Questions and Answers
1) How do I use water indoors?
2) Should I put a brick in my toilet to save water?
Toilet flushing uses a lot of water (see chart above) and putting something in the toilet tank to take up space will reduce the amount of water required for each flush. However, putting a brick in the toilet in not a good idea, since the brick will eventually crumble and stop the flapper from seating properly, causing a leak. Instead, use a glass jar, or stop by your local water provider and pick up a “toilet tummy.” New toilets are more efficient and need all the water in the tank to work right, so test the toilet to ensure it’s flushing correctly after any displacement device is installed.
3) If my toilet was leaking, wouldn’t I be able to hear it?
Not necessarily, some leaks are silent and the only way to find them is by checking. For a quick and reliable test, put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank, wait about 15 minutes and then check the bowl. If coloring shows up in the bowl (without flushing) the tank is leaking and should be fixed. Toilets should be checked for leaks at least once a year.
4) I can’t decide whether to take a shower or bath, which one uses less water?
That depends on several factors: How big is your tub? How long do you shower? What kind of showerhead do you use? Do you turn off the water when washing? One way to tell which uses more is by closing the drain while showering and seeing how full the tub gets. (Don’t try this in a shower stall.) No matter which method of bathing you choose, you can save water by only filling the bathtub halfway for bathing, and using a low-flow showerhead to take a quick shower.
5) How much water is wasted if the water runs while I shave or brush my teeth?
On average, five gallons of water will run down the drain if you let the water run. You can minimize that amount if you only turn the faucet on partway, or if you install an aerator on the faucet. Of course, the most water-wise method is to turn the water completely off except when rinsing.
6) I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, how can I save water?
Here are several ideas for using less water in the kitchen:
• Scrape dishes without using water and don’t rinse before putting in dishwasher.
• Clean vegetables in a pan of water, rather than letting the water run, then use that water to give your plants a drink.
• Use the garbage disposal sparingly.
• Keep water for drinking in the refrigerator, instead of allowing the tap to run until cold.
7) Why should I install aerators on home water faucets?
Tiny air bubbles from the aerator mix with the water to prevent excessive splashing. Because the water flow is reduced (up to 50% less), aerators also help conserve water.
8) It’s such a small leak, should I bother to fix it?
Absolutely! Leaks are wasteful – and expensive! Every unused drop that trickles down the drain will show up on your water and sewer bill. Most water agencies can provide you with a leak gauge, if you’re curious to figure out how much water is being wasted. More importantly, water is precious, no matter what the amount and most leaks are easy and cheap to repair.
9) Do ultra low flow (ULF) toilets work as well as older style ones?
They do now! In the early years of the technology, some ULF fixtures had to be flushed several times to empty the contents. Today, however; this problem has been eliminated. In fact, studies by consumer groups show that low-flow toilets aren’t any more likely to clog than conventional toilets. ULF toilets make more efficient use of water by using gravity or pressure. Replacing an old toilet with a new water-saving fixture will save a typical household 8,000-20,000 gallons of water each year and save money on both the customer’s water and sewer bills.
10) How can I send less water down the drain while I’m waiting for it to get warm?
If your faucet or shower is located a long way from the hot water heater, you may want to consider an “at-point” heater, which will heat the water closer to the fixture and save you time and water in the warming process.
You can also cut back dramatically on water – and save on your home energy bill, if you insulate your hot water pipes. The most important pipe sections to insulate are the first few feet of water line exiting and entering the hot water heater. Insulating the pipe will reduce heat loss when the water is standing inside the pipe, which means the warm water will reach you faster…resulting in less water wasted!
11) Do dishwashers use more water than hand washing?
Dishwashers use less water than hand-washing, but most people do a lot of pre-cleaning that is unnecessary and actually wastes water. The easiest way to save water with a dishwasher is to let the machine do all the work! It rarely is necessary to rinse dishes in the sink before loading them into the dishwasher; modern dishwashers do a thorough job of cleaning dishes by themselves. Also, if dishes are only slightly dirty, select the “light wash” cycle, which will use less water and less energy to clean. Lastly, only run the dishwasher with a full load, which will save water and wear and tear on the washer!
12) Does pressure affect my ability to save water?
Surprisingly, yes it does. In fact, before water conservation was a concern to providers, some would crank the pressure up in the summer in order to sell more water to consumers. If you live in a high-pressure area you may want to consider installing a Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) in your garage to reduce the pressure to a more fixture-friendly level. It will reduce wear on fixtures and stop excess water from pouring out of your taps. Another option is to only turn taps on partway, or install aerators and low-flow showerheads, to reduce the amount of water dispersed by the fixture.
13) I want to buy a water efficient washing machine, but don’t they cost a lot more?
Yes and no. The initial cost for a water-efficient model may be more, but with available rebates and tax credits the cost of a water-wise machine can be brought within range of a standard washer. Check with your local dealer and water provider for details regarding potential savings. Plus, high efficiency washers use 50 percent less energy and 35 to 50 percent less water per load than other models. Using a water-wise washer could save you about 7,000 gallons of water a year, as well as the energy needed to heat that wash water. Over the life of the machine, this translates into hundreds of dollars off your electric, gas, water, and sewer bills!
13 Lucky Ways to Save Water Indoors!
How many do you do?
1. Fix those faucet and toilet leaks.
2. Use the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads.
3. Don’t run water continuously for vegetable and dish washing.
4. Don’t let the water run while brushing teeth or shaving.
5. Take a short shower, or only fill the bathtub halfway.
6. Don’t use the toilet as a trash can.
7. Put aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets.
8. Don’t run tap to get cold water. Keep a bottle in the refrigerator.
9. Insulate water heater and pipes.
10. Install low-flow toilet, or use displacement device in older toilet.
11. Install low-flow showerhead.
12. Purchase water efficient washing machine or dishwasher.
13. Ask your water provider for more water conservation ideas.
Indoor Water Savings Checklist: Click here to download