Day 2 | Reduce House Water Waste

Day 2: Reduce Home Water Waste: Shower, Dishwasher, Laundry, Faucet

The Goal: Reduce your shower time to 6 minutes or less, turn off the faucet unless being directly used right then, only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it’s completely full.

Showering is something we all do- and it is also a nice way to relax. However, the amount of water and energy used for a nice long shower can be extremely wasteful. According to studies by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 30% of the water used in a shower is wasted, and much of that wasted water is heated as well. Approximately 2.5 gallons of water are used every minute in an average shower, and the average American family uses 40 gallons of water for showering every day. Now’s the time to be honest with yourself, are you using that shower to its maximum efficiency, or do you walk away to fold your laundry while you let the water run and heat up? While it may not seem like much, simply cutting down your shower by a few minutes and making sure you hop in right as the water gets hot allow for not only reduced water and energy waste, but also a reduced water and electricity bill.

Another way to cut down on home water waste is to run your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are completely full. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 3,400 gallons of water per year per family could be saved by running washing machines on full load instead of half, and it saves the time of doing multiple loads as well. By running only full loads in the dishwasher, the average family can save one whole load per week, making it more sustainable and saving on the water bill. Faucet water waste is also important to address. The Environmental Protection Agency states that turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, one simple action, allows for 8 gallons of water to be saved. That’s 16 gallons saved per day by itself. In addition, while washing your dishes make sure to turn off the faucet when it is not needed, for 5 minutes of faucet-on dish washing wastes 10 gallons of water. Overall, be aware of the small ways you can reduce water, such as taking shorter showers, running washing machines and dishwashers on full, and turning off faucets whenever they’re not being used.

  • Facts
    • Every minute of water used in an average shower equates to 2.5 gallons of water used
    • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that 30% of water is wasted in a shower, much of it heated.
    • Average American family uses 40 gallons of water to shower every day. 
    • If 20% of that water is wasted in America, that’s 200 billion gallons wasted in a year
    • Water heating is 17% of total home heating
    • It takes a long time to heat water because it takes time for the water to heat and for the hot water to get form the boiler to the facet  long, so most people leave the water running while doing something else
    • When washing clothes in a washing machine, millions of microfibers are released into the water system, which eventually end up in the ocean. These microplastics become small enough that they become ingested by the wildlife where it remains.
  • Solutions
    • EPA Showerheads reduce the water flow from a shower head to less than 2 gallons per minute, enough energy to power a house for 17 days
    • Thermostatic shut-off valves can be installed to limit the hot water coming out of a shower head to reduce hot water waste
    • The filtrol can be easily installed into a washing machine to stop microfibers from being released when washing laundry
    • Drain water heat recovery systems can be installed to allow for energy efficiency
    • Install tankless water heaters to allow for instant hot water only when it’s needed