Guest Blog: Sure-Fire Ways to Save Water Around the House
In the United States, the average family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day, with indoor water use accounting for about 70 percent of this. As the second most populated state in the country, Texas has a large and continually growing demand for water. But, if all Texans work together, we can conserve billions of gallons of water each year.
Managing water resources is important because strains on water supplies can lead to:
- higher water prices,
- increased summer watering restrictions,
- seasonal loss of recreational areas like lakes and rivers, and
- expensive water treatment projects.
Are you looking for ways to help the people in your community save water? Check out and share these tips and the included infographic.
Fix Household Leaks for Major Savings
Household leaks in Texas alone could waste more than 90 billion gallons of water each year. By repairing household leaks, families could reduce their water use by 10,000 gallons a year. Toilet leaks are especially problematic because they can waste up to 200 gallons of H2O a day!
Finding and Fixing Leaks
One way to discover leaks is by checking the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no one is using water. If the meter changes at all, there may be a leak. The good news is that many household leaks are easy and inexpensive to fix. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency's website for help with identifying the source and fixing the problem.
Easy Ways to Use Less Water
Everyone can do their part with just a few simple actions. Some of these tips are also easy for kids to learn.
- Use the dishwasher instead of hand-washing dishes, and only run full loads. Scrape dirty dishes and cookware rather than rinsing them.
- Plug the sink or use a basin of soapy water if washing dishes by hand.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator rather than letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
- Take shorter showers. Get a shower timer to help kids turn water savings into fun.
- Turn off the tap when shaving or brushing teeth to save up to 2,400 gallons of water a year.
- Wash only full loads of laundry to save more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.
Invest in WaterSense and ENERGY STAR Fixtures and Appliances
Use WaterSense in the Bathroom
The biggest uses of water indoors are flushing toilets, running faucets, and taking showers. Replacing these fixtures with WaterSense-labeled ones will save over 16,000 gallons of water a year. Using water-efficient fixtures will also save energy by reducing demand on water heaters.
Upgrade Dishwashers and Clothes Washers
Most people don't think about water conservation when they hear ENERGY STAR. However, dishwashers and clothes washers with this label save water in addition to energy—all without sacrificing features or functionality.
Replacing a standard washer with an ENERGY STAR one can conserve over 2,000 gallons of water per year. Additionally, ENERGY STAR models have greater tub capacities, so families can wash fewer loads—saving time in addition to benefiting the environment!
ENERGY STAR dishwashers use advanced technology to get your dishes clean while using less water and energy. By upgrading to an ENERGY STAR dishwasher, you could save 3,870 gallons of water over the lifetime of the appliance. These models often feature a light-wash cycle, so that you can conserve even more if your dishes are only lightly soiled.
Disposing of Old Appliances
When replacing appliances, look for retailers that participate in the EPA's Responsible Appliance Disposal Program. These retailers will haul away old appliances and recover the chemicals, and recycle the metal, plastic, and glass in them. Donate appliances that are still in good condition.
Pay Less for WaterSense and ENERGY STAR
Look for incentives to save on new ENERGY STAR appliances and WaterSense fixtures. Local government agencies or utilities sometimes have special offers to help residents save. Search for rebates on the WaterSense website and the ENERGY STAR website. Check with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for announcements about sales-tax holidays on ENERGY STAR and WaterSense products.
Download and share the included infographic to help your friends save water around the house.
Blog post written by Rachel Matvy, Take Care of Texas, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.