Install a Low-Flow Shower Head for Big Energy Savings
Showering is one of the leading ways we use water in the home, accounting for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use. For the average family of 4, this can add up to almost 40 gallons of water a day. That’s close to 1.2 trillion gallons of water used in the United States each year just for showering!
Standard shower heads use a whopping 2.5 gallons of water per minute. By swapping your traditional shower head for a low-flow model, you can save water and money. Since every heated gallon of water used in your home contributes to both your water and gas/electric bills, you’ll reduce the amount of money you spend on both.
Shower heads with the Water Sense label can be purchased at hardware stores and online for less than you might think. Starting at around $25, these models use less than 2 gallons of water per minute and are surprisingly easy to install. The average family could save 2,900 gallons of water and around 1,298.66 cubic feet of gas/370 kilowatt hours of electricity per year with this easy do it yourself project.
Many homeowners assume that changing a shower head is a job for a professional plumber, but it turns out that all you need is a wrench and a little patience. Simply unscrew your old shower head and apply a thin layer of Teflon tape to the threaded end of the water line. The tape can also be purchased in stores and online, and ensures a tight fit between your new shower head and water line. Next, it’s as easy as screwing on the new fixture. Turn the shower on to test for leaks and you’re ready to save money.
Additional ways to save water around the house:
• Turn off the water while you shave or brush your teeth.
• Fix leaky faucets. You can lose more than 20 gallons of water a day from just one drippy faucet.
• If you have kids, set a shower timer for 10 minutes so that they don’t lose track of time.
• Skip the bath! A bath uses up to twice the amount of water that a shower uses.
• Put a bucket in the shower while you’re waiting for the water to warm up and use it to water your plants.
• Install low-flow faucet aerators in your sinks. These mix air with the flow of water and can literally save gallons of water each time you use the sink.
• Consider replacing your toilets with low-flow versions. Flushing is the biggest water waster in the house and the average person flushes at least 5 times a day.
• If you can’t replace your toilets, put a plastic bottle filled with water in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water that’s used per flush.
• Check for toilet leaks by putting food coloring in the tank. It sounds silly, but if color appears in the bowl without flushing you’ll know that there’s a leak that needs professional repair.