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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, July 31, 2020

Four things to know about your home’s water use




Things are really heating up outside in the Chattanooga area, and residential water usage has increased as most homeowners have been spending more time at home this year. Whether watering the lawn, taking a shower or cooking, you might be surprised to learn these facts about where and how your home uses water.

Indoor water use

The majority of indoor water is used in your home’s bathrooms. Toilets are the biggest water users inside the house, with each flush requiring gallons of water. Shower faucets land in second place.

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders found that single-family homes built after the 1990s have an average of 3.1 toilets, 2.6 showers and 2.3 bathtubs. Luckily, innovations in water-saving technology for showers and toilets have improved in recent decades, so it’s fairly easy to cut down on your bathroom water use with a few updates.

Following bathrooms, laundry spaces consume the second highest volume of water in your house. Although high efficiency appliances have become more prevalent in homes over recent years, clothes washers still need gallons of water to clean just one load of laundry.

Leaks are your enemy

While bathrooms and clothes washers are necessary consumers of water, leaks come in third place as users of indoor household water. Make sure you’re not throwing money down the drain by ignoring seemingly small leaks.

Just one dripping faucet wastes gallons of water per day and could have a sizable effect on your water bill. It’s worth the time and effort to find a professional to come in and fix the leaks you know about and ask them to check out all your pipes to make sure everything is sealed tight and working properly.

Kitchens are surprisingly efficient

You might be pleased to learn that, when it comes to water use, kitchens are relatively low on the list of consumers. Dishwashers are extremely common in modern homes, and they use far less water than washing dishes by hand. You can save water, time, and money by loading and running your dishwasher regularly.

Lawns, gardens, pools

A recent Residential End Uses of Water study found single-family homes used an average of 276 gallons of water per day, with almost exactly half of that water used outside the home.

Though this consumption largely spent watering lawns and gardens, particularly in hot climates with little rainfall, the increased prevalence of home swimming pools also contributes to high rates of average outdoor water use.

Before 1960, homes with swimming pools were extremely rare. The study found that only 3% of homes built before 1950 had swimming pools, while 12-15% percent built after 1959 have them. Pools understandably take a lot of water to clean, fill and maintain.

Knowing more about how and where your home uses water will not only give you a better understanding about your monthly water bill, it can also help you to prioritize what energy saving updates will give you the highest return on investment.

To find an expert who can help you update your appliances or plumbing, visit Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net.