Save Water, Save Energy - Save Energy, Save Money!
Posted: September 10, 2012
The residents of Pennsylvania are blessed with abundant water resources. In an average year, about 34 trillion gallons of precipitation falls on the state. At any given moment, approximately 47 trillion gallons of water are stored beneath the surface as groundwater. We view water as an inexpensive and unlimited resource. It’s easy to see why Pennsylvania is referred to as a “water rich” state.
However, in recent years, residents of Pennsylvania have experienced frequent droughts, which can cause severe water shortages for homeowners on private water systems. Water conservation measures become critical during times of drought. Homeowners that rely on private water systems should begin to conserve water as soon as drought conditions occur.
Water use within the home can be significantly reduced through changes in habit and eliminating non-essential outside water uses. Examples include taking shorter showers, only washing full loads of dishes and clothes and collecting water from roof gutters for outside use. While changing your habits provide short-term relief during a drought, water conservation devices and practices are needed for long-term wise use of our water resources. Water conservation at home will be an important part of future water planning in Pennsylvania as our population grows and more private water systems are built in the state.
The best way to conserve water in your home is to install water-efficient plumbing fixtures. These include low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets as well as front-loading washing machines and dishwashers that use less water. Conventional showerheads typically deliver 3-8 gallons per minute while low-flow showerheads are as low as 2 gallons per minute. Low flow faucets deliver 1.5 – 2.5 gallons per minute versus conventional faucets at 3- 7 gallons per minute. Conventional top-loading clothes washers use about 40-50 gallons per load while front loaders use about half that amount of water. As you can see, you can use about half your current water by installing water efficient plumbing fixtures.
In addition, using less water will mean reducing your energy bill. Devices that reduce hot water use such as washing machines, showerheads, faucets and dishwashers, also save money because they consume less energy. This translates into reduced heating bills as the energy consumed in heating water ranks second behind that used for home heating and cooling.
For more information on water conservation, visit the Penn State Extension Water Conservation website.