Using Less Water In the Bathroom
"Go Ahead...Push my Button..."
Low-flow showerheads like the one pictured help conserve water while still providing an enjoyable shower.
Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute. While low-flow showerheads use less than 2.0 gallons per minute.
This showerhead has an additional feature to reduce water use. Push the button that’s located in the “neck” of the showerhead to reduce the flow to nearly nothing while you are shampooing or shaving. Just push the button back to return to full flow, all without losing your temperature setting.
A Little About Toilets
The toilet is the biggest water user in most homes. Toilets manufactured before the 1980s used 5-7 gallons of water per flush (gpf). Those produced in the 1980's, used approximately 3.5 gpf, and, with the change in the plumbing code in 1993, water use was reduced down to 1.6 gpf. Since then, high-efficiency toilets (HET) have become available that utilize from 0.8 – 1.2 gpf.
Click here for a funny commercial on running toilets, from the city of Denver.
To encourage purchase of low water-use toilets, the City of Kent offers rebates of up to $50 per toilet installed in homes receiving City water or sewer service (please note, if your water bill comes from another utility, you will not be eligible for this rebate-check with your water provider for savings they may offer). For more information on the rebate and an application, call 253-856-5549.
According to the American Water Works Association, a national standard setting organization for the water industry, as many as 20% of toilets are leaking at any one time without the owner being aware of it. With some leaks you can hear water running while silent.
To determine if your toilet is leaking/wasting water, simply drop a teaspoon of ordinary food dye like you might use in baking into the toilet tank. DO NOT flush. After 15 minutes or so, look in the toilet bowl. If the dye shows up in the bowl, you have a leak at the flush valve.
Depending on size, a leak can waste many gallons of water a day. Most leaks occur at the flush valve. These valves are made of rubber or plastic. In some cases, they crack with age or due to use of chemical cleaners. In other cases, the result is due to a build up of minerals that are naturally-occurring in the water that causes them not to seal properly. In both situations, water runs down the drain continuously wasting water and costing homeowners money. The valves only cost a few dollars at the hardware store and are easy to replace.
Leaks can also occur at the overflow pipe. In some cases it’s simply a matter of adjusting the float arm to reduce the water level to keep it from flowing into the overflow pipe. For more information please call your plumber.
Did you know…?
- It may not seem like much, but a drippy faucet can waste several gallons of water a day. In most cases, a drippy faucet is a sign that the washer or o-ring is worn out and needs to be replaced. Nothing lasts forever. Fortunately these cost only pennies each at the hardware store.
- The most water use in the home occurs in the bathroom.