How to Conserve: Indoors

Small changes can lead to big water savings when it comes to indoor water conservation, and low cost solutions are a great way to get started. For example, choose to take a shorter shower or update your faucets with low-flow aerators. Even electing to use a dishwasher over hand washing can save you water, not to mention time!  Read on to learn how these and other indoor conservation tips can make a difference. Visit the Home Water Works site to see how much water you use in your home (

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High Efficiency Toilets and other Fixtures

Toilets account for almost 30% of indoor household water use.  Older toilets use as much as 6 gallons of water per flush.  Efficient toilets have undergone major improvements in the last few years and perform as well as less efficient models.  Look for WaterSense labeled products—newer models use as little as 0.8 gallons per flush and have been evaluated to ensure superior performance.

Similarly, low flow showerheads and faucets save water in the home.  WaterSense rated shower heads use no more than 2 gallons per minute, while faucets use 1.5 gallons per minute or less.  Aerators (see below) are an inexpensive way to retrofit faucets to be more efficient.  Remember any hot water saved, also saves the energy needed to heat it.

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High Efficiency Appliances

Standard top loading washing machines can use 25-40 gallons of water per load.  With the average family washing 400 loads of laundry each year, that can mean upwards of 16,000 gallons of water annually.  Energy Star rated washing machines require only 15 gallons per load cutting water use down significantly and saving up to 10,000 gallons per household per year.

Dishwashers use significantly less water than hand washing dishes—can you hand wash all the dishes and silverware it would take to fill a dishwasher with less than 4 gallons of water? A modern dishwasher can while saving you time, soap, and energy.  Some other water and energy saving tips: look for Energy Star rated appliances, run only full loads and use shorter washing cycles and the air dry option for drying dishes.


Faucet Aerators

Faucet aerators are perhaps the simplest way to conserve water in your home.  An aerator is a small device that attaches to your faucet and reduces the flow rate.  The stream of water is dispersed, giving the impression of greater water pressure and causing fewer splashes.  Many municipalities distribute these inexpensive devices for free, but you can also purchase them at your local hardware store for $1-5.

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Take Shorter Showers

Showers account for 17% of a household’s indoor water use totaling about 1.2 trillion gallons a year in the United States.  The average shower lasts about 9 minutes.  Cutting that time by just one minute could save 900 gallons of water per person per year, depending on the flow rate of your shower.  Try listening to music while you shower and challenge yourself to be out before the first song ends!  You can also collect water in a bucket while the water is heating up and turn off the shower while shaving.  Also, don’t forget to turn the water off while brushing your teeth or while shaving.  

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Find and Fix Leaks

Household leaks waste an average of 10,000 gallons of water every year in American homes.  It’s estimated that as many as one trillion gallons of water are lost annually as a result.  Most leaks are easy to find and inexpensive to repair.  Watch for dripping faucets or toilets that continue to run after being flushed.

A good way to check for leaks in your home is to read your water meter before and after a time when you know you will not be using any water.  Make sure you have at least a two-hour window where no fixtures or appliances are actively demanding water including the irrigation system, water softener, and dishwasher.  Any change is most likely due to leaks with common culprits being toilets, faucets and showerheads.