Learn more about home water conservation checks

    Published: September 24, 2015

    Water Conservation Check for New Homeowners

    Moving into a new home can be a hectic event. Packing, unpacking, mortgage paperwork, and a few hundred little details make it easy to overlook some important aspects of homeownership, including an evaluation of how well your new home conserves water. The sooner you address factors encouraging water waste, the sooner you have a greener home and a lower water bill.

    Learn more about home water conservationHouse Age & Water Conservation

    If your home was built after 1994, all faucets, showerheads, and toilets should conform to current federal water efficiency requirements. Older homes may not meet these requirements, which can make a serious impact on your water use.

    Prior to 1994, showerheads had a flow rate of 5.5 gallons a minute. New showerheads typically have flow rates of 2.5 gallons a minute or less. Adding aerators to bathroom and kitchen faucets will also slow water flow.

    Older toilets have a high potential for water waste. Pre-1994 toilets use 3.5 gallons per flush, while modern WaterSense toilets use 1.6 gallons. You can lower toilet water use even more with a high-efficiency toilet that uses 20 percent less than the federally required 1.6 gallons. Or you can reduce daily water use by installing dual-use toilet handles.

    Leaks & Drips

    A dripping faucet can cost you up to 10 gallons of water a day, or a staggering 3,600 gallons a year. Leaky faucets are usually caused by worn-down rubber washers, which are an easy and cheap DIY fix.

    If you’re hearing a toilet run when not in use, the cause may be a leaky flapper in the tank. To check, add a few drops of food coloring to the cistern, wait five minutes, and check the toilet bowl. If the water in the bowl is stained with food coloring, you need to replace the flapper.

    Water Pipes

    Check all visible water pipes for leaks, and insulate hot water pipes if needed. Insulating your hot water supply reduces the amount of water wasted as you clear them of cold water.

    Hard Water

    If your water supply contains a high degree of minerals, you may have “hard” water. Rust-like stains around faucets and sink plugs suggests a hard water problem. Hard water leaves a scaly mineral build up on pipes, in water heaters, and in water-based appliances. This build-up damages plumbing and appliances over time.

    To fix hard water, many people install a water softening system. If your new home already has one, check to see whether or not it’s a salt-based water softener. Salt-based softening systems are highly water inefficient with some models flushing a gallon of wastewater for every gallon of water softened; that can translate into 150 gallons of wasted water a week.

    If your home has a salt-based water softening system, consider replacing it with a water softener alternative like Pelican Water’s NaturSoft®. NaturSoft® systems remove appliance-damaging hard minerals while retaining beneficial minerals necessary for healthy bodies — all with zero wastewater.