When we attempt to conserve water, we are careful not to leave the water running when doing dishes or we make an effort to take shorter showers. But we use, and waste, water everyday in more ways than are obvious. Showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators and irrigation systems are just some of the ways that we use water daily in our homes.
A water audit can present the areas where your home fails to optimize your water efficiency so that you can make the necessary changes to conserve water and save money. Most homeowners are aware of common water conservation habits, but there are hidden situations that might be wasting water and causing your water bill to rise. This typically includes not promptly repairing a leaky faucet, running a washing machine without a full load of laundry or rinsing off dishes before putting them into a fully-functional dishwasher.
There are small changes you can easily make with water conservation in mind. These include installing low-flow fixtures on your faucets and showerheads for an approximate savings of 1-5% on your water bill and thousands of gallons saved in water use. If you have an irrigation system, make sure it has a rain sensor—there is nothing more wasteful than an irrigation system watering your lawn or garden while rain pours down as well!
Upgrading appliances to newer models will conserve water and electricity. ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, has dedicated an area of its website to energy and water efficient products. Search by brand, size and efficiency to find a dishwasher, clothes washer and refrigerator that will save your home water and money. ENERGY STAR estimates that a dishwasher that meets the ENERGY STAR requirements will save, on average, 1,300 gallons of water over its lifetime and an ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washer will use over 50% less water than a regular washer. These are big savings in water usage that add up to equally big savings on your water bill.
We take water for granted since it is relatively inexpensive here. In many countries, fresh water, when it is even available, represents a significant portion of the family budget. That is something to think about.