According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, at the end of September 2013, over 45% of the lower 48 states were experiencing moderate to worse drought conditions. While this is a big improvement from the end of September 2012, when more than 65% of the country was experiencing serious drought conditions, we remain in a precarious situation. Yet in the US, most of us continue to use water as if we have an endless supply. According to the EPA: “At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages in 2013, even under non-drought conditions. And over the last 5 years nearly EVERY region of the country has experienced water shortages.”
These shortages exist at the same time that the typical family of 4 in the USA uses about 400 gallons of water a day, or 10 bathtubs full! Help your kids understand that while it may seem to them that there is “water, water everywhere,” in fact less then 1% of the water on the planet is fresh water which we can easily access for drinking. As well, help them understand that we DO pay to use water, and as this scarce resource becomes even more scare in the future, our water bills will go up too.
So grab the kids in your life and share with them some of these great tips for saving water at home by Chris Long, a store associate at a Home Depot in the Chicago suburbs. How many of these tips can you put into practice in your own home?
Going Green in Your Bathroom: 4 Tips to Make Your Bathroom Eco-friendly
By Chris Long
There are a number of ways to make your home more eco-friendly, from recycling to composting. One room that is often overlooked as a place to go green is in the bathroom. Low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets are all great ways to cut down on water use, which helps save the earth and keeps a little more money in your pocket. It’s a win-win!
The EPA is a great resource on water saving tips, and with their WaterSense program it is easy to find the products that meet the efficiency standards set out by the EPA.
Here are four tips on how to turn your bathroom green, no painting necessary!
1. Fix any and all leaks
This seems like a no-brainer, but often the simplest solutions are the best. Even fixing a very minor leak in your plumbing can add up to major savings over the life of your home. It’s always a good idea to have some plumbing supplies in with your general tool kit.
2. Install Low Flow Showerheads
This is a biggie. Americans use over 1.2 trillion gallons of water a year for showering, according to the EPA. Low flow showerheads have the potential to slash your bathing water consumption by 50-70%, which can translate to huge savings on your water bill.
Low flow showerheads are cheap (many start as low as eight dollars) and are easy to install. Best of all, the options have improved to the point that it’s possible to find low flow fixtures that still retain the same pressure as your conventional showerhead, so you may not even notice a difference.
3. Install Efficient Toilets
Approximately 30% of a home’s indoor water consumption is from the toilet. Some older toilets can use up to six gallons of water with each flush.
Installing a new toilet with the WaterSense sticker on it can help you save money and also conserve water. While replacing your toilet is not glamorous, it is easy enough that almost anyone with some DIY experience can do it in an afternoon. Higher end efficiency toilets can run up to $400, but start around only $100 or so. Saving money by installing it yourself is a great way to start seeing savings in your water bill almost immediately.
4. Install Efficient Faucets and Plumbing Fixtures
According to the EPA, letting your faucet run hot water for five minutes expends as much energy as it takes to keep a 60-watt light-bulb lit for 14 hours.
A WaterSense approved efficiency faucet can help reduce the amount of water that flows from your faucet, specifically allowing no more than one-and-a-half gallons of water to flow per minute.
If you do not want to replace your entire faucet, you can simply replace (or install) the aerator. The aerator is attached at the end of your faucet and helps control the flow and direction of the water coming out of your faucet. Simply replacing your aerator (they cost between five and ten dollars) with a new one that has a flow rate of one GPM (gallons per minute) can save you a lot of money.
Have you seen a reduction in your water bill since you changed to high efficiency products in your bathroom? What other products can help you reduce your water consumption in your bathroom?
Chris Long is a store associate at a Home Depot in the Chicago suburbs. Chris also writes for the Home Depot website, providing homeowners with plumbing advice as well as on bathroom decor tips. He has been helping customers since 2000.
Check in regularly with EPA’s Watersense, and Water Sense Kids to help facilitate discussions on water and to learn more about why water is such a precious resource. Expand the discussion to include our role in accelerating climate change and what we need to do to protect and nurture our planet and all it’s scares resources so that our world remains a sustainable and livable place for us all. Have your kids help you develop your own family “Water Saving Plan” and share it with us!
ClimateMama was NOT compensated for this post.