators with new more efficient one you can save a lot of water.
bullet$10 - $50: Install a low-flow (less than 2 gallons per minute) showerhead. The shower accounts for approximately 20% of indoor water use, and 40% to 50% of hot water use.  Studies have shown that most people use 4 to 5 gallons of water a minute when they shower.  Some showerheads can flow at a higher rate of up to 8 gallons per minute. Previous low-flow showerheads sacrificed water pressure for efficiency, but now there are many options of well made low-flow shower heads.  Some have the control of being able to reduce the pressure while shaving or lathering up.  You can continue to enjoy an invigorating shower, and still save water and energy in your shower by replacing a high-flow showerhead with a new low-flow showerhead.  These  low-flow showerheads are designed to maintain a refreshing spray and operate within a range of 1.5 to 2.5 gallons of water for each minute.  Low flow showerheads increases the shower force by increasing the velocity while dispersing the water into many tiny droplets that still give you an invigorating shower with less water.
bullet$20 - $50: Insulate all accessible hot-water pipes, especially those within 3 feet of the water heater. You'll get hot water faster, avoid wasting H2O while it heats up, and save energy in the process.
bullet$40 - $90:  Double flush toilet retrofit, installs in most 1.6 gallon toilets (see toilets below for working details).
bullet$150 - $200: Place a point of use water heater (small tank or tankless) water on long water line runs to sinks, showers, etc.  Where you may run the water for a minute or 2 until it gets hot.  Remember the time waiting on the water to warm up is literally water down the drain!

Maybe it is time to upgrade that equipment:


Toilets are the biggest water wasters!

Each day, the U.S. uses 5.8 billion gallons of fresh water to flush waste. If you're in the market for a new porcelain throne, check out options with either a very low (less than 1.6) gallon per flush (gpf) rating, or dual flush controls. If you have an older toilet, you could be using up to 40% of you indoor water use on toilet flushing. Older toilets can use any where from 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush,

There is a technology called a double flush toilet, this provides 2 buttons for flushing: one at 1.6 gpf for solid waste, and another at only .06 - 0.8 gpf for liquids. These double-duty flushers can reduce water usage by up to 67 percent compared with traditional toilets.  This technology can also retrofit most existing 1.6 gallon low flow toilets to the double flush. New double flush toilets average is cost $400 and up.

Feeling even earthier? Go for a waterless composting toilet and be the envy of all your neighbors!

If you do not have the new budget for a new toilet, check yours and try these fixes:

bulletCheck for leaks:  Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
bulletDisplace water on older toilets: Displace water: Most older toilets don't require nearly as much water as they use (3.5-5 gallons) to flush properly. To "trick" your toilet into using less water, place a half-gallon plastic bottle inside your toilet tank to displace water volume. (Be sure at least 2.5 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly.) Ideally, weigh down the bottle with sand or pebbles so it doesn't interfere with the tank mechanisms. This simple retrofit could save a three-person family 225 gallons of water per month! Not a do-it-yourselfer? For only a few dollars, you can purchase a manufactured toilet bag designed to displace 0.8 gallons of water with every flush


Consider buying a water-saving front-loading clothes washer,.  Horizontal -axis Washing Machines.  A typical household does nearly 400 loads of laundry a year, using about 40 50 gallons per full load with a conventional washer.  In contrast new horizontal-axis washing machines only use less than 20 gallons per load.  These new washing machine are different in that instead of filling the entire tub with water and agitating the clothes covered with water, the new, water efficient machines are front loading and fill the tub only partially full and rotate the clothes through the water.  These water efficient clothes washer not only use 1/3 the amount of water as conventional washers but they also of the energy.  Therefore, you can save money by using less water, less detergent, and less energy.  These new washing machines are made by a number of different manufactures and are carried by appliance retailers nationwide.  Think about it, if you do 5 loads of laundry per week you could be saving up to 150 gallons per week by replacing the washer.  THAT'S 7800 GALLONS PER YEAR!


Consider a new dishwasher:  Newer models use almost the amount of water that a 10 year old model would



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