We, as Americans, use a lot of water in our daily activities, as much as 80 to 100 gallons per day. You’re going to tell me that you don’t even drink the requisite 8 glasses per day. Aha, but how many times do you use a sink? Toilet? Shower? I’m not suggesting that you don’t shower, mind you, but that there are certain steps we can all take to make our use of water more efficient.
- Showering: Get a low-flow showerhead. Older showerheads use from 3 to 10 gallons of water per minute while a low-flow one can use between 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per minute. You can also get a shower flow control for your existing showerhead. And for an added health benefit, get a shower filter that takes out the chlorine and other compounds. Those that are third-party tested by the Water Quality Association and NSF International are good bets. One more thing — when shampooing or soaping, consider shutting off the water, or just take a shorter shower. You can continue singing even while out of the shower.
- Toilet: New toilets are required to limit water consumption to 1.6 gallons per flush. Older toilets use from 3 to 7 gallons a flush. Installing a low-flow, or dual-flush toilet can decrease your water consumption. However, be sure to clean your sewer drain system if it blocks often, prior to installing the low-flow toilet, and buy a quality toilet to avoid plumbing problems. Caroma and Mansfield seem to be good choices, as are Toto and Kohler. If you can’t afford to make the switch right now, you can try adjusting the flow to shut off the fill at a lower tank level by using a toilet flapper or fill cycle diverter . It’s easy, I promise!
- Sink: Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing the dishes (fill the sink with water for dishes). Brushing your teeth can use up to 2 gallons of water if you leave the tap running, and shaving can take up to 5 gallons with the tap running versus 1 gallon to fill the sink. Consider installing a faucet aerator to decrease water consumption from the faucet by up to 50%, in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Clothes Washer: Another biggie. One load can use between 20 to 57 gallons of water. Front-loading machines use less water to wash the same load than top-loading machines. They also use less detergent, electricity and water (20 to 28 gallons vs. 45 gallons for a top-loader). New high efficiency machines use 50–60% less electricity and 40–50 % less water, so take a look at the Energy Star ones.
- Others: Plug up leaks. Leaking faucets can lose up to 20 gallons or more of water per day. And if you use a dishwasher, use the energy saver setting and make sure it’s full before running it.
Now, back to that rubber ducky.