Saving Water Indoors
Learning to conserve water is easy. It is only a matter of using the water we need more efficiently.
Saving Water in the Bathroom
Toilets: Did you know the American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates that toilets use the most water indoors at an average of 20 gallons per person per day? That adds up to 7,200 gallons per person per year. Toilet engineering has come a long way since 1994. High efficiency toilets (HETs) are more powerful than older toilets and use only 1.28 gallons per flush. Toilets older than 1994 use between 3 and 5 gallons per flush. Some very old toilets use up to 7 gallons per flush! By installing one of these new HETs you can save over 4,000 gallons per person per year. If you are a Dallas Water Utilities customer you may qualify for a voucher to help replace up to two toilets in your home. Go to our New Throne for Your Home Toilet Replacement Program page for information on the toilet replacement program.
Check your toilet for leaks, and repair them promptly. Toilets frequently leak around the flapper valve, wasting 200 gallons or more per day. To check for leaks, put a few drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet. Do not flush the toilet for 10 to 15 minutes. After that time, if the bowl shows traces of food coloring, you have a leak. The flapper valve of the toilet should be checked in this manner at least once a year. Be sure to replace the flapper valve with the correct size for your toilet. The wrong size will significantly reduce your toilet’s efficiency.
Also: Never use the toilet as a wastebasket.
Bathing: Take shorter showers and install a low-flow showerhead (one that dispenses less than 3 gallons per minute). According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average family could save 2,900 gallons per year by installing WaterSense® labeled showerheads. These products provide a satisfactory shower that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market. You can have an invigorating shower, with no reduction in water pressure and still use half the water of a less efficient showerhead. Newer showerheads have switches that allow you to stop the water flow while soaping up or washing your hair.
Also: Turn off your faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving.
Saving Water in the Kitchen and Laundry Room
The second largest user of water inside the home is the clothes washer, using 30 to 40 gallons of water per load. When it is time to replace your current washer consider a high efficiency model. They use only 12 to 15 gallons per load and are also able to extract more water from your clothes before they go into the dryer. These models not only save water, but reduce the costs for heating water and drying laundry. And always remember to wash only full loads. If you only have a few items, use the smaller load setting on your washer.
Repair leaking faucets. The AWWA estimates almost 14 percent of our indoor water use is lost to leaks. A slow drip can waste over 7,000 gallons per year. Often those drips can be stopped by simply replacing a washer.
Install faucet aerators. Aerators are inexpensive and can reduce the amount of water used by 50 percent. It is estimated that faucets use 10 gallons per person per day, so an aerator could save 1,825 gallons per year per person.
Never pour grease or oil down a drain. You will clog your drain or waste a great deal of water trying to get the grease down your pipes. For more information about what to do with your cooking oil and grease, visit the Dallas Water Utilities’ Grease Abatement Program page.
Also: Rinse dishes in a pan; don’t rinse under running water.
If you use a dishwasher, wash only full loads. Dishwashers use about 15 gallons of water each time per use.
Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator to avoid running the tap until the water runs cool.