Simple ways to save water

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Perhaps you have heard about campuses switching out the shower heads in their dorms to low flow shower heads. Why are they doing this? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, low flow fixtures and showerheads can achieve water savings of 25-60%. Low flow shower heads also reduce fossil fuel use because showers usually have hot water heated by coal fired electricity or natural gas. Savings such as this can be achieved by purchasing a shower head with a flow rate less than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), which is also now the federal regulation for new showerheads.  How do you tell if your shower head is not up to standard? If you have a shower head that predates 1992, you should change it because before that time, flow rates were at 5.5gpm. Another simple way is to place a bucket under the shower head marked by gallons. Turn the shower head on and count how many seconds its takes to fill up 1 gallon. If it takes less than 20 seconds to fill up a gallon, it may be time for you to consider buying a new showerhead.

Other ways you can save money and water include fixing water leaks, changing the aerator (the screw-on tip on a faucet) which controls the water flow, or replacing your dishwasher and clothes washer with energy efficient washers. These are more expensive, however the payoff will be beneficial. There are many ways to save water, so the next time you head home take a look around your house and see where you can save!

Learn more about energy conversation by visiting http://www.gundersenenvision.org/

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One thought on “Simple ways to save water

  1. I have one of the new water heaters that heats water on demand. It saves energy because it only heats the water as required, and does not continually keep a large tank hot. That is the good news. The bad news is that it only works on demand- that is, when hot water is required. It senses this with a flow switch. Therefore, in order to get hot water you must turn on the hat water at a rate high enough to activate the switch, and continue to run it at the high rate until the hot water reaches the faucet or shower head. My experience is that this takes a lot of water. To make matters even worse, if I obtain hot water to shave, for example, then turn it off to get in the shower, I have to start over. So the question is – what is the trade-off in saving energy vs using a lot of water needlessly? Someone should do a study of this. My own opinion is that I will not buy this type of water heater again.

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