In most homes, one-quarter to one-third of all water used indoors goes for flushing toilets. Here are some ways to reduce water use associated with toilets:
- New toilets are quite efficient. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush. Toilets manufactured before 1993 use 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. Replacing an older toilet will pay off in the long run through savings on your water bill. As a Northshore Utility District customer, you are eligible to receive a $100 rebate on a Premium WaterSense toilet.
- Flush less often and only when necessary. Toilets are often used to dispose of tissues, spiders, and cigarette butts. Each of these flushes uses water unnecessarily.
- Check for leaks. Toilets are notorious for silent leaks, usually through the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank. Place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 15 minutes without flushing. Look into the toilet bowl to see if the water becomes colored. If it does, you have a leak and it should be repaired as soon as possible. A leak in your toilet can waste thousands of gallons per year. If you don’t have food coloring, Northshore has dye tablets available. Click here for more information.
- Displace a portion of the water volume in your toilet tank. Fill a soda pop bottle with water. Add some gravel for weight to keep the bottle from moving around and screw the cap back on. Place the bottle in your tank taking care not to interfere with any of the moving parts in the tank. Each time you flush you will save the amount of water in the bottle. Be creative. Experiment with bottles of different sizes and shapes. If you find that the toilet has problems flushing, remove a bottle or switch to a smaller size. Do not use a brick as they tend to disintegrate and can damage the moving parts in your toilet. Northshore provides free toilet tank banks which help displace .5 to .7 gallons of water per flush. Click here for more information.
Today's high efficiency clothes washers can save the average household over 5,000 gallons of water per year compared to older models. The newer machines also use less energy. If you are not ready to purchase a new washer, you can still save water by washing only full loads of laundry or matching the water level to the size of the load if your machine has a load size adjustment.
Do not leave the water running while you are brushing your teeth or shaving. Try not to turn the water on full-volume when washing your hands. Install aerators on faucets. Northshore provides free faucet aerators.
Showers are a big water user in most homes. Here are some water saving tips. Take shorter showers. Northshore provides free shower timers. Click here for more information.
Install a water saving or "low-flow" showerhead. These showerheads are inexpensive and easy to install and they can save thousands of gallons of water per year. Northshore provides free showerheads. Click here for more information.
Baths use quite a bit of water if you fill the tub to the top. Simply use half as much. You'll still get clean and you'll save water.
Dishwashing machines are actually not high water users in most homes. But it's still important to wash full loads. Try using a shorter cycle to see if your dishes still come clean, and limit pre-rinsing as much as possible.
Limit the use of garbage disposals. Instead, consider composting food waste to make a valuable soil amendment. Click here for more information.
Leaky Showers and Faucets
Do not ignore leaks, no matter how small. Most leaks are easily repaired and can save thousands of gallons of water per year. While the volume of a drip will vary with the faucet configuration, one drip per second can equal 2,000 - 4,000 gallons per year. Visit savingwater.org for how to videos on fixing common household leaks.
While you are running water and waiting for hot water to get to your sink or shower, water is running down the drain. If possible, try to capture the water and reuse it for watering plants. Remember, water is a precious resource. Making every drop count will benefit you, our community, and our environment.
Have you found other ways to save water in your home? Let us know at (425) 398-4417 or email us.