Google “water saving tips” and you’re going to get a mind-boggling number of relevant results. We’ve even posted on the topic here. Some of the tips you can find are easy and totally practical for everyday life; others, well… not so much. Today we’re looking at a super simple DIY job that even renters can do that will help you conserve water.
Kitchen and bathroom faucets account for over 10,000 gallons of water each year, per household. That’s a lot of wet stuff down the drain. Wasted water drives not only up water, sewer and energy bills, but it’s a wasted resource as well. If your faucets are over 10 years old, it’s time to give them an upgrade. But wait, we said this was renter friendly, right? Yes, we did. If upgrading the entire faucet isn’t in the cards, the simple approach is to install faucet aerators.
An aerator is a small addition to the tip of your faucet that reduces water flow to 2, 1.5 or even 1 gallon per minute while preserving normal pressure. They also include a quick “on/off” toggle to allow you to temporarily shut off the flow while maintaining the water temperature. They’re inexpensive, easy to install and if you’re a renter, you can leave them or return your faucets back to original when you move.
Plan to install aerators on bathroom and kitchen faucets. The cost ranges up to $3 to $5 per aerator, and you’ll want to be sure you get the right kind for your faucet. To install, you simply unscrew the existing screen from your faucet head and replace with the aerator. Done. It’s that simple. You can find aerators at your local hardware store.
If you don’t know how old your faucets are, or how much water they’re currently using, it’s easy to find out. Time how long it takes to fill a one-quart container. If it’s less than five seconds, your faucet is using over 3 gallons per minute. If it takes 10 seconds, then you’re at 1.5 gallons per minute.
If you’re in that “over 3 gallons per minute” category, run out and get an aerator. Again, check to be sure your faucet has threads and make note of what type of fitting you have. If there is no way to install an aerator on your existing faucet, and it’s a water hog, your only choice is to replace the entire faucet – a somewhat more costly and labor intensive prospect, but worth it in the long run.
When choosing an aerator, go for the lowest flow possible in the bathroom, say 1 or 1.5 gallons per minute. In the kitchen, you’ll want a little more because you’ll be filling pots with water, so go for 2 gallons per minute.
Want a second quick DIY job?
Do the same thing with your showerhead. A good low-flow showerhead will be a bigger investment than a faucet aerator, and it will take you a little more work to install, but it will be well worth it. If you’ve tried low-flow before and found the result a little less than refreshing, try it again. Modern low-flow showerheads maintain good water pressure, giving you the spray you want, without dumping too much water down your drain. Make sure you choose one with a handy “on/off” toggle so you can temporarily shut off the water while soaping up.