Learn what you can do to save water indoors.
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Indoor Water Conservation
Table of Contents
The Big 3 of Indoor Water Conservation
Change your fixtures & appliances
Lowering your water use is as easy as replacing older fixtures and appliances with newer, more efficient ones. Upgrading toilets, showerheads, sink faucets and appliances can reduce total indoor usage by 35%! Just by replacing old fixtures, the average Massachusetts household can save 50 gallons of water per day
Go low flow
An older toilet uses 5 or more gallons per flush (gpf) while newer models use just over 1 gallon or less. Replace your older toilet with one that has the Water Sense label. That way you’ll get both efficiency and good performance.
If you’re not up to replacing toilets, a simple tank bank will still save almost a gallon per flush. Tank banks are soft-sided bottles you fill with water and insert in your toilet tank to displace some of the water. They cost about $2 at your local hardware or big box store.
How much water would you save by upgrading to more efficient fixtures? Try the WaterSense calculator.
Save in the shower
Some shower fixtures can use 5-10 gallons of water per minute. Install a showerhead that uses 2.0 gallons or less per minute. You’ll still get great shower pressure if you choose one with the WaterSense label. While you’re at it, install a shower timer to help cut back on long showers.
Cut water usage at your household sinks by up to 30% by installing low flow faucets or faucet aerators. Aerators mix air into the water flow, reducing volume without weakening the stream or spray.
Dishwashers and Washing Machines
Instead of looking at a new dishwasher or washing machine as just another big expense, look at it as an opportunity to significantly cut your household water and energy usage.
Older dishwashers use 10 to 15 gallons per cycle while new ENERGY STAR-labeled models use 3.5 gallons or less per cycle. Another good dishwasher conservation tip? Wait until it’s full before you push start!
Front-loading washing machines use less than half the amount of water than top-loaders – about 15 gallons per wash vs. 45. (Source: Home Water Works)
For the greatest efficiency in both water and energy use, select products identified as CEE Tier 3 by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (clothes washers, dishwashers) or Energy Star-labeled products.
Change your water habits
It takes only a shift in mindset to change your water habits.
In the Bathroom
- Don’t run the water while you’re brushing your teeth. Wet your toothbrush and then turn the faucet off until you’re ready to rinse.
- Don’t run the water while you’re shaving, either. Fill a small glass with water and just rinse your razor as needed
Extra measures during droughts and dry spells
- If it takes awhile for your shower to warm up, put a bucket in to catch the water before you get in. Then use that water for house plants, cleaning floors or hand-washing sweaters or delicates.
In the Kitchen
- Instead of letting the water run while washing veggies and fruits, just fill a bowl, dunk them in and wipe them dry
- Hand-washing the dishes uses more water than a dishwasher. If you do hand-wash, don’t run the water - fill a large bowl, add water and wash your plates and utensils. Then dump the bowl and fill it with clean water to give them a quick rinse.
- If you use a dishwasher, wait until it’s full before you run it.
- Chill a pitcher or bottle of water in the fridge instead of letting the water run until it gets cold each time you need a drink.
In the laundry room
Wait until you have a full load of laundry. Don’t wash just a pair of jeans or just a couple of shirts.
Set the load setting (small, medium, large) to match the amount of laundry you’re putting in.
Fix those leaks!
On average, 14% of a household’s daily water usage is wasted due to leaks! These can be leaky faucets, leaky toilets, leaky showerheads and leaks in the pipes running from the street to your house.
Sometimes leaks are obvious to your eyes or ears. You can hear a toilet running long after flushing, or the drip drip of a leaky valve or faucet. But some leaks are invisible. To detect them, take a good look at your water meter. It will spin or advance any time water is flowing through your pipes. Turn off all water-needy appliances, fixtures and outdoor faucets. If the meter is still spinning, there’s a good chance there’s a leak somewhere.
Faucets and toilets can be fixed with DIY replacement parts and simple tools. Other leaks may need the attention of your plumber or repair person. If you have a leak but you’re not sure where it is, contact your local water department to learn your options for detecting and fixing the problem.
For more guidance on finding and fixing common leaks, check out “Don’t Waste a Drop: Finding, Fixing and Preventing Indoor Water Leaks”.