Replacing old, high water use fixtures with high-efficiency models goes a long way towards making your home more water efficient.
Toilet flushing is usually the biggest use of water inside the home. Halton Region continues to offer a rebate to residents who purchase and install a WaterSense labelled high-efficiency toilet in their home. See if you are eligible www.halton.ca/toiletrebate (1 rebate per household).
Toilets installed in homes prior to 1996 generally flushed with 13 to 18 litres of water or more per flush. This is six times more water than the most efficient model currently on the market!
In 1996, the Ontario Building Code mandated that 6 litre toilets be installed in all new construction. Unfortunately, many of these early designs did not perform as required. Fortunately, toilet design and performance has improved dramatically since then. Since 2012, the Ontario Building Code has required installation of toilets that flush with 4.8 litres of water or less in all new construction.
Ensure that all your toilets are high-efficiency WaterSense (external link)® labelled models that flush with 4.8 litres or less (including dual flush).
The table below demonstrates potential water savings of an average household over the course of one year, if old 13 or 20 litre toilets are replaced with high-efficiency 4.8 litre models.
Toilet Replacements - Water Savings
|Comparable Water Use:
20 Litre Toilet
13 Litre Toilet
4.8 Litre Toilet
|Assume 5 flushes/person/day
|Assume 2.8 persons/household
|Approximate water use/hh/year
Without proper maintenance, even a water efficient toilet may consume more water over time. If the flapper is not replaced regularly, it can deteriorate and the toilet may quietly run. To test your toilet for leaks, follow the steps below:
- Remove the tank cover from your toilet.
- Place a drop or two of food colouring into the tank during a period of idle use.
- Observe if any coloured water has seeped into toilet bowl after 15 to 30 minutes.
- Flush toilet to avoid colour staining the bowl
If you observe the added food colouring in the toilet bowl, without having flushed the toilet, you have a leak! This is an excellent opportunity to replace your toilet with a water efficient model, or to replace the flapper or fill valve. Check with your local plumbing supply store to ensure you replace the flapper with one specifically designed for your toilet.
Showers and Baths
Showering is the second largest use of water on average within the home. Most people would agree that showering uses less water than drawing a bath. However, with the long showers that some of us have come to enjoy, especially in showers with multiple shower heads, it can very easily use more water than taking a bath.
A standard showerhead uses 9.5 to 13 litres of water per minute, along with significant energy to heat the hot water. Some styles can use more than twice this amount. A water efficient model that uses 7.6 litres per minute not only saves water but also contributes to reduced energy consumption by heating less water. The wide variety of efficient showerheads currently available means you don't have to sacrifice comfort for improved water efficiency.
Washing machine performance has also improved dramatically in the last few years, with the introduction of the high-efficiency front-loading style. Front-load washing machines (along with a few specially designed top-load models) use up to 40% less water and up to 60% less energy than traditional top-loading designs. By replacing the agitation function with a tumbler component, they are also designed to be gentler on clothing.
Install an Aerator on all faucets in your home.
- Aerators combine water and air to establish greater pressure while using less water each time you turn on your faucet.
- Standard faucets without aerators can use as much as 3.5L/min
- Faucets with aerators can use as little as 1.9 L/min
You can save even more water in the home by making small changes to your daily routines in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Avoid running the tap when brushing your teeth, cleaning, shaving, and washing. By filling a cup or the sink with water when doing these tasks can reduce water use by 60 to 80%.
- Partially fill one sink for washing and the other for rinsing if you wash dishes by hand.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap to wait for cold water.
- Make sure to fully load your dishwasher before each wash cycle, and you may even use less water than washing dishes by hand.
- Check your toilet for slow, silent leaks due to old flappers.
- Check pipe connections. Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings such as showerhead connections for any water on the outside of the pipe. As this may indicate a leak. You may want to contact a plumber to undertake repairs.
- Inspect outdoor faucets and in-ground irrigation systems. Each spring, check outdoor faucets and connections for drips, and automatic irrigation systems for leaks before use, to make sure they have not been damaged by frost or freezing. Ensure automatic irrigation systems will not come on when it rains.