While kitchens utilize the most energy inside a home, the bathrooms are responsible for the highest amount of water expenditure. Although planet Earth is a water planet, not all the water is suitable for consumption. Plus, potable water as a natural resource is in danger of becoming insufficient for human needs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average person uses around 90 gallons of water per day. Only two gallons of this are used for drinking and cooking. The rest is used for bathing, laundry, washing dishes and cars, cleaning and gardening. It is specifically in the bathrooms where most of this water is used and wasted.
Changing bathroom fixtures for water efficient ones is the recommended way to reduce water usage. After 1994 all bathroom fixtures produced in the U.S. are created based upon a specific law which controls the water consumption. Older toiletes for example, may use 3.5 gallons of water for each flush, while a new one uses 1.3 gallons each flush. Also available is the “dual flush” model, which has two options for flushing. This model allows the user to choose the amount of water to be used. The amount of water ranges from 0.9 to 1.6 gallons at a time. A family of four people, with normal usage, may save up to $1,000 annually with toilet replacement. Faucets and flushing devices with activation sensors are excellent alternatives to reduce water usage, not only in commercial, but in residential applications also.
Bathing in tubs, although relaxing, consumes a much higher volume of water than showering. A regular bathtub consumes about 70 gallons of water per bath, while a 5 minute run time for the shower uses 10 to 25 gallons. If your house has more than one bathroom, limit bathtubs to only one restroom. Bathtubs can also be replaced for more economic models. The current sophisticated market for bathtubs and spas already offers alternatives that use a lower amount of water during a bath saving up to 37 gallons. To reduce water consumption even more, replace the showers and faucets for new water saving fixtures. While a shower with lower water consumption uses up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute, a regular shower uses around 4.5 gallons of water per minute! Having separate controls to operate different shower options, main shower, handheld shower and/or a massage shower, helps to reduce water usage.
Electrical and gas boilers, the most commonly used appliance to warm and store hot water, are usually installed away from the bathrooms. From the moment the faucet or shower is turned on, until the moment the hot water reaches the final destination, a large amount of water goes literally down the drain. Furthermore, the water will still be hot when the shower is turned off and it will cool down inside the pipe! The stored water is also maintained hot even when not in use, which generates a waste of energy. You can minimize these costs replacing the standard water heater for a tankless model or using a circulating pump, which maintains hot water available at the end of usage. Naturally the pump will add to your energy cost. A tankless water heater is considered 50% more economical than a conventional boiler system.
The most important factor in a bathroom as well as in the entire house is to keep fixtures in good condition. Leakage in the bathrooms may represent the loss of up to 2,000 gallons of water per year in a faucet and up to 200 gallons per day in a toilet. Stay alert and try to avoid water running down the drain unnecessarily.