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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

Tips for Inside the Home

Marylanders have access to an abundance of water much of the time, so the importance of clean water is often overlooked. For most of us, water use is a habit. We are accustomed to having water available at the twist of a faucet. We usually do not think about how much water we use.

Average Daily Water Use

Be aware of how much water you use! Awareness is the first step in conservation. The average Maryland citizen person uses almost 100 gallons of water per person per day on the following activities:

  • Toilet
  • Bathing and hygiene
  • Laundry
  • Kitchen
  • Housekeeping
  • Outdoor Activities

Indoor water use by fixture is shown in the following graph:

Indoor Per Capita Use by Fixture Source: AWWA, 1999

Indoor Per Capita Use By Fixture

You can determine your average daily water use by conducting a Household Water Audit.

Water Savings

The amount of savings depends on current water consumption habits, water, sewer and energy costs, current flow rates of fixtures and flush volumes of toilets, system pressure, and the amount of water leakage through fittings and toilets.  Water can be conserved by making improvements in the home or by modifying behavior.

Retrofit or Replace Water Fixtures

Water-saving devices are economical and permanent. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators save valuable water and energy used to heat water without requiring changes in personal water use habits.The following chart highlights how much water can be conserved by installing water-saving equipment in place of conventional plumbing fixtures, fittings and appliances.

 

Conventional Fixture/Appliance

Water Use (gallons)

Water Saving Fixture/Appliance

Water Use (gallons)

Water Savings (gallons)

Vintage Toilet* 4 - 6 per flush Low Consumption Toilet*** 1.6 per flush 2.4 - 4.4 per flush
Conventional Toilet** 3.5 per flush Low Consumption Toilet*** 1.6 per flush 1.9 gal/flush
Conventional Showerhead* 3-10 per min Low-Flow Showerhead 2-2.5 per min 0.5 - 8 per min
Faucet Aerator* 3-6 per min Flow Regulating Aerator 0.5-2.5 per min. 0.5- 5.5 per min
Top-Loading Washer 40-55 per load Front-Loading Washer 22-25 per load 15 - 33 per load
* Manufactured before 1978
** Manufactured from 1978 to 1993
*** Manufactured since January 1, 1994


Repair All Leaks

A dripping faucet is more than annoying...it is expensive. Even small leaks can waste significant amounts of water. Hot water leaks are a waste of water and of the energy used to heat the water.

Leaks inside the toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. Toilet leaks can be detected by adding a few drops of food coloring to water in the toilet tank. If the colored water appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking.

If you have a leaking faucet or toilet, stop pouring money down the drain and repair it.

Save Water In The Bathroom

  • When constructing a new home or remodeling your bathroom, install low consumption (1.6 gal/flush) toilets.
  • Place a weighted plastic one-half gallon jug or a toilet dam in the tanks of conventional toilets to displace and save water with each flush.
  • Install low-flow aerators and showerheads. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and save water and energy.
  • Do not let the faucet flow while brushing your teeth or shaving. Use a glass of water for rinsing teeth.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths. Consider bathing small children together.
  • If your shower has a single-handle control or shut off valve, turn off the flow while soaping or shampooing.
  • Leaking diverter valves (valves which divert water from the tub spout to the showerhead) should be replaced.

Save Water In The Kitchen And Laundry Room

  • Refrigerate a pitcher of drinking water instead of letting a faucet flow until the water is cold enough to drink.
  • Use a dishpan or plug the sink for washing and rinsing dishes. Install a low-flow aerator on all faucets.
  • Do not pre-rinse dishes prior to loading in a dishwasher.  Prerinsing is an unnecessary and wasteful use of water.
  • Operate the washing machine and dishwasher only when they are fully loaded.
  • Use the proper water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
  • When purchasing a washing machine or dishwasher, consider water consumption as well as energy efficiency. Most manufacturers now provide this information to consumers.

Save Water Outside The Home

Watering of lawns and gardens can double normal household water use during the hot, dry summer months. At standard household water pressures, a garden hose will discharge up to 10 gallons of water per minute. To apply an inch of water to 1,000 square feet of lawn or garden requires close to 1,000 gallons of water.

Watering should be limited to gardens, and newly planted lawns and landscaped areas. Established lawns and landscape plantings will usually survive without watering. Inadequate watering encourages shallow root growth and increases the risk of mortality. When water is scarce, your community or individual water supply should be reserved for your most essential needs.

  • Equip your hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways, steps and sidewalks.
  • Water your garden during the coolest part of the day. Do not water on windy days.
  • Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and cut down on weed growth.

Also see  Swimming Pool Tips, Car Washing Tips, Home Gardener Tips, and Building a Rain Barrel (.pdf).

Save Water in the Community

  • Survey water users within large water using facilities and develop plans to reduce water use.
  • Encourage a community-based service organization such as a scout group, service club or church youth group to start a water conservation program. Water conservation is stewardship of our natural resources.
  • Encourage use of drought tolerant vegetation in outdoor landscaping at large facilities and community sites.
  • Retrofit older buildings and facilities with water-efficient plumbing fixtures.

 For more information, contact water.supply@maryland.gov

 

 

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