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We can start by making a few measurements to determine if we are wasting water.  Take a measuring cup and see how much water comes out of your faucets in one minute.

measuring the number of gpm

If it’s a gallon (4 quarts) or more we can install aerators that only allow a half gallon of flow per minute.  They cost less than $4.00 at building supply or hardware stores.  The flow rate is marked on the aerator.

Low Flow .5 gpm Aerator

Unscrew your old aerator from the faucet tip and take it with you to get the low flow one (there are a number of tread types and we need to match the new one with the old).

We can make the same measurement with our shower heads.  Low flow ones are 1.5 gallon per minute (gpm).

The other measurement we need to make is the time it takes for water to get hot.  We already found out how much water is used in one minute (gpm) so all we need to do is multiple the time for the water to get hot enough by the gpm rate and we will know how many gallons of water are wasted.

A simple $7.00 wand-like device called an Instant-off Water Saver (available on-line or at Home Depot) saves water by shutting off immediately after you brush your teeth or fill a water glass.  The other thing it does is to allow hot water to circulate through the  pipes so hot water comes on more quickly.

Instant-Off Water Saver in on position

Instant-Off Water Saver in "off" Mode

These are things to do without changing behavior.  If we want to get real about saving water and money we can take shorter showers.  And we can prompt ourselves to do so by installing a shut-off valve on the shower head.  This means wetting down, shutting off the water with the valve, soaping up, and then switching on the valve to rinse off.

Shutoff Valve

The biggest water waster is our toilets.  Unless we have a new dual flush toilet we are needlessly wasting hundreds of dollars of water every year.  A new dual flush toilet will pay for itself in 18 months.  But first check out the dual flush kits you can get on-line or at the local hardware or home improvement store for around $25.

dual flush kit

If we install these inexpensive devices we can easily our cut our indoor water bills in half.

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