Description: Just how much water are we using in our homes? The answer may surprise you.
Growing up we are reminded to drink three to four liters of water a day. We are also told to conserve water and that there are water shortages. Our bodies need water to live, we need water for our hygiene and many of our daily chores. But how much water is used in a residential home on a regular basis?
Water used for hygiene
Studies have shown that 24% of the water usage in a home is from flushing a toilet. Older toilets use 3.5 to 7 gallons of water per flush, newer toilets can use 1 -1.5 gallons of water per flush (often they have half flushes). A leaky toilet and tap can add 13% to the water use.
Older faucets can use approximately 2 gallons of water per minute. So brushing your teeth, shaving and hand washing can use about 20% of the daily water use. Turning the tap off except for rinsing your teeth can save water. Taking a bath can use about 36 gallons of water (depending on the size of a tub) and a shower can use 2 to 3 gallons of water a minute. So, depending on the length of the shower this can save money.
Chores that use water in residential homes
Washing clothes is one of the biggest water usages in our homes. Older machines can use over 40 gallons of water per wash, however newer EnergyStar washers will use about 25 gallons per wash. Washing clothes can use about 20% of daily water use.
Washing dishes can use 3%-5% of our daily use. Using a dishwasher can use 6 to 16 gallons of water per cycle and washing by hand can use 16 to 20 liters of gallons (depending on the amount of dishes and how often you change the water). If washing by hand, using an accelerator on the tap to rinse food of the dishes, using a two basin system and not running water the entire time of washing dishes can help limit water usage.
Miscellaneous water use in a residential home
There are many other things that we do that use water that add up. Getting up in the morning and brewing a pot of coffee, drinking 8 glasses of water a day and washing our floors begin to add gallons of water over a period of time. Watering the lawn, washing the car (and the dog) and the occasional water fight bring the total of water use up.
Water use can add up; according to a 2022 study by the United states Environmental Protection Agency the average American residential home uses 300 gallons of water daily. The earth looks like it has a lot of water but only 1% of this water is safe for human consumption. The water that we bring into our homes for use needs to be clean and safe. For more information about safe water click here.