Has your house been beckoning you with long neglected home-improvement projects? As you continue to spend more time at home to combat the spread of COVID-19, you may be taking advantage of the opportunity to clean, repair, and upgrade up your abode. The extra hours at your house have likely also increased your household water bill, and there’s never been a better moment to make your home more water efficient.
The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), North America’s only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to the efficient and sustainable use of water, offers tools and resources to help people conserve our most precious resource. AWE’s Home-Water-Works.org features a water-use calculator that shows homeowners where they use the most water, identifies opportunities to save, and provides information on how to do so.
Here are a few ways most people can improve water efficiency in and around their house:
Hunt down the drips
A faucet dripping slowly at only one drop every two seconds will waste more than 1,000 gallons of water per year. There are a few different types of faucets (compression valve, ball types or delta, cartridge types, and ceramic discs), but with some instruction and guidance, most homeowners accustomed to using tools and making minor home repairs can fix a leak. Furthermore, toilets are one the most common sources of leaks in the home, though they are typically unnoticed by residents because the leaks are often silent and out of view. Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank, and if the color seeps into the bowl, you have a leak.
Many people mistakenly believe that they use less water hand washing their dishes than using a dishwasher. In fact, most modern dishwashers are able to more effectively and efficiently clean dishes. Standard ENERGY STAR-labeled dishwashers use 3.5 gallons or less per cycle and can save an average of 3,870 gallons over the course of their lifetime. Homeowners may also consider upgrading to clothes washers with the ENERGY STAR label. Models are available in front- and top-loading configurations to meet the user’s specific needs, use 33 percent less water than traditional models, and about 25 percent less energy. To improve your shower’s water efficiency, look for a showerhead with the WaterSense label. These showerheads have been proven to provide an equal or better shower experience than conventional showerheads, and use no more than two gallons of water per minute.
Improve irrigation efficiency
Outdoor water use is often overlooked by Americans trying to conserve. But research has shown that on average, about half of the water used in a single-family American home during the course of a year will be put onto the landscape. Switching to climate-appropriate, drought-resistant landscaping, as well as investing in efficient sprinkler systems, are two of the most effective methods for reducing outdoor water use.
To learn more about the Alliance for Water Efficiency, visit a4we.org. Stay healthy, stay safe, and save water.