Stop a running toilet
A running toilet can waste two gallons of water per minute. A silent leak can waste up to 7,000 gallons of water per month. To find silent leaks, put food coloring in the tank. Do not flush. Check the toilet bowl ten minutes later. If you see color in the bowl, the tank has a silent leak.
Toilet leaks are typically caused by a worn out flapper valve, which is the stopper in the bottom of the tank that lifts up when you push the flush handle. The solution: replace your flapper. First, shut off the water at the toilet (not at the house line). Then remove the worn flapper and replace it. Your local hardware store can help you choose the proper replacement.
Check for leaks
A faucet with a slow steady drip wastes 350 gallons per month. If the leak is a small stream, 2,000 to 2,700 gallons of water go to waste every month. To fix these leaks, simply replace the worn washers in the faucets.
To look for hidden leaks, begin by turning off all running water in the house. Check the reading on your water meter. Don't use any water for 30 minutes, then read the meter again. If it shows any water use, you have a leak that needs repair.
Easy ways to use less
Place a gallon jug under the sink or tub faucet while you wait for the water to heat. Use the captured water for other purposes, like flushing or watering plants. Insulating hot water pipes minimizes both water and energy waste because it reduces the amount of time needed for hot water to arrive at your tap.
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Use a cup to rinse your mouth. Run the tap only to rinse the toothbrush.
When showering or washing your hands, wet your body. Turn off the water, soap up, then turn on the water to rinse.
When washing dishes by hand, fill the kitchen sink or a basin rather than letting the water run. Even better, use an automatic dishwasher. Newer models are more efficient than hand washing and do not require pre-rinsing dishes by hand. Simply scrape off food waste. Wash only full loads.
Wash fruits and vegetables in a sink or bowl filled with water rather than letting the water run.
Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator rather than running tap water for a cool drink.
Use the garbage disposal only when necessary. Compost your food waste. You can dispose of it in your green waste bin or use it for your garden. For more information on home and municipal composting, check out www.Stopwaste.org.
Average household water use and savings
|Fixture/Appliance||Range of savings (gallons/day)||How to save||EBMUD can help|
|Toilet||20-30||Install water displacement bag in the tank
Install quick-closing flapper valve
Replace older high-flow toilets with high-efficiency models
|High-efficiency toilet rebates ($50)|
|Shower||15-25||Install low-flow showerhead
Take shorter showers
Install shower control valve (on/off button) and take "military showers"
|Free showerheads with 2.0 gallon per minute flow rate|
|Clothes Washer||20-25||Use load size settings
Reduce the number of loads by washing full loads only
Replace standard washer with high-efficiency model
|Up to $200 rebate for high-efficiency washers|
|Bath Tub||1-2||Minimize fill level|
|Faucets||10-20||Install low-flow faucet aerators
Bath: do not let faucet run while saving and brushing teeth
Kitchen: Do not pre-rinse dishes when using dishwasher; scrape food waste into recycling container instead.
|Dishwasher||1-4||Wash only full loads||Free plate food scrapers (email email@example.com)|
|Leaks||3 to hundreds of gallons||Use dye tablets or food coloring to check toilets for leaks
Replace flapper valves and/or fix shut-off valve
Fix leaky faucets
Read meter when not using water to check for leaks
|Free dye tablets to check for leaks|