While a bathroom makeover can be taken to nearly level-from a basic painting and a new shower curtain to a complete bathroom renovation with new fixtures, sinks, showers and tile-it should all be done with water saving features in mind. Five percent of your water footprint comes from wasted sink, toilet and other greywaters and blackwaters. While five percent may seem insignificant, reducing your water footprint twenty percent is a common goal we should all reach soon. Check out the National Geographic Test Your Water Footprint Challenge to find out what your water footprint is.
When purchasing new faucets and shower heads, keep the magic words “low flow” and “faucet aerators” in mind. A faucet with a 1.5-gpm (gallons per minute) aerator will help disperse the water with air and use half the water while keeping the same flow rate. Keeping your existing faucet? Simply buy an aerator for under $5 and attach it to your faucet by unscrewing the old screen and screwing on the new aerator
A low flow showerhead is a common item and they come in a wide variety of designs. Since the popularization of multi-spray detachable showerheads, the rate for shower waste has climbed. Some multi-use showerheads were rated at 80-gpm’s! Replacing your showerhead is easy enough and buying a model under the 2 gpm’s is comfortable enough for a good shower while conserving water.
Water heaters are often not thought of in a bathroom makeover, let alone a water conservation issue. Since they consume energy, it would be logical that it fall under the energy conservation category. That’s true but look at it like this-each American wastes over 6 ½ gallons of water a day waiting for hot water to arrive. By installing a tankless hot water heater that produces on demand hot water, you not only save water but you save electricity as well.
Toilets installed before 1992 are generally the older 3.5-gpf models and should be replaced with the newer and code required 1.6-gpf models. When moving into a new home, check the toilets for modifications to larger volume flushes. 3.5-gpf flappers and valves can be set into earlier low flush toilets. If you’re unsure, it’s best to just replace the toilet. A family of four saves over 14,000 gallons of water each year by using a 1.6-gpf toilet versus a 3.5-gpf toilet.