Home Improvements to Save the Environment and Your Wallet – Part 3

Reducing Your Indoor Water Use in the Bathroom

Last week, we touched on the importance of conserving water and specifically, how to make sure your landscaping isn’t a major culprit of water waste. Today, I want to talk about your bathroom. 

Let’s start with toilets, the kings of water waste. These stealth devices use more water than anything else in your house, accounting for as much as a third of your total home water use. So, it stands to reason that upgrading your toilet is a great way to reduce your water usage.

The general rule is that newer toilets are more water efficient, so if your toilet is 20 years old… it might be worth considering an upgrade. A typical toilet today uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush, but some older toilets can use over 3 gallons per flush!  The highest efficiency single flush toilets on the market use as little as 1.28 gallons. Dual-flush toilets have two settings, the heavier setting uses the full 1.6 gallons of a normal flush. The lighter setting, for liquid waste, can use as little as 0.8 gallons per flush. Then there are also gravity-assisted toilets, pressure-assisted toilets, and vacuum-assisted toilets. If you want more information on how each work, this article has a good summary. 

It’s worth noting that dual-flush toilets are, in general, more expensive than single flush. But, don’t forget what this means for your water bill and the planet. If you’re not ready to upgrade your toilet right now, you can buy a conversion kit  to turn your single flush toilet into a dual-flush! 

The other easy way to reduce your water use is with a low-flow showerhead. I know, the idea of a low-flow shower doesn’t sound desirable, but it turns out most people can’t tell the difference between a traditional shower head with a 9.5 litre per minute output, versus the 6.5 lpm of a low flow. A difference you can recognize is the one you’ll see on your water bill. 

Assume we’re talking about a family of four taking a daily shower for 10 minutes each at a temperature of 38 °C with a standard water heater. By changing nothing but your shower head from a standard to low-flow, you’ll save 42,340 litres of water and 1180 kWh of power per year. What about the dollars and cents? A one time purchase that can be as affordable as $50 (or much more, depending on the style you want) can save you about $100 annually. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

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