My Top Ten List Item #9
There are lots of ways to save energy. One way to save is to reduce the amount of water you use. Sure, you could take shorter showers or turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth, but that all takes thought and changing our habits and we all know how likely that is. A much simpler way to save water without even thinking is to install aerators on all of your faucets and low flow shower heads in your showers. The Environmental Protection Agency says “If one out of every 100 American homes retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could save about 100 million kWh of electricity per year – avoiding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.” That’s a lot of water and all without even thinking or changing any of my habits.
Now, I have a test for you. Get a 2 qt saucepan out of your kitchen and head to the shower. Yes, the shower. Place the saucepan on the floor of the shower right in the center of the shower discharge and turn it on. If it takes less than 12 seconds to fill the pan, you need a low flow shower head with an aerator. It doesn’t take away from your shower experience, it just helps you save money. Changing out your shower head could help you use as much as 50% less water! How does that save you money if you pump it out of the ground instead of paying for your water? I have teenagers. Have you seen how long they can stay in a hot shower? Nuff said?
Next, you need to check out your kitchen faucet. You want an aerator to lower the flow rate of this fixture as well. The thing to keep in mind in the kitchen is that you routinely are filling pots and things for cooking so you don’t want to lower the flow as much as you would in the bathroom where you are only washing your hands and brushing your teeth.
All faucet aerators have WaterSense ratings on them to insure that you are getting an aerator that has a flow rating that falls under the EPA recommendations. For your kitchen think about purchasing one that is between 2.0 – 2.5 gallons per minute or gpm. For your bathroom you can go as low at 1.5 gpm and never even notice the difference. If you have no aerator at all now, you will probably be reducing your flow by as much as half.
You can find aerators and shower heads at any hardware store and the prices will vary depending on the manufacturer, just remember to look for the WaterSense label when you buy!