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Saving Water Indoors

Did you know the American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates that toilets use the most water indoors at an average of 20 gallons per person per day? That adds up to 7,200 gallons per person per year. Toilet engineering has come a long way since 1994. High efficiency toilets (HETs) are more powerful than older toilets and use only 1.28 gallons per flush, while older toilets can use between 3 and 5 gallons per flush. Some very old toilets use up to 7 gallons per flush! By installing one of these new HETs you can save over 4,000 gallons per person per year.

Check your toilet for leaks, and repair them promptly. Toilets frequently leak around the flapper valve, wasting 200 gallons or more per day. To check for leaks, put a few drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet. Do not flush the toilet for 10 to 15 minutes. After that time, if the bowl shows traces of food coloring, you have a leak. The flapper valve of the toilet should be checked in this manner at least once a year. Be sure to replace the flapper valve with the correct size for your toilet. The wrong size will significantly reduce your toilet’s efficiency.

The second largest user of water inside the home is the clothes washer, with some models using 30 to 40 gallons of water per load. When replacing your current washer consider a high efficiency model. They use only 12 to 15 gallons per load and extract more water from your clothes before they go into the dryer. Also, when you don’t have a full wash load, use the smaller load setting on your washer.

In the kitchen water loss typically stems from leaking faucets. The AWWA estimates almost 14 percent of our indoor water use is lost to leaks. A slow drip can waste over 7,000 gallons per year. Often those drips can be stopped by simply replacing a washer.

You can also save water when bathing by taking shorter showers and installing a low-flow showerhead (one that dispenses less than 3 gallons per minute). According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average family could save 2,900 gallons per year by installing WaterSense® labeled showerheads. These products provide a satisfactory shower that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market. Some newer showerheads have switches allowing you to stop the water flow while soaping up or washing your hair.

It’s good to remember that clean water is not limitless, yet it is a necessity for everyone and deserves our care and attention. Travis County WCID No.17 asks you to consider these tips and how to use water wisely because every drop counts.

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