In San Diego, a typical household uses around 14 hundred cubic feet (HCF) of water a month (more in the summer, less in the winter.) One HCF of water is equal to 748 gallons, so a typical household uses about 10,472 gallons a month. With climate change concerns, pervasive droughts, and high energy prices across the country, nearly everyone is looking for ways to conserve resources and cut costs. The good news is that by using a little “water sense” You can save Water, Energy, and Money at home!!
Washing laundry is a significant use of water in the average home. Accounting for 15% to 30% of the overall water consumption inside the typical household of four. The average American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry each year.
An old school washer will use approximately 40 to 45 gallons of water per load and have a water factor of 10 or higher. A family of four using a standard clothes washer will generate more than 300 loads per year, consuming 12,000 gallons of water annually. The standard top loading clothes washer, using a vertical-axis drum, has changed little from General Electric’s design in 1947. The vertical axis design requires enough water in the drum to suspend the fabric in the soapy water while the agitator churns the clothes to help remove dirt and stains. The large amount of water required to suspend the fabric in the tub limits the ability for this type of washer to efficiently use water. Historically, vertical axis washers consumed 45 gallons per load, though newer models of the past few years have reduced this to less than 40 gallons per load. Even the best designs manufactured today require more than 9 gallons of water per cubic foot of capacity.
New, High-Efficiency Washers (HEW) (front loading or top loading machines are available) can use 9 to 25 gallons of water per load and will have a water factor of 8 or less. Replacing an old and inefficient clothes washer can reduce this water use by more than 6,000 gallons per year, save energy, clean the clothes better, and reduce fabric wear. High-efficiency front or top loading washers facilitate greater efficiency because they use less water and energy. These high-tech machines are proven to be more effective in cleaning the clothes with less water, and is gentler on the fabric when compared to old-school vertical axis washers. Additional benefits of lower water use are: a) less laundry detergent is required; and, b) less water needs to be heated resulting in energy conservation. Most high-efficiency washers use only 9 to 30 gallons of water to wash the same amount of clothes as older washers that typically use 29 to 45 gallons per load.
Because washers come in various sizes and capacity, the water efficiency of clothes washers is rated using the term “Water Factor” to accurately compare water use. Water Factor (WF) is measured by the quantity of water (gallons) used to wash each cubic foot of laundry.
Is your washer over 10 years old? It’s estimated that there are 76 million top-loading washers with agitators, 25 million of which are at least 10 years old, still in use across the country. Washers manufactured before 1998 are significantly less efficient than newer models. Together, these inefficient washers cost consumers $2.8 billion each year in energy and water. Run full loads only, even if the washer has an adjustable load setting. A full load is the most efficient way to wash clothes.
Faucet water use accounts for 15-18% of the overall water consumption inside the typical household of four persons. An average American household of 3; uses between 18 and 27 gallons per day for all faucets (bathroom, kitchen, and utility sink). This amounts to between 6,600 and 9,750 gallons per household per year for faucet use. The main difference between a house that uses 9,750 gallons and 6,600 gallons per year is the flow rate of installed faucet aerators. Reduce the faucet flow rate; save water!
The aerator (the screw-on tip of the faucet nozzle) restricts the maximum flow rate of water from the faucet. New kitchen faucets are usually equipped with a 2.2 gpm aerator. Bathroom faucets can have aerators that restrict flow to 1.5, 1.2, 1.0, or 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Because hot water is frequently drawn from faucets, reducing flows also reduces hot water use which means energy savings!
When adjusting water temperature, instead of turning the water flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot or cold, turn the “offender” down rather than increasing water flow to balance the temperatures.
Water from your faucet is hundreds of times cheaper than bottled water and tested more carefully for contaminants. It’s also better for the environment. Simply cool it down in your refrigerator for better taste.
Small leaks in your home can quickly add up to many gallons lost. A dripping faucet can waste 15 gallons a day. Just a 1/8” sized leak consumes more than 3,500 gallons per day. Most leaks are easy to find, but some can go undetected. If your bill is unusually high, a little investigation can save both water and money. To find out if you have a leak, you may want to check: – Your toilet. It is not uncommon to lose more than 100 gallons a week to a toilet leak. You can check for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, then watch for a few minutes. If the color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak that needs to be repaired. – Dishwashers and clothes washer. Look for drips or stains underneath or behind these appliances. – Indoor and outdoor faucets. Replace worn gaskets and washers. – Sprinkler systems. Check for damaged sprinkler system heads and system leaks.
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