Indoor Water Conservation
47. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving.
You can save up to eight gallons per day by taking this action. That’s a potential savings of almost 3,000 gallons per year! (source)
48. Reduce washing machine and dishwasher use by at least one load per week by washing full loads only.
Washing full loads of laundry and dishes reduces the number of loads that need to be washed each week. To save even more water when washing the dishes, use the “water efficient” or “light load” mode when running the dishwasher. Click for the top green laundry tips.
49. Soak dishes instead of washing them under running water.
Instead of leaving your water running while scrubbing each dish, allow your dishes to soak in your sink or a washing basin filled with hot soapy water. You can do any scrubbing required using the water in the sink, and your dishes will only need a quick rinse at the end. Also, make sure to use biodegradable, phosphate-free soap.
50. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator instead of using running water.
Defrosting frozen foods with running water can waste 50 to 150 gallons of water a month. Instead, place them in the refrigerator overnight or thaw in the microwave (source).
51. Install faucet aerators.
Aerators cut water use by 30% or more and save money on water and energy bills. By installing faucet aerators, the average household can save over 500 gallons of water per year (source). Low-volume faucet aerators are very inexpensive and can be installed without replacing the entire faucet. Look for products at your local hardware store with the WaterSense label to ensure maximum water savings.
If you are a Potomac Edison customer, you can get a free conservation kit by completing the online Home Energy Analyzer. The kit includes a faucet aerator and other valuable water and energy saving components.
52. Reduce your shower time by 5 minutes.
When showering with a 4.5 gallon per minute showerhead, you use 45 gallons of water every ten minutes. To save water, shorten your showers or turn off the water when you’re lathering up, shaving, or washing your hair. Be conscious of the time you take in the shower by using a shower clock, and try to reduce your shower by 10-20%. By taking 5 minute showers, you can reduce your carbon emissions by 300 lbs each year (Gershon, Low Carbon Diet). Click to calculate how much water and energy you use in the shower.
53. Wash your clothes in cold water at least 75% of the time.
When you wash your clothes in hot water, only 10% of the required energy goes to running the machine; 90% goes to heating the water. Using cold water greatly decreases energy use.
54. Fix leaks and drips. Keep water pipes, faucets, and toilet gasket seals in good condition.
Small leaks in water pipes throughout your home can often go undetected, while a dripping faucet or moisture around the base of a toilet may be noticed but ignored. While the leaks may appear minor, they can waste a lot of water. The average household wastes 10,000 gallons of water per year due to leaks (source). If you find a leak, fix it right away. Pay attention for the sound of dripping or for your toilet running longer than normal. You can easily check your home for leaks by shutting off all water usage in your home for an hour then checking to see if your water meter moves. Click for more tips on fixing leaks.
55. Use an ENERGY STAR® washing machine.
An ENERGY STAR® washing machine uses about 50% less water than less-efficient types, saving about 43,000 gallons over the machine’s lifetime (source).
56. Use an ENERGY STAR® dishwasher.
An ENERGY STAR® dishwasher will save on average 1,300 gallons of water over its lifetime and about $40 a year on electrical bills (source).
57. Install low-flow showerheads.
Showering accounts for 17% of residential water use in United States homes. That’s more than 1.2 trillion gallons of water consumed each year (source). Federal regulations mandate that new showerhead flow rates cannot exceed 2.5 gallons per minute at 80 pounds per square inch. A low-flow showerhead can achieve water savings of 25-60% (source).
Choosing a low-flow showerhead does not mean that you have to sacrifice the great feeling of a therapeutic shower. There is a wide variety of showerheads available to suit your specific needs. Look for products at your local hardware store with the WaterSense label to ensure maximum water savings.
If you are a Potomac Edison customer, you can get a free conservation kit by completing the online Home Energy Analyzer. The kit includes a low-flow showerhead and other valuable water and energy saving components.
58. Reduce toilet water use. Use a high-efficiency/dual flush toilet, composting toilet, or low-flow toilet conversion kit.
Toilets use more water than any other device in your home – about 30% of all your indoor water consumption. When replacing a toilet, consider purchasing a 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) toilet, high-efficiency toilet (HET) that uses 1.28 gpf, or a dual flush toilet (source). Dual-flush toilets allow for 2 options when flushing: half-tank or full 1.6 gallon flush. Upgrading to a WaterSense labeled toilet can save 4,000 gallons per year (source).
For a lower cost, try installing a dual flush conversion kit, “tank bank,” “toilet dam,” “float booster,” or even a do-it-yourself sealed bottle of pebbles or sand in your toilet tank. To learn more, watch this toilet tank bank product review video.
Alternatives to flushing toilets which avoid the use of water completely include composting toilets and dry toilets. Click to learn more about flushing toilet alternatives, or check out this article about a human waste composting project.
Total “Indoor Water Conservation” Green Points: