How to Conserve Water in Your Bathroom

Your home's bathroom is likely its biggest source of water usage — and water waste. Take steps to make your home more green by conserving water. You'll also lower your water bills, thus keeping more green in your wallet.

Saving water while showering

If you prefer showers to baths, then good for you! Showers consume less water than baths — a lot less! According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it takes as many as 70 gallons to fill a tub, while a shower demands only 10 to 25 gallons.

You can crank up the water savings even more by making a few changes in your shower stall:

  • If your showerhead was manufactured before 1993, replace it with a model that restricts flow to 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) — some emit just 1.6 gpm. For as little as $20, you can halve your water use with a low-flow showerhead.

    A low-flow showerhead
    A low-flow showerhead
  • Choose a showerhead with a dual-control lever so you can reduce or turn off water flow while soaping up or shampooing.

  • If your shower takes a couple minutes to heat up, capture the wasted water in a bucket and reuse in the garden. (You could also pour it into the toilet tank to save on the next flush, or use it in the washing machine.)

  • Keep your shower to five minutes—perhaps the toughest challenge of all for shower lovers.

Buying a water saving toilet

The next time you buy a toilet, research your options. You may find yourself saving a lot of water with every flush. Toilets manufactured before 1993 use an average of 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) —and as much as 7 gpf! Also, the average toilet consumes as much as 26 percent of total home water usage.

Post-1993 toilets use a mere 1.6 gpf, which means you could be looking at cutting your water loss by more than half. Or you can take it a step further and buy a dual-flush model. Press the button on the left and you get “flush-lite,” at .9 gpf. (That’s point-nine, as in less than a gallon.) Press the button on the right and 1.6 gpf takes care of the, um, bigger jobs.

Although you may have heard all kinds of horror stories about the earlier generation of low-flow toilets — how you had to flush two or three times to do the job (and where’s the water savings in that?) — be assured that the new models are very efficient. In fact, you can get away with using the .9-gpf button for virtually all situations.

Check out the EPA's WaterSense program for more ways to save water in your bathroom.

Saving water at the sink

Compared to the shower and toilet, your bathroom sink hardly uses any water, at all. But you can still conserve water by following a couple of easy tips, such as turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth or wash your hands. Turn the water on again to quickly rinse when you're done. If you let the water run while you brush your teeth or later your hands, you could be using as much as three to four times the water you would if you turned it off.

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