How to Save Water (and money) With Your New Bathroom Remodel Part 1
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, one leaky faucet can waste over 70 gallons of fresh water every year. Multiply that by all of the sinks, shower heads, hoses, and toilets you have in your house, and not only will you get a tsunami of wasted water, but you’ll also find yourself drowning in wasted money when your water bill finally comes. This is not a scenario any homeowner wants to endure.
With more water-using appliances and fixtures than any other room in the house, the bathroom is often the worst offender when it comes to wasting water – both unintentionally through drips and leaks, and through the regular use of old, outdated, or indulgent bathroom fixtures that are bursting at the seams with H2O.
If you’re ready to make a difference in the way you use water, there is good news: saving water in your bathroom doesn’t necessarily have to mean cutting minutes from your daily routine. There are plenty of steps that you can take during your upcoming bathroom remodel to ensure that even your current bathroom regimen can help curb your water use without changing your already established habits. Let’s explore the ways that you can incorporate a water-saving mindset into your bathroom remodel, and gear your design to help keep water use down, money savings up, and relaxation at a maximum.
Saving Water and Money With Showers
Showers may be an essential part of our everyday cleaning routine, but they’re also big wasters when it comes to water. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that older shower heads can use as much as 4 gallons of water per minute! Multiply that by the amount of time the EPA estimates average Americans spend in the shower (8 minutes) and what the U.S. Census deems the average amount of people per household, 2.6, and you get over 30,360 gallons of water used in just the shower each year. That means that you and just your neighbors on your block could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with just your shower heads. That’s a whole lot of wasted water.
However, just the fact that you have a shower means you’re already headed in the right direction when it comes to the basics. Showers, North America’s preferred method of daily cleaning, according to the Sacramento Bee, use about one third less of the water that traditional bathtubs do, and that alone makes them a better bet to conserve water. That means if your bathroom doesn’t currently have a shower, or one that comfortably suits your daily needs, installing a full-service shower stall should be the first thing on your must-have list for your bathroom remodel.
The type of shower head you chose can also have a big impact on your water usage. Studies show that using a single head versus a multi-head “spa” type of shower head can make a significant impact on water use. Many of the biggest faucet and bathroom hardware manufacturers make low-flow showerheads with the purpose of helping to save water while still providing a satisfying showering experience. These are highly recommended for all bathroom remodels, and will make a big impact on your water bill for a small upfront cost.
Time Spent in Showers
Yet another variable that may influence the amount of time you spend in the shower is your shower stall design. If you’re planning your remodel with saving money, water, and energy as a priority, you may want to let some of the luxury shower accoutrements–shower bench, steam capabilities, TVs, radios– flush down the drain. These additions, while awesome and certainly luxurious, encourage longer showers which incur more water waste and costs.
Water Recycling Systems
If you’re a fan of really long, relaxing showers, technology has come up with a way for you to enjoy showers of any length without running up the water meter. The long-awaited answer to the long-showerers dilemma: water recycling systems. These cost-saving warriors actually recycle the water you use during your shower, as you’re using it – how’s that for fancy? These incredible systems are estimated to save about 90% of the water you’d waste during a normal shower, and thousands of dollars on your water bill throughout the year.
Cost Savings and eliminating wasted water doesn’t just happen by updating the features in your bathroom, they can also be impacted by the way you send water to your loo. In the case of showers, heating the water can also incur serious costs too – this time on your energy bill. If you’re serious about saving money, and those wasted gallons waiting for the water to heat up, make sure to include a tankless or on-demand water heater in your remodel project. These impressive pieces can help save an average family up to 50% of their energy costs associated with heating water, and make sure you have a comfortable temperature any time you’re ready to start your clean routine.
Showers will always be part of our daily life, but just because they provide a constant stream of flowing warm water doesn’t mean there aren’t steps that can be taken to reduce their impact on your water use. The tips listed above are great examples of ways you can use your remodel as the catalyst for saving water and saving money, and revolutionizing the way you use mother nature’s most precious resource in the shower. Stay tuned for the next post where we’ll examine how the other fixtures that call your bathroom home can be updated in your remodel to keep the savings, and conservation, flowing free.