There are several simple steps that you can take to save water inside your home. Fixing leaks and updating plumbing fixtures could save thousands of gallons of water each year.
Finding and fixing leaks
Check your water meter
- Read your meter before a one-hour period when no water is being used.
- Check it again after that hour. If the reading is different after the hour, then you have a leak.
- If you have a well, listen for the pump to turn on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, then you've got a leak.
Check your fixtures
- Drop a dye tab (contact us for a free sample of dye tabs) or a few drops of food coloring into the tank.
- Wait about 15 minutes. If there is dye in the bowl, then you have a leak.
- You can also listen for the sound of running water.
- Click here for do-it-yourself instructions for fixing toilet leaks.
- Check the base of the faucet for seepage.
- Check the faucet head for leaks.
- You can replace leaky faucets by replacing washers and tightening connections.
- Click here for do-it-yourself instructions for fixing faucet leaks.
Contact a local plumber for assistance with leaks and maintenance of your fixtures.
Water-efficient plumbing fixtures
Retrofitting your bathrooms and kitchen with water saving fixtures can conserve a lot of water. If your house was built after 1994, you should already have many low flow fixtures.
Modern toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush or less. Older models use 3.5 gallons per flush or more. If your home or business was built prior to 1995 and still has the original toilets, you may be eligible to receive money for upgrading your toilets. Click here for information about our Toilet Rebate Program.
Most new showerheads deliver 2.5 gallons per minute. Higher efficiency models can deliver 2 gallons per minute or less. Older models can deliver as much as 8 gallons per minute. The pressure on newer showerheads has been adjusted to deliver as good a shower without the waste.
Installing an aerator on bathroom and kitchen faucets is another cost-effective way to save water. An aerator is a device you screw onto the spout that mixes air into the water stream.
If you already have an aerator, there will be a marking on the side that notes the gallons per minute (GPM). Many faucets are rated around 2.5 GPM. A low-flow aerator can reduce flow to 1.5 gallons per minute or less.
Older washing machines can use up to 40 gallons per load. Updating to a water efficient model can save 20 gallons per load. Top-loading washers can use 18-25 gallons while front loaders use 15-25 gallons.
Dishwashers can use 11 gallons per load. Water efficient models can use 6.5 gallons or less. Compact dishwashers use about 4 gallons per cycle.
To save water, operate washing machines and dishwashers only when you have a full load.
Other ways to save water indoors
- Insulate your water pipes
- Install an on-demand water heater. You won't have to let the water run while it heats up.
- Don't use running water to thaw frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
- Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth.
- If you're waiting for the water to heat up, place a bucket under the tap and use this water for other household uses such as watering plants or cleaning.
- If you wash dishes by hand, fill the sink or a bucket with soapy water instead of letting the tap run.
- Take shorter showers. Try using a timer to train yourself to take 5-7 minute showers. You can save about 15 gallons of water by reducing a shower from 15 to 7 minutes.