How to make your bathroom more water efficient

How to make your bathroom more water efficient

When it comes to the bathroom, saving water can mean saving money. While energy efficient house plans can help conserve your energy usage as well as your bank account, there are still a number of design tips you can employ to be more efficient, no matter what kind of house you are planning to build. Here are just some of the techniques you can use to save some money in the bathroom.

The cost of a toilet
Toilets consume an incredible amount of water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, toilets make up almost 30 percent of an average home's indoor water use. It used to be the case that toilets flushed 6 gallons of water per flush, though legislation in the 1990s meant that low-flush toilets soon had their day in the sun. Back then, these toilets only used half as much water without any changes in flushing design, meaning that the toilets were less effective, according to HGTV. However, technological developments, including better gravity-assisted flushing, wider flapper valves and pressurized air have made these toilets just as effective as the higher water capacity toilets.

One of the more recent designs to capitalize on the recent green-building and sustainability movement in the U.S. is the dual-flush toilet. It comes with two buttons for flushing. One is designed for solid waste and flushes the new average of 1.6 gallons of water. The other button is for liquid waste, and only flushes 0.8 gallons of water, thereby saving half of the water normally used for a flush. These toilets are a great way to save water.

Showerheads and faucets
The other two big culprits for water use in the bathroom are faucets and showerheads. Showering makes up 17 percent of indoor water use. Faucets account for more than 15 percent of indoor household water use, according to the EPA. Combined, the two consume roughly the same amount of water as household toilets. The amount of water used by both appliances can be significantly reduced.

The standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while high-efficiency showerheads use less than 2 gpm. If a shower is taken in the same amount of time with either head, that's at least a 20 percent reduction in water use. You can also use high-efficiency faucets or, if you can't spend the money, you can add aerators to your faucets, which add air to water flow and reduces water usage.

Look for labels
If you're unsure what kind of product to use, the EPA-approved WaterSense label lets consumers know whether an appliance is water efficient, meaning it's at least 20 percent more efficient and performs as well or better than its counterparts.