By Tina Jepson
If you’re eager to save a bit of money on your monthly bills, but you aren’t willing to do without heat in the winter and AC in the summer, then take a look at your water usage. Chances are, your bathroom is wasting a precious resource: water.
A leaky faucet, a cheap showerhead, and a high-flush toilet are just a few of the ways your bathroom is inefficiently using water.
Why use water-saving showerheads and other water-saving techniques in your bathroom? You’ll save money, help the environment, and have an overall better bathroom experience. Here’s how to get started.
The best water-saving showerheads use a low flow to deliver a small amount of water with just the right amount of pressure that you don’t feel like you’re missing on a true, spa-like shower experience.
Keep in mind, the average showerhead gpm (gallons per minute) is somewhere between 3 and 4. But the US Department of Energy suggests homeowners purchase a low-flow showerhead that disperses between 1.5 to 2.5 gpm. In fact, all new faucet flow rates must remain at 2.5 gpm or below, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a model that doesn’t meet this requirement!
How much water does a low flow showerhead save? That ultimately depends on the length of your shower, but according to the energy department, savings hover between 25-60% of total water usage annually.
Rest assured, you can find just about showerhead with low-flow criteria, even showerheads with a hose attached!
Estimated savings: 25-60%
Long gone are the days when toilets would use 5, 6, or even 7 gallons with every flush. What a waste, right?
Today, toilets in the United States must use the equivalent or less than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf).
But don’t worry, these efficient toilets aren’t going to break the bank. In fact, toilets range from around $100 to $1,000 or more depending on their built-in technologies. Models that are tankless or that feature built-in sanitizing features naturally cost more than your everyday model.
Let’s break down the numbers. If your toilet uses 3.5 gpf and you flush 6 times every day, you use roughly 7,665 gallons annually. But what if you used a 1.6 gpf toilet? Remarkably, your water usage drops to 3,504. That’s a significant difference!
Estimated savings: 30-60%
My house is filled with faucets that were installed in the early 90s, and they’re nowhere near efficient. Nowadays, the government requires bathroom faucets to use 2.2 gpm or less. However, there are actually faucet models available that use even less water.
Look for a faucet that uses somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 gpm, and you’ll instantly feel the savings on your water bill.
Estimated savings: Up to 50%
Habits & More
Sure, purchasing the latest high-efficiency + low flow items is an easy way to use less water and reduce your monthly water bills in the process, but personal habits also play a role.
Aside from investing in the products listed above, give thought to HOW you’re using water. Here are a few additional ways to reduce your water consumption:
- Take fewer baths. Most bathtubs hold around 50 gallons of water. However, a 10-minute shower using a 2.5 gpm showerhead uses only 25 gallons. By showering instead of bathing, you’ll use 50% less water!
- Reduce your shower time: Speaking of showers, consider that a 5-minute shower uses half the water of a 10-minute shower. Avoid taking prolonged soak-sessions to save money (and time!)
- Turn off your shower: If you find yourself spending 30 seconds or more shaving your legs, lathering up your hair, or scrubbing your body and you don’t use water during this timeframe, turn off your shower.
- Turn off your faucet: There are circumstances when you don’t need constant water coming from your faucet, such as while you’re brushing your teeth, shaving, and washing your face. Always turn off your faucet when it’s not directly in-use.
- Fix leaks: Whether you need to tighten the faucet, seal it, or you just need a new seat washer, be on the constant lookout for leaks and remedy accordingly.
Saving water in the bathroom is good for your wallet, and it’s good for the environment. Small steps, including switching out your bathroom fixtures so they’re more efficient and watching your water-use habits, can add up to major savings in a matter of months.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson and www.shutterstock.com