Shrinking supply and growing demand are driving water bills up. Add the cost of heating water and rising sewer fees and you can see how thousands of wasted gallons turn into hundreds of wasted dollars. You can save water by fixing drips and leaks. But in most homes, replacing water-wasting fixtures results in the biggest savings. Those savings depend on your local water costs; the estimates given here are based on average costs.
How to save water and buckets of money?
Efficient (but effective) toilets
A toilet manufactured before 1994 wastes almost $100 per year, compared to a modern, efficient model. A toilet made before 1980 wastes almost twice as much. The cost of a new toilet, plus installation, is typically $200 to $400—so your return is 25 to 100 percent per year, guaranteed. (Try to match that on Wall Street!) Unlike earlier models, which often required double-flushing, most of today’s water-saving toilets do their job in one flush.
Showerheads are not only the second-heaviest water user but also major energy eaters. That’s because 70 percent of the water flowing through the head comes from your water heater. By reducing both water consumption and water heating, a low-flow showerhead can pay for itself in just one month! And an efficient showerhead no longer means settling for a drizzle instead of a downpour. Many water-efficient showerheads change the shape and velocity of the water stream—even the size of the drops—to provide the high-flow feel.
Water-saving bath faucets
Like showerheads, efficient faucets save both water and energy. So—for a family of four—an efficient faucet will typically pay for itself in just a year or two and continue to save money for many more years. Most water-saving faucets use special aerators that increase airflow to compensate for decreased water flow, giving you the same feel as other faucets.
What about kitchen faucets?
Efficiency in kitchen faucets is a matter of debate. Some say more efficient is always better. Others say that in the case of kitchens, low-flow is bad; it just takes longer to fill the sink or a pitcher. For now, the naysayers have the upper hand. WaterSense doesn’t rate kitchen faucets and few low-flow models are available.