Home Water Conservation Methods & Equipment

As the urge to 'Go Green' sweeps the country, many people look to conserve energy through efficient Energy Star appliances and home building products. But in dry and even desert areas with water table problems, water conservation methods rise to the forefront of many people's environmental discussions. Responsible homeowners living in such areas can seek water saving tips and home equipment that will help not only conserve water but also reduce the cost of their utility bills.

In some States that get very little rain, California for instance, more than 5% of total energy produced is used to pump and treat the water supply. As concentrations of people grow and populations increase, so does the demand for fresh water. Conservation laws are usually enacted here to preserve the existing supply, but there are many things that people can do every day to conserve water and reduce the expenditure of unnecessary energy.

Low Flow Faucet Aerators

More than 20% of all water usage in the United States is accounted for by shower usage. Taking this tremendous statistic in mind, the single greatest water conservation method is the installation of a low flow aerator on existing shower heads or faucets.

Low flow aerators may already have a bad reputation (given their hilarious appearance of Seinfeld!), but in many cases the difference in water pressure can be made neglible. Aerators are cheap (usually not more than $10 to $40) and easy to install, with most of them screwing right into existing plumbing fixtures. They pay for themselves almost immediately in saved water usage, and keep on protecting the environment by reducing the total amount of necessary water in the home. And since less water is being used, low flow aerators also provide the added benefit of less gas or oil being used in the heating of hot water tanks.

Low flow shower heads also come in two different types: aerating and non-aerating. In the first type, the device works to mix air directly into the water stream in an attempt to keep up the water pressure. This results in very little or no pressure loss, and the shower spray looks and feels much the same except that less water is needed to run the fixture and some slight temperature loss may occur due to the added air. The second type of shower head, the non-aerating model, adds no additional air into the water stream. As a result, there is some minor pressure loss and a slightly pulsating effect as water is forced through the nozzle. However, the lack of added air means there is none of the heat loss associated with an aerating shower head. Of all aerating shower head and faucets available, the most commonly utilized type is the aerating model.

Energy Saving Tips - Water Conservation Methods In the average household, replacing existing shower heads and faucets with low flow shower and faucet aerators can save up to 50% of total water consumed in the home. Additionally, up to another 50% of total water heating costs will be saved by such conservation efforts.

Low Flow Toilets

Maximum water usage standards for the flushing of toilets is currently 1.6 gallons per flush. For years now, low flow toilets have been designed to use less water and save hundred of gallons of fresh water per household on a monthly basis. In the past these toilets have also gotten a bad reputation, because their flushing power always seemed lacking. Today though, technology has improved the low flush toilet to the point where it's almost indistinguishable from a full flush model. Toto Ultramax toilets and other models are designed to flush more efficiently, some of them even doing away with the spinning effect of standard commodes that allows for an easy and thorough job while saving tons of fresh water for the household and environment.

Leaky toilet tanks are another leading case of water loss, wasting potentially tens of thousands of gallons per year. Often the leak is caused by an old or cracked gasket, and is so slow that the loss is unnoticable. For the savvy homeowner, older toilets with suspected leaky gaskets can be checked with an easy method involving food coloring. Just drop some food coloring into your toilet basin (the back portion of your toilet) and wait at least half an hour. If you see color bleeding into your toilet when you return to check on it, it might be time to replace your ball flap assembly, rubber gasket, or both. If your toilet is extremely old or outdated, allow this to justify the purchase of a new, low flow water-conserving toilet.

Other easy water conservation methods around the home are as follows:

• Don't flush your toilet unnecessarily. Provide a small bathroom garbage for tissues, cottonballs, and other bathroom waste.

• Don't let the water run while brushing your teeth. This is an all-too common practice, and many people don't realize how much water gets wasted here. The same thing goes for shaving.

• Replace sticky toilet handles. We've all had em'... handles that get stuck in the down position, allowing fresh water to run and be wasted for several minutes before we realize the handle is stuck.

• Place water in your refrigerator for drinking. Instead of running the tap every time you want a cold drink, you'll conserve water by already have a cold drink available. Use this excuse as a good opportunity to pick up a Brita water filter jug for your fridge.

• Insulate your hot water plumbing. In many cases, your hot water pipes are not even insulated. Check them if accessible, and spend a few dollars on easily-installed some foam insulation tubing. Doing this will have the added benefits of faster hot water to your sinks and showers, too.

• Only operate your dishwasher when it's fully loaded. Dishwashers account for a good amount of water usage. Try to pick out an Energy Star dishwasher or an energy efficient model, and run it only when it's at full capacity.

• Check faucets for drips and leaks. New rubber washers cost pennies on the dollar, and fixing a leaky faucet can save hundreds or even thousands of gallons of fresh water each year. If your faucet is an older model, look into replacing it with a new low-flow model.

• Don't run the hose while washing your car. Use a nozzle with an on/off trigger or better yet use a bucket to wash the car and use the hose only to rinse it off when finished.

• Take shorter showers. Shortening your shower routine by even two or three minutes can save over a thousand gallons a month. Consequently, it also adds up to an extra 60 or 90 minutes of your precious time each month!

Flow meters can also help to ensure increased efficiency and control of your water usage.

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