Every parent has said to their children—multiple times, “Turn off the water.” We teach our children the importance of not wasting water, but it’s important for us adults to remember as well. And it’s about so much more than just turning off the faucet.
Water plays a bigger role in today’s modern world than it did in the past. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American family uses 300 gallons of water each day. And that only accounts for indoor water usage: drinking, cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. That’s a staggering amount of water. To put it into perspective, imagine for a moment that you had to carry that much water to your home before you could use it. That would definitely make you think about the amount of water you’re using on a daily basis.
The Leaks That Are Upping Your Water Usage
Research shows that the typical home loses somewhere between 2,000 and up to 20,000 gallons of water each year because of leaks. That’s a lot of water!
Leaks can come from a number of sources, some of which you might not have considered. What about your toilet that doesn’t shut off? Or a tiny leak in your plumbing? It all adds up to a noticeable increase in water usage.
How can you tell if you have leaks in your home? Start by reviewing your water bill. If you see an unexpected rise, it’s probably be time to investigate. You might need help from a professional to inspect irrigation systems or pipes that you cannot easily access. Most leaks are not those that we see with the naked eye.
Water as Power
We use water in and around our homes and offices, but we also use water as a power source. It takes a little more than one gallon of water to produce one watt-hour of electricity. That means a 150-watt incandescent light bulb requires 174 gallons of water to operate for just one hour. But most of us don’t run a light bulb for just one hour. And that water usage just racks up.
Reducing our water usage results in an energy savings. And the opposite is also true: Reducing our energy usage results in a water savings.
We don’t think about this correlation most of the time, mostly because even Energy Star appliances aren’t labeled with how much water is used to create the energy they use.
Easy Ways to Reduce Water Usage
You can take small steps to cut back on your water usage on a daily basis. Here are just a few:
• Take shorter showers: five minutes or less.
• Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving.
• Switch to a low-flow showerhead.
• Use the half flush option on the toilet when available and appropriate.
• Turn off water faucets tightly (and fix them as needed) to avoid drips.
• Keep cold drinking water in the fridge so you don’t have to wait for it to cool at the tap.
• When washing dishes, use a sink of water to wash and then rinse them all together instead of individually.
• Water the garden only when plants really need it, and then just the roots and soil rather than spraying leaves and flowers.
• Use soaker hoses instead of sprinklers.
• Water outside in the early morning or late evening when water evaporates less.
On this episode of Green Gab, you’ll learn even more about water usage from Angie Mendica of Crescent Plumbing. And read the full chapter about water usage in my book, Living Green Effortlessly, to learn more about how you can use less water—and less energy.
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Connect with The Green Gab Podcast Hosts:
About the Hosts of The Green Gab Podcast:
Green Gab Podcast Host Marla Esser Cloos is the Founder of The Green Home Coach – a company leading the way to inspire you to learn about, focus on and put into place Green Solutions when it comes to your life, home building and more.
Marla is an NAHB Master Certified Green Professional, LEED AP and Missouri Woman Business Enterprise. She Earned her B.S. in Engineering and Public Policy and a Certificate in Energy from Washington University.
Click here to learn more about Marla at her website online via TheGreenHomeCoach.Com
Green Gab Podcast Host Tony Pratte is the Director of Builder/Contractor Relations at The Sound Room in St. Louis, Missouri.
Tony is a graduate of St. Louis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has earned a Masters in Environmental Management & Sustainability at Harvard University
Tony’s 20+ year career has allowed to him to collect a number of experiences, connections and perspectives that offer an incredibly unique point of view that adds incredible value to each episode.