water efficiency

Home Water Efficiency Tips

We recently posted about improvements and upgrades to make your home more energy efficient and here is the water version.

In addition to saving on your electric bill, there are ways you can reduce water waste and save money. Despite the earth being covered in about 70 percent water, the EPA reports only about one percent is usable by humans. There is a nationwide water crisis and Florida especially has had a hard time maintaining acceptable aquifer levels. To keep waterways healthy and affordable it is important to conserve water.

The average American household uses approximately 260 gallons of water a day. Being proactive about water waster includes the obvious fixes, like leaky faucets and using little or no water on lawns and gardens, as well as installing ENERGY STAR® water-conserving appliances and fixtures and moderating water usage.

Water Efficient Appliances and Fixtures

EPA sponsored programs, Water Sense and ENERGYSTAR, identify appliances and fixtures that reduce water usage at home. To earn a Water Sense or ENERGY STAR label, appliances are required to meet specific conservation standards. They are independently certified and tested by consumers and industry partners to ensure the high quality products.

Washing machines use the second most amount of water in the home accounting for approximately 41 gallons a load. Water efficient washing machines use about 40-50 percent less water than standard machines by lowering their water factor. Meaning they use less water per cycle per cubic foot and about 50 percent less energy.

Faucets and showerheads are to blame for about 32 percent of indoor water use.  Water Sense labeled faucets reduce water consumption by aerating the water thus controlling the flow without forfeiting high performance. Water efficient showerheads use 2 or less gallons of water per minute but provide equivalent or better coverage and intensity than their standard counterparts. Replacement of out dated faucets and showerheads yield a water savings of 30-60 percent.

Hot Water Systems

Hot water systems are responsible for a quarter of the energy used and is the third largest energy consumer in the home. There are several water heating options available including tankless heaters, which reduce “standby” storage waste, solar, and gas. Following these water saving tips will also trim energy and water waste.

  • Find a water heater suitable for the square footage of the home.
  • Install an insulation blanket on water heater, careful not to cover thermostat, and insulate the first 3 feet of the heated water “out” pipe.
  • Set water temperature only as hot as needed (110-120 degrees) to prevent scalds and save energy.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

It is usually the smallest details that create the biggest impacts. This is especially true when curtailing water and energy waste in the home. Using Water Sense or ENERGYSTAR appliances and fixtures, having an efficient hot water system, and using common water saving tactics, like turning the faucet off while brushing teeth, will not only save money on monthly utility bills but will help reduce your home’s carbon footprint and protect the environment.

Continue Learning