Are you a water wasteroo and don’t even know it? Possibly. Shahzeen Attari, an assistant professor at Indiana University who studies resource consumption, recently asked 1,020 people how best to conserve water at home. It turns out, we know cutting back is a good idea, but we’re not 100 percent sure how to do that. Save water and trim your bill with these simple secrets.
DON’T … wash dishes by hand.
DO … load up your dishwasher. Attari says that as long as your machine bears an Energy Star label, you can save 3.2 gallons of water per day—but only if the load is full.
DON’T … take daily baths.
DO … go the short shower route. Five minutes under the stream is all you need and will save 11 gallons a day. Install a low-flow showerhead while you’re at it. H2OKinetic models flow at just 1.5 gallons per minute, but the water’s wave pattern makes the shower feel warmer and wetter.
DON’T … underestimate your toilet’s ability to waste water.
DO … consider installing a new toilet. “A standard [older] toilet may use about 3.5 gallons per flush, whereas a WaterSense-labeled toilet is only allowed to use a maximum of 1.28 gallons per flush,” Attari says. So let’s say your toilet is flushed 13 times a day. Switching to a low-flow toilet means saving 28.9 gallons daily.
DON’T … consider one pair of socks a load of laundry.
DO … fill your washer to capacity every time. Full loads maximize your washing machine’s efficiency. Better yet, switch it out with a model bearing an Energy Star sticker. Those machines use just 15 gallons of water per load, whereas ones without the seal use 23 gallons.