How Much Water Are You Wasting at Home?

Have you ever wondered how much water is being wasted each time you wash your hands, shower, or brush your teeth? So did I! There always seemed to be more water than necessary coming from the tap whenever the faucet was turned on. Through our local energy provider, our family was given a water flow meter bag that showed us precisely how much water was being used every time we turned on the faucet or shower. The results were astonishing.

Using a water flow meter bag is extremely easy and fast, plus it’s a ridiculously cheap way to find out how much water is being wasted at home. How cheap is it? About $1! Our family received ours at no cost, along with a great assortment of other energy efficiency supplies through a program at my 5th grader’s school. Although we received all kinds of goodies, this inexpensive plastic bag was my favorite. Talk about an eye opener!

What’s a water flow meter bag?

The flow meter bag itself is about 18″ long by 6″ across. On the lower half of the bag are measurements listed in GPM (gallons per minute). These measurements will help you determine how much water is being wasted when you turn on the faucet. One side of the bag is labeled ‘Showerheads’ and the other ‘Aerators’. The upper portion of the bag displays directions on its use. It can be reused over and over, thus $1 water flow bag can help measure water usage in every faucet and shower in the house.

How to use a water flow meter bag

It’s easy! It takes literally seconds, but the results are accurate and pretty surprising. To use it, stand in front of the sink or shower and do the following:

– Wrap the top of the bag loosely around the faucet.
– Be ready to count to five!
– Turn the water on full power.
– Either count to five or use a timer to do it for you.
– Turn the water off immediately.
– Look at the bag. It will show you a number – 2 GPM, 3 GPM, etc.

This reading indicates how much water this particular faucet is using each minute. When our family measured the water use in our kitchen, we were shocked to find out it was wasting 4 GPM. That is a lot of wasted water.

How can the water waste be reduced?

If you’ve determined that you need to find a way to reduce water waste, you can do the following:

– Replace the sink aerators with energy efficient ones.

– Replace your showerheads with an energy efficient model.

Once you’ve done so, use the water flow meter bag again and measure the difference. With an energy efficient sink aerator in place, we were able to reduce our reading to less than 1 GPM. That is a huge difference! According to the measurements shown on the flow meter bag, that’s a savings of $11 per year. This amount increased significantly when we measured the water waste coming from the showerheads.

To buy a water flow bag of your own, visit your local home improvement store, or contact your energy provider. They are also available at a variety of websites online.

More from Jennifer Wagner:

6 Green Gadgets that Lower Utility Costs

What’s Causing Your High Electric Bill?

10 Inexpensive Energy Saving Tips


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