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Old 12-22-2010, 07:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lowering household water consumption

I'm getting roommates in the house I recently purchased and include the utilities in the rent. I'd like to reduce water consumption as much as possible primarily for monetary reasons, but also for environmental.

I find that I enjoy my shower just as much with the water turned on only about 20% of full blast. Is there some device that can be installed inline with traditional shower heads that restricts water flow? I know there are low flow shower heads, but I bet I use even less water than those.

I'd also like to reduce flow from sinks, but I imagine that can be done by partially closing the supply line valves.

Any other tips for saving money as a homeowner?

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Old 12-23-2010, 12:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Low flow shower heads are going to be the way to go, you can get some really nice 1.5 gpm shower heads (2.5 gpm is standard) you can even get down as far as .5 gpm but those shower heads need higher water temp as the fine stream of water cools quickly.
You can also get sink aerators that reduce the water flow while adding air to it to make it look like more water, personally I brush my teeth with a small glass of water that I fill and plug the drain while washing hands, washing dish's in the largest dirty pan or with the sink drain closed as well.
self closing sink drains would really be the way to go.

If you really want to drop the water pressure you can get pressure regulators that go on the water main, but using the proper low flow fixture is going to keep your room mates happier.
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You can also try to convert your toilet to dual flush.
HydroRight Dual Flush Toilet Conversion - EcoRenovator.org
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm a fan of the "2 liter bottle in the toilet" method. Fill it up and sit it inside the tank, that's 2 less liters you're flushing every time. It really works.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The problem with displacing the water in your toilet tank is that alot of toilets end up not having the power to flush at that point, so you flush a 2nd time, using more water then if you had left your toilet alone, this is a toilet design flaw because there are toilets out there that flush with less water and work great! mine is a duel flush 1/1.6 gallon toilet and the 1 gallon flush works 95% of the time because the rest of the toilet is designed for the smaller amount of water.
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This may be a little crude... I'm only posting this because I never thought about it before but once it was mentioned to me it really changed how I do things.


A few years ago I heard that people were either "bunchers" or "folders" with toilet paper. I was really suprised as I thought everyone was a "buncher", like me. I never even considered folding! Turned out half of my close family were folders... I've since converted to thoughtful careful folding and think i use about 1/4 the toilet paper.

Annectdotally, I used to flush twice everytime! Now I never flush more than once. Plus saving all that toilet paper allows me to buy the most expensive luxury toilet paper and still save money and trees.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnmarcus View Post
A few years ago I heard that people were either "bunchers" or "folders" with toilet paper. I was really suprised as I thought everyone was a "buncher", like me. I never even considered folding! Turned out half of my close family were folders... I've since converted to thoughtful careful folding and think i use about 1/4 the toilet paper.
"FOLDING, yes...BUNCHING, no!" = the new 'SAVE the PAPER' campaign slogan (ha,ha)!
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If it's yellow keep it mellow, brown flush it down... When I was in the bush and paying for water by the truck delivered gallon I did this, now that I am on my own well *shug*.

I have also seen toilet lids that are also a sink. water filling the tank is routed up for you to wash your hands with then fills the tank.

two layers of clothing, a thin close to the body layer that is washed every time worn, and an outer layer that is washed when dirty. (just remember that stinking is rude)
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Insulating hot water pipes helps reduce the amount of time it takes to get hot water flowing.

Or, you can install a brass pump that recirculates the tepid water from the hot pipes back through the cold water pipes; since it is being drawn into the hot water tank from the cold supply. This was on This Old House a while back -- you push a switch first thing in the morning, or right before using the hot water, and wait a minute or so, and then the water you get at the tap / shower is hot right away.

If you are purchasing a dishwasher or clothes dryer, there are units that use far less water: Bosch dishwashers for example heat their own water, and use about 1/3 as much, and do not have electrical heating elements inside the washer, so you can wash plastics, and there is about 2" more height inside them. Front loading clothes washers also use about 1/3 the water, and they clean better and spin better and use a lot less electricity, too.

The bricks or water bottles in the tank trick works fine on old toilets that use 3-3.5 gallons per flush. New 1.6 gallon flush units are prime candidates for the $20 dual flush valve kit -- I saw these in Home Depot, and they are pretty simple to install, apparently. Or, if you are buying a new toilet, get a dual flush.
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ryland: We don't have that problem, I'm pretty sure my toilet is in the 2.5 gpf range. But it is something to consider.

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