Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Use these tips and recommendations to save water at home.
- A typical family uses 60–80 gallons of water per person per day.
- Check your water meter to monitor water use.
- Teach children to turn water faucets off quickly and tightly after each use.
- Report broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc., to the property owner, local authorities or your water management district.
- Inspect the plumbing system to see that there are no leaks. Repair leaky faucets; turn off taps tightly.
- It’s hot outside! Be sure your pets have fresh water each day.
- Take short showers rather than a bath. A four minute shower uses about 8 gallons of water, while a full bath uses about 50 gallons of water.
- If you bathe, fill bathtub ½ full. You can save 18 to 25 gallons per bath.
- A leaky toilet tank can waste lots of water. Put a little food coloring into the tank, if the color trickles into the bowl, repair the leak.
- Don’t use the toilet as a waste basket.
- Turn off the water while you shave, brush teeth, etc.
- Install reduced-flow showerheads (2.5 gal/min).
- Run dishwasher only when full, using short cycle.
- Use the washing machine only when full use a lower/cooler water setting.
- Don’t wash clothes more often than necessary.
- Running water down the drain while to gets hot is a waste. Capture the cool water for plant watering or heat it on the stove or in a microwave.
- Don’t let water run continuously while washing dishes.
Learning how to save water at home is very important because a typical family uses 60–80 gallons of water per person per day. That’s 240–320 gallons for a family of four for one day. The largest water users are the shower, clothes washer and toilets, accounting for about two-thirds of the water used in an average household. Toilets use up to 27% of the household water supply while clothes washers use 20.9% and showers account for 17.3%. Faucets account for about 15.3% and leaks account for 13.8% of a family’s water use. Dishwashers, baths, and other account for the remaining water use. As you can see, about 72.5 gallons of water are used by each family member each day.
Leaking faucets and pipes are a big culprit for consuming water. Leaking faucets can lose gallons of water, as much as 20 gallons or more per day. Leaky pipes not only waste water, but damage wood and may create stains and rusting, resulting in loss of other types of resources.
Older showers may use from 2–10 gallons of water per minute fully opened. Newer shower heads use about 2–3 gallons per minute. The shower heads designed to use less water differ in spray patterns, mounting and functions. Many people step away from the water in the shower when shampooing or soaping. Many water saving shower heads come with a button to shut off the flow without changing the mix of hot and cold water. Simply taking shorter showers will reduce your use of water.
If you have an older toilet, it will use three to seven gallons per flush. To reduce the amount of water in the tank, displace some of the water. A plastic bottle filled with water would be one example. Any object placed in the tank should not release or leak particles or materials into the tank. Never use a brick in the tank unless it is contained in a plastic bag. The object placed in the tank should not interfere with any of the mechanisms or tank operations. Other methods that can be used are devices purchased to go inside the toilet tank such as the toilet dam, early closure flapper or a dual flusher.
Brushing teeth can take up to 2 gallons of water if the tap is left running during the brushing versus 1 pint to wet brush, turn off faucet, and rinse briefly.
Shaving can take up to 5 gallons if the tap is left running versus 1 gallon to fill basin, and then turn on faucet briefly to wet cloth to rinse at the end.
The total water used washing one load of clothes ranges from 20 to 57 gallons. It is critical that you use the appropriate water level for the size load of laundry.
Some machines have a suds-saver system. Hot, sudsy water is pumped into a storage tub and later returned to the washer with added hot water and detergent for a second use.
Front-loading machines use less water to wash the same load than top-loading machines. Front-loading washers fill to just below the door opening. Textiles and items tumble in and out of the water for cleaning. Front-loading washers use less detergent, electricity and water (typically 20 to 28 gallons for front-loading model, compared to 45 gallons in a top-loading wash cycle).
New high efficiency machines use 50–60 percent less electricity, 40–50 percent less water, and are reported to be more effective in cleaning action, according to studies by the US Department of Energy, and by water and waste-water utilities. Also up to 30 percent more water is removed in spinning, reducing the drying cycle and saving energy.
Scrape dishes rather than rinse. If washing by hand, catch water in sink and rinse in sink rather than leave water running from tap. Wash full loads in the automatic dishwasher. Use appropriate cycle for type of cleaning needed. Cut down on the number of utensils used in food preparation and serving.