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Saving Water Indoors

How water efficient are you?

Watering the garden, flushing the toilet, doing laundry… many simple household activities require water. When you keep water efficiency top of mind, it’s easy to save water and reduce your water bill. Take a look at our renovation guide, Fusion Interiors for tips on beautifying your home and modernizing your bathroom, kitchen or laundry.

View the Fusion Interiors Guide (PDF)
View the Fusion Interiors Guide (PDF)

  Fusion Interiors and Fusion Landscaping Guides

Municipal water supply customers can quickly and easily calculate how much water is used in their household by using an online tool such as the Water Calculator available at www.home-water-works.org. This calculator quickly estimates how much water your household uses and compares it to a similar average home, as well as a water-efficient home.

From here, you can explore ways to save water inside and outside of your home. Once you know what areas of the home are using the most water, it’s easy to cut down on water use, protecting this valuable resource while also saving money.

Breakdown of Indoor Water Use

Did you know that 95 per cent of the water you use in your home is consumed in the bathroom and laundry? On average, of all indoor water use, toilets account for 35 per cent and showers 30 per cent. Laundry accounts for 30 per cent, and drinking and cooking only accounts for five per cent. Therefore, replacing your existing toilet(s) with a high efficiency (4.8L or less) model can provide you with substantial savings on your water and sewer bill. Your current fixtures could use anywhere from six litres to 20 litres, depending on their age. The amount of water and money that you'll save depends on your lifestyle and the number of people in your home. Here are a few examples of potential yearly savings :

Potential Savings

 

2 person family

4 person family

6 person family

Replacing toilet(s)

10 flushes per day
= $56/year

20 flushes per day
= $112/year

30 flushes per day
= $168/year

Replacing showerhead(s)

10 min per day
= $42/year

20 min per day
= $84/year

30 min per day
= $126/year

Look for WaterSense™

95 per cent of your indoor water use is used in three places; the toilet, shower/bath and clothes washer. To save water, you don’t need to look beyond these three major water users.

By reducing your water use, you will also save energy. Bathing, showering and faucets all require energy to heat the water, especially since the majority of us use Lake Ontario water, which is cold year round.

Fortunately, there are new, efficient fixtures and appliances available. By choosing a WaterSense™ showerhead, faucet or toilet, you will be buying a product that uses at least 20 per cent less water and one that has been performance tested at certified, independent test facilities.

Durham is a leading supporter of WaterSense™.

EPA WaterSense logo.

Shopping for a toilet

As with any other consumer product, there are good and less than good toilets. Trying to choose a high quality toilet isn't just a question of cost. The WaterSense™ label is your assurance of a superior performing fixture. Products bearing this label now make up the majority of toilets available in our marketplace.

Another helpful resource is the MaP-Testing website. MaP stands for Maximum Performance and it was developed to test the flushing performance of toilets. It began as a study (supported by the Region of Durham) to determine why some fixtures performed well while most did not. Ten years later, MaP has now tested over 2800 toilets. The MaP test is so rigorous that WaterSense uses it to label toilets. When you are shopping for a toilet, refer to the MaP guide of the thirteen things to consider when buying a toilet.

Toilet Age

Water use per flush

Prior to 1985

20+ Litres

1985 to 1995

13 Litres

1996 to 2013

6 Litres

2014 to present

4.8 Litres or Less*

* Look for the WaterSense™ label.

Things to look for when shopping for a toilet

One of the best performing new toilets was designed in Canada. It is the WaterSense Proficiency three-litre toilet. It ingeniously stores the incoming water pressure to push contents out of the bowl at the same time as it creates a vacuum below the bowl, resulting in a push from the top and pull from the bottom.

How the Proficiency works:

A diagram depicting the functions of the Proficiency toilet.
Click Here to Enlarge

What about switching to 4.8 litre toilets in older buildings?

Since low-flow fixtures first appeared on the market almost 20 years ago, some have voiced concern about their ability to carry waste to the street. Two different studies have concluded that the different toilet designs tested would be expected to meet or exceed the relatively short carry distance requirements typical of household plumbing installations even with no supplemental flows from showers, baths, or clothes washers.

ENERGY STAR Most Efficient clothes washers

A red front-loading washing machine

ENERGY STAR Most Efficient clothes washers use 40 per cent less water and 45 percent less electricity than first-generation front-load washers (circa 2000). ENERGY STAR Most Efficient clothes washers also have useful features such as sanitation cycles, steam cycles, foam cleaning and self-cleaning drums. Buying an efficient clothes washer has never offered so much value. Since Most Efficient Clothes Washers use 40 per cent less water, you also save on heating costs when running non-cold-water loads.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has more than 40 examples of the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient clothes washers to choose from. NRCan manages ENERGY STAR® in Canada.

For examples of the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient clothes washers, visit the following link: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=most_efficient.me_clothes_washers.

Water efficient humidifiers

There are a variety of furnace-mounted whole-home humidifiers that come in very different designs. There are the traditional drum-type, flow through, steam and rotating disc humidifiers. Older designs such as drum-type, can pose problems because of stagnant water if not properly maintained. They also require regular cleaning of the drum filter. Flow-through types were designed to avoid these potential problems by injecting a fine mist into the heated furnace air. However, they can use up to 190 litres per day. Steam humidifiers are more efficient, but tend to be very expensive.

Rotating disc humidifiers use a series textured discs to humidify furnace heated air. This design doesn’t require replacement parts and uses the least amount of water – two litres per day. It also uses the least energy among the variety of humidifiers available. Rotating disc humidifiers can also be purchased with a self cleaning option for maintenance-free operation.

A red front-loading washing machine
Desert Spring rotating disc humidifier

Greywater reuse

A greywater meterGreywater reuse is becoming increasingly common. Greywater is the wastewater from your bath and shower. Greywater units receive and clean greywater and reuse it to flush your toilets. Treated greywater is a good substitute for flushing toilets as it is more compatible for use in toilets compared to drinking water quality (potable water).

Homes on wells

Homes on wells may not be able to save money on their water and sewer bills, however, replacing inefficient fixtures with efficient ones has many advantages. First, they reduce the amount of water you draw from your well – lengthening the life of your water supply. Second, high-efficiency (WaterSense™) toilets improve the function of your septic system because less water means less dilution of the waste emptying into the septic tank and weeping tiles. The waste receives a longer treatment period in both the septic tank and tiles. Less volume also means an extended life for your septic system. Even the well water pump comes on less often and this in turn will save you money on your electricity bill.

Well owners should also read about Private Drinking Water Safety

Leaks can be costly!

Did you know that you could be pouring money down the drain with undetected leaks around your home?

A leaking toilet could cost you hundreds of dollars each year. To check if your toilet is leaking, place a few drops of food colouring in your tank. After 15 to 30 minutes, if any of the food colouring seeps into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Chemical tank cleaners should be avoided because they could cause premature breakdown of the flapper valve causing it to leak. Dripping faucets can waste water and money too! Leaking faucets occur when washers, o-rings, or seals are dirty or worn.