Water usage is a topic on the mind of many homeowners these days, especially with water shortages in drought areas becoming more and more common. With that in mind, one of the places in the average home that uses the majority of water is the bathroom. By adding a few water wise features to your bathroom, you can save on utility bills and help contribute to a better environment while still retaining good style and functionality.
Determine if Your Bathroom Is Water Efficient
The first thing you need to determine is where you're wasting the most water, and then proceed to take action where necessary. Leaking toilets, sinks, and high flow shower heads are common culprits. To check for a leaking toilet, simply add some food dye to the tank and then wait (without flushing) 10-15 minutes to see if any of the dye has reached the bowl. To check if your shower head is putting out too much water, place a 2-quart pan in the shower and turn it on. If the pan fills up in less than 12 seconds, then you could use a more efficient shower head. Lastly, look at your bathroom sink and check for any dripping water coming from the faucet.
Toilets actually use more water than any other device in your home, including the shower. If your current toilet is leaking, there are a few different kinds you can install that will make this water guzzling device more efficient. Dual flush toilets are one option. They offer two flushing choices, including one for liquid waste that uses less water, and one for solid waste. Regular toilets can also be converted to dual flush with easy to install kits sold in hardware stores. Composting toilets, which use hardly any water and don’t come with a water tank, are another viable way to improve water usage. Lastly, greywater systems can be installed. These devices use recycled sink water that’s been filtered and disinfected to flush the toilet instead of fresh water.
An addition to consider installing alongside your toilet is a bidet. Bidets actually leave you cleaner than toilet paper and result in less toilet paper usage. This equates to saving water because the manufacturing process of toilet paper uses an incredible amount of water.
Many people hesitate to switch out their high pressure, high flow shower head because they don’t want to give up that nice water pressure. However, low flow shower heads don’t sacrifice pressure and use aerators to increase water pressure without using more water. In fact, you can save upwards of 50 percent of your water usage in the shower by installing a low flow system. Installation is easy, and low flow shower heads come in a variety of styles to match any décor.
Speaking of showers, baths (while soothing and luxurious) are another source of high water usage. A single bath can use up to 70 gallons of water. In order to cut down on this water use without sacrificing your beloved bath, you can install a tub that has a capacity of less than 60 gallons. These types of baths are more common these days, and come in a variety of styles to fit any need.
If you have a leaky faucet, then consider replacing it with a water wise device. Companies use two different methods to reduce water flow and make sinks more water friendly. The first method is using laminar flow technology, which produces dozens of parallel streams of water that help reduce the amount of water used. These devices come as entire faucets or as screw-on tips that can be added to existing hardware. The second method uses an aerator, which decreases water flow, but maintains pressure by adding air to the water. Both technologies offer similar water savings.
Luckily, whether you are shopping for a new sink faucet or for a new shower head, finding a water wise fixture for your bathroom sink or shower is easy. Fixtures and shower heads that are considered water efficient come with a WaterSense label. WaterSense is a program made possible through a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency that reviews fixtures for water efficiency. The program issues a seal of approval to any device or fixture it deems as water efficient. As you consider the variety of options in making your bathroom the ultimate water wise space, keep an eye out for devices that have the WaterSense label.