Jay Bell: 4 Things To Know About Your Home’s Water Use

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - by Jay Bell, president, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

Most home owners are lucky enough to be able to start each day with a hot shower and a fresh cup of coffee. You might even take a few minutes to water your lawn or garden before heading off to work. This is all second nature, and you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your home’s water consumption.

In fact, you may be surprised to learn a few fact about where and how your home uses water.

1.     Indoor Water Use

The majority of indoor water is used in your home’s bathrooms. Toilets are the biggest water users inside the house, with each flush requiring gallons of water. Shower faucets land in second place.

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders found that single-family homes built after the 1990s have an average of 3.1 toilets, 2.6 showers, and 2.3 bathtubs. Luckily, innovations in water-saving technology for showers and toilets have exploded in recent decades, so it’s fairly easy to cut down on your bathroom water use with a few updates.

After bathrooms, laundry rooms consume the most water by far. Though they’ve also been getting more and more efficient over the years, clothes washers still need gallons of water to clean just one load of laundry.

2.     Leaks Are Your Enemy  

After bathrooms and clothes washers, leaks are actually the third highest consumer of indoor household water. Make sure you’re not throwing money down the drain by ignoring seemingly small leaks.

Just one dripping faucet wastes gallons of water per day and could have a sizable effect on your water bill. It’s worth the time and effort to find a professional to come in and fix the leaks you know about and ask them to check out all your pipes to make sure everything is sealed tight and working properly.

3.     Kitchens Are Actually Pretty Efficient

You might be surprised to learn that when it comes to water use, kitchens are pretty low on the list of consumers. Dishwashers are extremely common in modern homes, and they use far less water than washing dishes by hand. You can save water, time, and ultimately money, by filling and running your dishwasher regularly.

4.     Lawns, Gardens, and Swimming Pools

A recent Residential End Uses of Water (REUW) study found single-family homes used an average of 276 gallons of water per day, with almost exactly half of that water is used outside the home.

Though this consumption largely spent watering lawns and gardens, particularly in hot climates that get very little rainfall, the increased prevalence of home swimming pools also contributes to high rates of average outdoor water use.

Before 1960, homes with swimming pools were extremely rare. The REUW found that only three percent of homes built before 1950 had swimming pools, while 12 to 15 percent built after 1959 have them, and they understandably take a lot of water to clean, fill, and maintain.

Knowing more about how and where your home uses water will not only give you a better understanding your monthly water bill, but it can also help you to prioritize what energy saving updates will give you the highest return on investment.

For more information about home maintenance, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.hbagc.net or contact HBAGC at 423-624-9992 or info@hbagc.net.


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