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After realizing that my family and I were likely wasting A LOT of water, I became really interested in putting an actual number to how many gallons were going down the drain.
In this post, I’ll share why it’s important to conserve water, how to figure out how many gallons of water are going down your drain, what you can do to save water and some cool tools to help!
Why Conserve Water
Our planet is covered by water so why conserve it?
Earth is covered by water (71% to be approximate) but 96.5% is saltwater which requires a lot of work to make it suitable to drink and use. And, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, each person in the U.S. uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day.
In addition, using less water helps to conserve energy. If you use less water, less water will go down your drain and need to be treated at a wastewater facility which is powered by electricity!
Determine Your Flow Rate
I did a little research online and discovered a very easy (and not too time consuming) way to measure how many gallons per minute each of our faucets was producing. Grab your kids and start measuring!
Collect And Measure
You’ll need a few supplies including:
- bowl or pitcher for collecting water (preferably with a pouring spout)
- measuring cup
The first step is obviously to collect the water.
Turn on the faucet or showerhead and collect water for 10 seconds. When collecting from a showerhead try to be sure you are collecting water from the entire shower head. It may be easier to set the showerhead to a thinner stream versus a wider one.
If you are measuring a smaller faucet like in a bathroom sink you’ll need to find a collecting bowl that will fit underneath and not spill when you take it back out from under the faucet.
You don’t really need a stopwatch but if you want to be really accurate go for it.
Calculate And Convert
When your 10 seconds is up take your water and head over to your measuring cup and see what you’ve got!
I used a regular liquid measuring cup and noted my water in fluid ounces. Armed with that information I converted fluid ounces into gallons.
The last calculation is to convert your gallon measurement into a flow rate in GPM (gallons per minute).
To do this multiply the number of gallons by 6 (i.e. (0.25 gal x 6 = 1.5 GPM). And there you have it – the total number of gallons per minute your faucet or showerhead produces!
Wow – That’s A Lot Of Water!
I pictured a plastic gallon milk container and thought to myself – wow, that’s a lot of water – especially when the faucet is flowing for minutes at a time!
It was a really useful exercise and has helped me to better explain to my family in more concrete terms the importance of being mindful of when we reach down and turn on the faucet.
It was also useful as a way to kickstart projects I could implement to conserve water in a number of ways.
To learn more ways to go green in the bathroom check out this mini-course:
The Busy Moms Real-Life Guide to Going (a little) Green: Green Your Bathroom Fast
Send Fewer Gallons Down the Drain
There are lots and lots of ways you can use less water every day. It starts with being mindful of how you are using water and then making a few tweaks.
One really easy way to force yourself (and your family!) to pay attention to water use is to time your shower every day for about a week. Simply hit start on your smartphone timer when you hop in (or when you start the water) and stop when you’re done.
Next, multiply the time in minutes by 2.5 to get the approximate gallons per minute for your shower!
For 200+ (yes, 200!) ways to save water, check out this infographic (and article) from Sensible Digs, “200+ Simple and Practical Ways to Save Water.”
Cool Tools to Save Water
In addition to changing your habits when it comes to using water, there are lots of cool gadgets to help make it easy too!
Instead of allowing gallons per minute go down the drain while you wait for the hot water to get from your water heater to your faucet, install an under-sink mini-tank water heater! Instant hot water!
To get a better picture of how you use water in your home, consider a smart water monitor!
In the shower, install a low-flow showerhead to reduce water use without sacrificing a refreshing shower! We have one similar to this but there are lots on the market to choose from!
Finally, reuse the rain for things like watering lawns, gardens and houseplants by collecting with a rain barrel. There are a variety of styles and colors to choose from!
If You Liked This Post…
Want to learn more easy ways your family can live greener every day. Check out these posts before you go!