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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, November 27, 2020

A closer look at water conservation in your home




From hand-washing to yard maintenance and everything in between, homeowners in the Tennessee Valley use a considerable amount of water throughout the day. In fact, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home, the Environmental Protection Agency reports.

Reducing water consumption has become a top priority for homebuyers and builders. A recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders states water-conserving fixtures such as high-efficiency toilets, faucets and shower heads were rated as essential or desirable home features by more than half of the respondents.

The following are a few water-saving ideas for your home inside and out.

Eliminate leaks

An easy way to save water is to make sure you have no identifiable water leaks. Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.

Common leaks inside your home are found in toilets or faucets. Irrigation systems or garden hoses can be sources of leaks outside your home. Most leaks are relatively simple to repair and require few tools or hardware.

Tankless water heaters

These units are designed to save energy by heating water only when needed. They are similar in cost to traditional gas water heaters but are 30% more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

High-efficiency toilets

Older, inefficient toilets use as much as six gallons per flush and are considered a major source of wasted water in many homes. All new toilets since 1992 must be 1.6 gpf or lower. High-efficiency toilets are 1.28 gpf or lower, and those with the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense label have also been performance-tested and are worth considering if you replace your toilet.

More information about the EPA’s WaterSense program is available at epa.gov/watersense.

Faucets

The latest water faucet technologies for your kitchen or bathroom are designed to shut off the water automatically immediately after use. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save as much as 3,000 gallons of water per year.

If replacing your fixture isn’t an option, consider installing an aerator to reduce water use. An aerator is an inexpensive faucet accessory that can be easily retrofitted to a conventional faucet.

Shower heads

Showering accounts for nearly 17% of residential indoor water use. A common misconception about low-flow shower heads is that the water will come out as a steady trickle. In fact, modern low-flow shower heads deliver consistent water pressure allowing a person to wash and rinse without any issues while also conserving water.

WaterSense certified shower heads have been tested to demonstrate they perform as well or better than conventional shower heads.

Washing machines

If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, a full-sized Energy Star-certified clothes washer uses 14 gallons of water per load, compared to the 20 gallons used by a standard machine.

There are other ways to save water while doing laundry such as washing a full load each cycle.

Landscape design

You can design your yard for water-efficiency by incorporating plants that are defined as low water use or drought tolerant. Similarly, native plants can survive the local climate with minimal watering.

How you water your yard can also save water; smart irrigation, sensors and even what time of day (avoid midday) makes a difference.

To hire an area professional who can help improve your home’s overall efficiency, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s online directory at HBAGC.net.