in this article
- Check your toilet for leaks by dropping food coloring into the tank – if coloring enters the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak to repair
- Replace your toilet with an ultra-low flush model
- Take shorter showers
- Use a low-flow showerhead
- Turning off the water while brushing your teeth or lathering your hands
- Install a faucet aerator
- Repair leaky faucets
Water is a resource that is not without its limitations. That’s because only one percent of the water on Earth is fresh, or safe for use. In certain areas of the country, there is the very real threat of water shortages. A lack of fresh, usable water is more than just an annoying inconvenience – it can result in problems in terms of human health and also with the environment. Water is wasted in numerous ways every day in both residential and commercial environments. In residences, people often do not realize how much water they actually use performing typical day-to-day tasks. On a daily basis a family of four people uses up to 400 gallons of water.
The largest consumption of water in residential settings, nearly half of what is used in the home, takes place in the bathroom. This is of little surprise considering the bathroom houses not only a sink, but also the toilet, and the bathtub and/or shower. The EPA states that twenty-seven percent of the water that is used at home comes from the toilet, which uses as much as seven gallons of water each time that it is flushed. Running the water in the bathroom sink uses as much as two gallons of water every minute that it runs.
Fortunately, people can make significant progress in reducing how much water they waste in the bathroom. They can achieve these reductions in waste by making a conscious effort to change old habits and repair any potential problems that can result in excess, unintentional water loss. For example, a leaking toilet is a major offender. Approximately 200 gallons of water is wasted when a toilet has a leak. A person can easily check for a leak by dropping food coloring into the tank of the toilet. If the coloring enters the bowl after ten minutes, there is a leak in need of repair. Other ways to conserve water used by the toilet is to displace some of the water by placing a plastic water bottle in the tank, or by replacing an old toilet with a new one that is ultra-low flush.
Roughly eighteen percent of water usage comes from taking showers or baths. The choice to take a shower over a bath will help conserve water. If taking a bath, the bathtub should be filled no more than one-third of the way. Simple common sense solutions, such as taking shorter showers, will also help. An even more frugal approach is to only run the water when it is necessary, as in wetting one’s body and rinsing off soap suds. Using low-flow showerheads is an option that can drastically reduce the amount of water used per minute. For example, an older showerhead will release as much as five gallons of water a minute, while low-flow showerheads often reduce that amount by half. At the sink people often allow the water to run while they are washing their faces, lathering their hands during hand-washing, or while brushing their teeth. Turning off the water while performing these tasks will greatly reduce the amount of water that is lost down the drain, potentially saving over 200 gallons monthly. Another more certain way to reduce the amount of water is to install a faucet aerator. Repairs are also important for both the bathtub and the sink. Repairs should be made on dripping or leaking faucets.
- Seattle University: Water Conservation – Bathroom
- Washington State University: Water Conservation in the Bathroom – Toilet
- Oregon State University: Conserving Water in the Home – The Toilet (PDF)
- Protecting Our Waters – Conserving Water: Use Less Water by Using Common Sense – Bathroom- The Toilet
- North Platte Natural Resources District: Water Saving Tips – Flushing Toilets
Sowers & Baths
- BC Hydro: Use a Low-Flow Showerhead
- EPA: How to Conserve Water and Use it Effectively – Low Flow Showerheads
- City of Turlock: Indoor Water Conservation Tips – Bathroom Shower, Baths, and Faucets
- National Geographic – Bathroom Revamp: Savings by the Gallon
- South Carolina State Climatology Office: Water Conservation Tips Indoors – Bathroom: Bathing and Showering
- Utah Division of Water Resources: Bathroom Water Use – Sink
- Fox 17: Bathroom Sink Faucets (PDF)
- Today: Save Water – and $170 a Year – Don’t Forget the Faucet
- London Canada – Finding Savings in Your Bathroom
- Conserving Water: Inside the House in the Bathroom – The Bathroom Sink Tips 17 – 19 (PDF)
- Town of Cary South Carolina: How to Save Water in the Bathroom – General
- Energy Saving Trust: Water Saving Habits
- Denver Water: Conserve Water Indoors – Bathroom
- Conserving Water in the Home and Yard – The Thinker’s Way (PDF)
- University of Kentucky: Saving Water at Home – Bathroom Everyday Tips (PDF)