When most people think of saving energy, the first thing that comes to mind is turning off the lights, unplugging the appliances, and saving electricity. But most don’t realize that saving water also contributes to saving energy.

 According to WaterSense, a partnership website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the amount of energy annually used to deliver, heat, and treat water for one household could power a household refrigerator for a year…not to mention the fact that, in some areas of the USA, this estimate actually falls on the low side, as there are areas of the country where it takes six times that amount to do the job. On average, some homes (those with electric water heaters) spend ¼ of their electric bill just to heat the water.

 So…what can be done about it?

 The best thing, first, is to start installing water-efficient products into the house. For example, this past weekend, in keeping with our current family project of energy saving, we installed low-flow showerheads in both full baths. These showerheads keep the water flowing at a constant 2.5 GPM (gallons per minute) and allow us to use the water efficiently while taking a shower. Coupled with the rule about avoiding longer than 10-minute showers, we feel this is an acceptable step in conserving water and, therefore, conserving energy.  The showerheads took less than 10 minutes to install, required only the use of plumbers tape and a pipe wrench, and frankly, are better than what we had. The new showerheads offer massage settings and a stronger, steadier stream of spray.

 In addition to the low-flow showerheads, we also installed a low-flow aerator in the master bathroom, limiting the flow on that sink to 1.0GPM. Because the sink is in use by two people in that bathroom at various times, we felt this was the best place to put it. The reason we did not install bathroom aerators in the other two baths with sinks (one a full bath, one a half-bath) was not for lack of wishing – the aerators we had simply didn’t fit the faucet.

 In the kitchen we also installed an aerator on the sink, a 1.5GPM regulating beauty that attached very easily to the current faucet (thank goodness, after the bathroom ordeal we were really scratching our heads.) The aerator is attached to a swivel, allowing it to rotate around the sink, as well as having what is known as a “pause-action lever” – a little handle that we flip up to reduce the water to a trickle when necessary. Of course, I just prefer turning the water off, but you never know!

 The aerator in the kitchen sink actually saves 30% more water than a standard kitchen sink aerator, which is set at 2.2GPM, not 1.5GPM. According to DTE, the local energy provider, that’s 7,665 gallons of water annually. We predict that we’ll start seeing the savings right away, as when we pulled the old aerator out to change it…well, some things are better left unsaid.

 We’re not as rabid as some about saving water, though the thought is constantly on our minds. We didn’t replace the turn knobs of the shower with a simple chain that will activate the water when pulled and turn it off when released, as we do tend to prefer hot water for showers and not whatever comes out (too many years of camp showers for some in this household!)

 With our new showerheads and aerators installed, we look happily forward to saving water. Next step will be to wrap the pipes coming from the hot water heater in insulating pipe wrap, and see if that helps us to save energy as well.

 Have a good day, everyone! I’m sure more adventures will soon follow.

Oh yes, before I forget…be sure to check out our pages “Home Cooking” and “The Garden Chronicles” (links at the top of this page) for updates.

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