How to Save Water in Your Bathroom
When you're looking for ways to save water in your home, you may be wondering where you should start. You likely use water in many ways every day, and they are all important. The truth is, though, you don't necessarily need to change your habits – just the way you carry them out every day.
A great place to start conserving is the room in which you likely use the most water – the bathroom. Between showers, hand washing and toilet flushing, this room is rarely occupied when the water isn't running.
Luckily, there are proven hacks to start saving water with each of the three main fixtures in your bathroom: the shower, the sink and the toilet.
SAVING IN THE SHOWER
Some people prefer baths while others prefer showers. Depending on how long you take to bathe, you could save water by switching methods. The average tub can hold 42 gallons of water, and most people use about 30 gallons for their baths, according to the Sacramento Bee. On the other hand, the typical shower expels about 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If you take a 10-minute shower, you'll be using less water than the typical bath-taker. If you like to take a longer time, a bath might use less.
While we all like to take long, luxurious showers, they tend to be fairly inefficient when it comes to saving water. Saving water in the shower is easy; just follow these handy water-saving tips.
In the shower:
- This one is obvious—take shorter showers and avoid baths. The average bath uses upwards of 50 gallons of water.
- While you are waiting for the water to heat, place a bucket in the shower and use the leftover water for watering plants, flushing the toilet or cleaning.
- Switch to a low-flow showerhead. Most showerheads use 4.5 gallons per minute, while low-flow showerheads use 2.5 gallons per minute.
- In Brazil, the government encourages people to pee in the shower to save water. If you’re feeling bold, take a page from their book.
- Shower Navy-style:
- Get in the shower and turn the water on. Get wet and then turn the water right off again.
- With the water off, lather up with soap, shampoo and conditioner.
- Once you’re all soaped up, turn the water back on, rinse off and voilà: You’ve saved water in the same fashion the Navy does onboard its ships. Navy showers can reduce water usage by 95%.
- Shower every other day or at least skip washing your hair daily to cut down on shower time."
REDUCING SINK USE
Your bathroom sink is used for many things, like washing your hands, brushing your teeth and shaving. While all of these things are important for personal hygiene, there are things you can do to cut down on the amount of water you use. You could fill the sink with a small amount of water when shaving to clean the razor without having to run the faucet every few minutes. Or you can also turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or washing your hands. If you have little ones, teach your children the importance of turning off the faucet completely before walking away. Here are some additional tips for reducing sink usage:
- Shut the water off while brushing your teeth, shaving and washing dishes.
- Use low-flow faucet aerators to save 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
CONSERVING WITH YOUR TOILET
Your toilet uses a lot of water. Older toilets might use between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water with every flush. Newer ones, especially those designed to be more environmentally friendly, may use as little as 1.6 gallons per flush, but some still use quite a bit more.
To save water when flushing the toilet, you can raise the level of water in the tank. Fill a plastic soda bottle with sand and put it in the tank. This will cause the water to run for less time after the flush. However, if you already have a model that only uses 1.6 gallons of water to flush, you may impede proper toilet functions. Be sure to find out before adding the sand.
Saving water in your home is important, but it's not always easy to know where to start. Conserving water in your bathroom isn't hard, and is a great place to begin, considering how much water use goes on in it. If something goes awry in the bathroom though, be sure to call your local Roto-Rooter for help.
These are a couple more ways to conserve water with your toilet:
- Let pee be—only flush for #2.
- tune-up your toilet by replacing the tank parts, especially the flapper valve to eliminate leaks.
IS YOUR WATER BILL TOO HIGH?
We've recently received feedback from a homeowner looking for a plumber due to their high water bills. If your water bills are high, these tips may help you determine if there's a leak.
Place several drops of red food coloring in your toilet tank. If the water in the bowl changes to red without you flushing it, you have a leaky toilet. You may need to replace the flapper or flush valve inside the toilet tank.
If your toilets are not leaking, check all of your water facets. A steady dripping faucet can lose as much as 15,000 gallons of water a year. That's enough to fill a swimming pool!
If you find no leaks in your toilet or faucets, you may have a leak in the wall or floor. Underground leaks can consume enormous amounts of water. An old galvanized pipe or copper pipe leaking in the ground may never be noticed. One customer wrote to me last year about losing 10,000 gallons of water in a month! They had to fight the water company for a reduction in his bill, which was over $2,000.
If you can't find the leak yourself, you may want to call in one of your local plumbing companies. The cost of having a 24 hour plumbing problem may end up being more than hiring a professional for the plumbing repair.
Roto-Rooter has licensed plumbing specialists that repair plumbing leaks. Roto-Rooter also has advanced equipment to quickly locate underground leaks.
FIVE EASY WAYS TO CUT WATER USAGE BY 25 Percent
California recently put into effect statewide mandatory conservation steps that established a goal of cutting water usage by 25 percent. That may sound difficult, and for households already in water conservation mode, it might be. However, for a typical residential home, there are many ways to cut water usage that make a big difference but which are barely noticeable to the residents themselves. Roto-Rooter’s ROTOGreen program makes it easy for homeowners to cut water usage. And for the DIY crowd, many of these steps can be fully implemented without the aid of a plumber. Here are five simple areas where you can cut water usage.
- Take showers instead of baths. The average shower uses one-third as much water as a bath. Limit showers to 6 minutes or less and replace your old showerhead with a low flow model. We’re partial to the Niagara water saving showerhead. It uses only 1.5 gallons of water per minute – a savings of 1 to 4 GPM over conventional showerheads. The best part? This showerhead is so well engineered, you won’t believe you’re using a low-flow showerhead at all.
- Don’t let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth. Replace your old 3.5 gallons per minute faucet with an efficient new one that only spews out 1.5 GPM. We know that fancy new faucets are expensive so if you like your old faucet, you can replace the aerator on it that will restrict flow to 1.5 GPM or even all the way down to 0.5 GPM.
- The newest ultra-efficient toilets use only 1.28 gallons per flush. Toilets made after 1993 use only 1.6 GPF but toilets older than that waste at least 3.5 gallons with every flush. You can spend a lot of money replacing old toilets or you can remove the guts of your toilet tank and replace them with a new dual-flush converter that will cut your water usage down to 0.8 GPF for liquid waste and 1.6 GPF for solid waste. Home Depot and Lowes carry these converter kits and they have easy to follow instructions. Still too complicated and expensive? Find a brick and gently place it inside your toilet tank. The brick will displace up to a half gallon of water and so you’ll get the same flush power but use less water
- Laundry – If you have an old style top loading washing machine, only wash full loads. And if your laundry load is small, be sure to adjust the setting on the machine so that it doesn’t fill the machine with enough water to wash a full load. If you have a new style front load water efficient machine, it should weigh the load and use only the water it needs to get it clean but make sure your settings are optimal.
- Finally, the single biggest source of water waste is leaks. Almost every home has at least one water leak. Fix those leaks and you’ll see an immediate cut in household water usage. You can see faucet drips but toilet leaks can be stealthy and hard to detect. If you notice a ripple of water in the bowl, that’s a water leak. Most toilet leaks can be fixed by replacing the toilet’s flapper valve. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions for changing a flapper valve."
2 IMPORTANT WAYS TO CONSERVE WATER IN THE BATHROOM
Although some 70 percent of the world is water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, this vital resource is not infinite. That's why it is important to conserve and not take advantage of it. The EPA also noted that the average American family uses 400 gallons of water every day. Seventy percent of this water is used indoors, with the bathroom being the biggest culprit.
DON'T LEAVE THE FAUCET RUNNING
It's common to keep the bathroom faucet running while brushing your teeth, however, you're wasting about two gallons of water each time you do. Whenever you're brushing those pearly whites, turn the tap off - this can save more than 200 gallons of water a month!
If you notice a constant drip coming from your faucets, it's most likely time to replace your washers. If water is streaming out at the rate of one drop per second, you can potentially waste approximately 2,700 gallons a year. Not only will this contribute to water waste, but it will also strain your septic system, and your bills will start to skyrocket.
UPDATE YOUR TOILETS AND SHOWERHEADS
The EPA found that standard toilets use up to 1.6 gallons of water per flush, and older toilets use as many as 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. Updating to a more efficient appliance can save you and your family up to 60 percent of water by only using 1.28 gallons per flush. Another water-saving tip is to check for leaks, seeing as a running toilet can waste about 200 gallons a day. If you aren't trained on how to spot a toilet leak, contact your local Roto-Rooter professional to seek advice on this topic.
As far as showerheads, the standard appliance uses about 2.5 gallons of water a minute, in addition to using energy to heat it up. By switching to an efficient, water-saving showerhead (and shortening the amount of time you actually spend in the shower) the average family can save up to 2,900 gallons of water over a span of 13 days.
For more information about making the switch to water efficient appliances, visit the EPA to learn more about the WaterSense partnership program.
To repair all your cracked and leaky pipes, contact your local Roto-Rooter professional to help conserve water today.
STYLISH, WATER-EFFICIENT SHOWER HEAD IDEAS
Are you tired of the same ol' design of your bathroom? And how about that utility bill – are you looking for ways to lower it? There are some simple ways to update your bathroom and conserve water without a complete remodel. Consider getting a water-efficient shower head for each of your bathrooms. With varying mounts, finishes, and spray styles, there's something for every taste.
Thanks to the EPA's WaterSense labels, it's easy to tell which water-efficient shower head options are the best. Specifically, WaterSense shower heads use no more than two gallons per minute (gpm), compared with the standard 2.5 gpm. Installing these shower heads could save the average family 2,900 gallons per year, which not only conserves water, but energy as well.
So what should you look for in a water-efficient shower head? Take the following three things into consideration when buying a WaterSense product:
- Mounts. Did you know that shower heads don't have to be mounted to the wall? While a standard wall mount is still popular – it can easily be adjusted and is on the less expensive end of the spectrum – ceiling- or top-mounted shower heads are gaining in popularity. The water sprays down from above like rain and helps you avoid odd maneuverings to get your whole body showered. Another option is the handheld shower head, which allows you to spray from any angle. This is a great shower head for those who cannot stand long and need to use a bench or chair to sit in the shower.
- Spray styles. Thanks to modern shower head design, we aren't all stuck with one type of spray. We can customize our shower experience, changing the pressure and pulse of the water as it sprays. For example, a rainfall shower head has a wide surface and releases water from more holes but at a lower pressure for a gentler feel. Shower panels, on the other hand, deliver water from all sides, with nozzles or jets distributed throughout the shower. Multifunction shower heads are great for families, since you can select high-pressure for adults, low-pressure for kids, and everything in between.
- Finishes. Just because something is eco-friendly doesn't mean it has to be ugly or uncreative! Check out the various finishes to match your individual style, including bronze, chrome, brushed nickel, pewter, and more. "
If you're looking for the best water-efficient shower head for your bathroom, give Roto-Rooter a call. We're experts at installing quality low-flow products that will help reduce your utility bill and maintain a great shower experience.