Indoor Water Use
The average American family of four uses about 12,120 gallons of water per month, about 16 units (ccfs - hundred cubic feet) on your water bill. This estimate includes indoor and outdoor water use averaged throughout the year. Like your energy bill, your water bill fluctuates throughout the year. But unlike your energy bill, your water use is likely lower in the winter months and higher in the summer months due to outdoor irrigation. Bathroom and kitchen faucets, showers, and baths account for about 34% of indoor water use. Appliances such as clothes washers and dishwashers use about 25%.
Toilets can account for as much as 30% of indoor water use, especially an old, high-flush toilet. Older toilets (manufactured before 1994) can use 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush (gpf). Newer toilets use 1.6 or 1.28 gpf, with some models using as little as 0.8 gpf.
When replacing plumbing fixtures always look for the EPA WaterSense label. This indicates water-efficient products that are backed by independent third party certification and meet EPA specifications for water efficiency and performance.
There is one more source that most people are not aware of: leaks. Leaks can account for about 14% of water use...or water waste...in your home. A faucet dripping at one drip per second can waste 3,000 gallons of water per year. A toilet leak can waste 200 gallons of water per day, 73,000 gallons of water per year, twice as much as the average American person uses! Curious about how much water is wasted from leaks? Check out the American Water Works Association’s Drip Calculator. More information on how to check for, and repair, leaks.
Federal Plumbing Standards
Federal plumbing standards require that all plumbing fixtures in your home are low-flow/flush. In 1994, the Federal Plumbing Standards for low-flow plumbing fixtures went into effect and are as follows:
- Toilets - maximum flush volumes of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)
- Sink faucets - maximum flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm)
- Showerheads - maximum flow rate of 2.5 gpm
Some of you may remember when the standard first changed back in 1994, the technology wasn’t fully developed and performance lagged. Fortunately, technology has advanced and the plumbing fixtures of today are very high quality with outstanding performance.
California Plumbing Standards
As of January 1, 2016 the new California high-efficiency plumbing standards went into effect for all plumbing fixtures sold and installed within the state. These standards are in line with the EPA WaterSense specifications and are as follows:
- Toilets - maximum flush volumes of 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf)
- Sink faucets - maximum flow rate of 1.2 gallons per minute (gpm) for bathroom faucets and 1.8 gpm for kitchen faucets (kitchen faucets may increase to 2.2 gpm temporarily for filling pots with water)
- Showerheads - maximum flow rate of 1.8 gpm
How to Conserve Water in Your Home
- Check for leaks regularly. Be sure to look under your sinks. If you think you’re toilet is leaking, pick up free toilet leak detector tablets from our office.
- Determine if your fixtures are low-flow using our Helpful Guide or schedule an indoor plumbing survey. We also have replacement low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators available, if you need them.
- Check out our Indoor Conservation Tips.
- If you recently purchased a home in the Bear Valley, please read more about our Retrofit on Change of Service Program.