19.022019

INDOOR WATER USE AT HOME


When most people in the US want fresh, clean water, all they have to do is turn on a faucet. On average in the US, direct indoor water use (water from the tap, toilet, dishwasher, etc.) adds up to about 522 liters per household per day, or 227 liters per person per day.


How Many Liters of Water do People Use at Home?


Recent studies of how people use water throughout their homes show that, for most of them, indoor water use is highest in the bathroom, followed by the laundry room. Table 1 provides a breakdown.


Table 1. A daily breakdown of water use in the US:


Appliance/Device Household per Day,

liters

Percent of Total

Toilet

125

24%

Shower

106 20%

Faucet

98

19%

Washing Machine

87

17%

Leaks

64

12%

Bath

15

3%

Dishwasher

8

1%

Other

19

4%

Total 522 Liters

100%


Leaks are, perhaps, the most surprising use of water on this list – they amount to 64 liters of water per household per day lost to leaky toilets, appliances and faucets.


Saving Water with Water-Efficient Toilets, Showerheads and More


Fortunately, saving water around the house is easier now than ever before. Switching to water-saving fixtures and appliances can reduce indoor water use by twenty percent. The Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense website lists many water-saving products. The Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR label also has an extensive list of energy- and water-saving appliances, like dishwashers and washing machines.


Newer bathroom fixtures and appliances like toilets, showerheads and faucets are designed to be more water-efficient than older models and can save hundreds of liters a month. For example, older toilets use up to 23 liters per flush, whereas low-flow toilets (or any toilet manufactured after 1994) use 9.8 liters or less. Likewise, older showerheads flow well over the federal limit of 9.5 liters per minute, while low-flow models can flow no higher than 7.6 liters per minute. Some shower fixtures, especially those with multiple nozzles, exceed the federal limit, so these fixtures require reduced shower time in order to save water.


Likewise, newer dishwashers and clothes washers use water much more efficiently than older models. Water efficient dishwashers save more than 19,000 liters of water per year compared with washing dishes by hand (and use less than half as much energy, too). Newer washing machines handle much bigger loads of clothing with much less water. A full-sized ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washer uses 49 liters of water per load, compared to the 87 liters used by a standard machine, saving over 11,400 liters of water per year.


With a little bit of research, water- and energy-saving products can be purchased that provide enhanced performance, help save on water bills and have the added benefit of saving water for future generations. If new appliances aren’t in the budget, significant water savings can still be achieved just by finding and fixing leaks.


Heating and Cooling Are Water (and Energy) Hogs!


Because it takes a lot of water to make electricity, water heating can be a big energy user – it’s right up there with heating and cooling and running appliances, electronics and lighting. Those long, hot showers feel good but they waste both water and energy, and although modern fixtures and appliances are a great way to save liters, it’s still important to simply turn off the tap.



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