Residential Water Usage by the Numbers
When you flush the toilet or hop in the shower, the amount of water you are using is probably the last thing on your mind. However, as our resources dwindle and water conservation becomes increasingly important, reducing your personal water use becomes critical. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to reduce your water usage at home, but before you adopt them, you will need to understand where your water goes.
Some of the most visible sources of water usage at home include flushing toilets, bathing, and brushing teeth. According to the American Water Works Association, toilets compose the largest portion of water usage in the home, taking up 26.7 percent of total indoor water usage. Toilets use about 18.5 gallons per capita every day. This is partially because, historically, toilets have not been designed with water conservation in mind, so they are very inefficient. However, recent awareness of water usage at home as well as advances in design and technology are slowly changing this.
Showers and Faucets
Showers make up around 16.7 percent of water usage at home, averaging 11.6 gallons per capita every day. The amount of water that a shower expends can also vary depending on the type of shower head. A broad, low-pressure head will waste a lot more water, due to its wide coverage. Investing in a narrower high-pressure device will help reduce water usage at home. Faucets, such as kitchen and bathroom sinks, account for another 15.7 percent of water usage at home, or about 10.9 gallons per capita. Some of this water usage inevitable; people need to drink water or wash dishes. However, there also are simple ways to reduce faucet water usage, like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth or shave.
Laundry machines are a major source of water usage at home, making up 21.7 percent of indoor water use. The average washing machine uses thirty-five to forty-five gallons per load, which amounts to over 12,000 gallons per year used by the average American family of four. However, by choosing a high efficiency washer (HEW), this amount can be reduced by approximately 6,000 gallons, or 50 percent. You can also reduce water usage in the laundry room by waiting to do laundry until you have a full load and by using the most minimal settings possible. Comparatively, dishwashers compose only 1.4 percent of daily water use, or about one gallon a day. High-efficiency dishwashers use even less and can actually use less water than washing dishes by hand.
Some may be surprised to learn that leaks from toilets, faucets, and pipes make up nearly 14 percent of daily usage. Thankfully, you can eliminate and prevent leaks in your home by regularly checking for leaks. Besides leaks, other miscellaneous water uses are fairly small components of total water usage at home. By simply switching to high-efficiency appliances and practicing good conservation habits, you can easily and conveniently reduce your water usage at home.