Invest in some water-saving gadgets to minimize the amount of water you use in your home. Faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads payback their investment quickly by reducing water, energy and sewer bills.
If you have an older toilet, consider purchasing Athena's Controllable Flush Replacement Handle. This water-saving gadget turns into a dual flush system. Just pull the handle up to flush with your tank's full capacity; pull down to use only one and a half gallons. Athena estimates that a family of four can save over 30,000 gallons of water with this device.
Low-Flow Shower Heads
A low-flow shower head installs easily onto your shower to minimize the amount of water you use each time you bathe. Gaiam's Lowest Flow Shower Head uses 2¼ gallons of water per minute. Bricor makes a shower head that uses one gallon of water per minute and features a pause button that can be used while shaving or lathering to reduce flow further. The Aqua Helix shower head squeezes out only ½ gallon per minute.
Faucet aerators are inexpensive gadgets that often cost less than one dollar while reducing your water consumption at the sink by as much as 50 percent. If your faucet already has an aerator installed, it will have its flow rate imprinted on the side. Look for faucets with a rate of two and three-quarter gallons per minute or lower. If your faucet doesn't already have an aerator, you can install your own as long as the inside tip of the faucet is threaded. You can find faucet aerators at any local plumbing or hardware store, but call your water utility company first as they may give them out for free. Online, check out Niagara Conservation.
Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star appliances do more than just cut down your energy bill. Dishwashers and clothes washers that meet the Energy Star criteria also help you reduce your water and sewer bills. For instance, most qualified washing machines use only 18 to 25 gallons of water per load, compared to the forty gallons used by a standard model.
Point of Use Water Heaters
If it takes a long time for the hot water to reach your bathroom or kitchen, consider installing a point of use water heater such as the one from Ariston. Point-of-use water heaters produce instant hot water right where you need it and eliminate the need to run water until it is hot.
The AQUS Water System from Water Saver Technologies is a cool new gadget that collects the grey water from your sink and sends it over to your toilet tank to be used in the next flush. It fits directly under your vanity and can hold up to 5½ gallons of water.
Water filters not only take the toxins out of your water supply, they may also help you conserve water as well. In-home filters soften hard water, which can clog pipes and appliances, reduce clothing longevity, leave a film (meaning more cleaning) on bathtubs and shower tiles, and increase the cost to heat water by up to 30 percent. These clogs also shorten the overall life of your water heater. Install a filter to keep your water system running smoothly.