Saving water is important for the planet and it’s good for your pocketbook. The Home Depot carries a whole array of water saving devices and products that carry the EPA’s WaterSense® label. It doesn’t take a huge investment, or even exceptional plumbing skills to start saving a considerable amount of water in your home.
We asked guest contributor Molly Mollner to give us her top picks for water saving products available in the aisles of her local Home Depot store. She writes blog posts for H2Oscore, a start up company focused on water conservation.
I recently visited the North Shore Milwaukee Home Depot (store #4912) to find water conserving products that would substantially lower my water bill, and if at all possible … require the installation skills of a fifth grader.
I met Home Depot associate Bob in the plumbing department. He escorted me right to some of Home Depot’s top water saving products.
Researching water efficiency (at H2Oscore, our go-to resource is the Alliance for Water Efficiency’s Home Water Works Calculator) taught me that the first place to look for water savings is in your yard. In fact, an American Water Works Association (AWWA) study in twelve U.S. cities found that nearly 59% of all residential water use occurs outdoors.
Luckily, my yard doesn’t require much watering, but if it did, you would find me tossing in an inexpensive rain sensor that automatically prevents me from overwatering.
The AWWA graph above clearly tells me that if I want to reduce my indoor water use I’d better focus on making sure my toilet, showerheads, and faucets are as efficient as possible (a new clothes washer is a bit out of my college student budget right now – plus, isn’t laundry supposed to be done at your parent’s place anyways!).
Here’s the wisdom I can pass on:
Toilets: Out-of-date models waste water by the bowlful
It’s a no-brainer to find a low-flow toilet at The Home-Depot; Bob tells me that technically all of the toilets The Home Depot sells are low flow. A federal law in 1994 mandated that toilets use less than 1.6 gallons per flush. I found however, that only some toilets carry the EPA’s WaterSense certification label. Others, like the “dual flush” models, are extra water efficient – they use just 1.0 gallons for a liquid waste flush, and 1.28 for a solid waste flush. A dual flush model from Glacier Bay seemed to be an especially good value.
But watch out, unfortunately not all toilet colors are priced the same: the shiny black toilet I had my eye on (right) cost $112 more than the standard off-white one! Bummer. [ed.: But it's black! It doesn't get any cooler than that!]
Here’s good news for those of you on a budget: even if you don’t want to buy a whole new toilet, a simple kit can convert ANY toilet to a dual flush toilet. You’ll make back the twenty bucks the kit costs in no time, as your new flushing system always provides the right amount of water for the job at hand.
Showerheads: Efficient models let you — and nature — enjoy your time under the water
If you’re really looking for a great water saving products, look for Waterpick EcoFlow showerheads.
Three reasons I’m especially excited about these showerheads:
1. As the description on homedepot.com says, I can “enjoy a luxurious shower without the guilt of using too much water”
2. A “pause water” feature allows for water savings while lathering-up (and you don’t have to readjust the temperature when the water comes back on!)
3. Since I have a small water heater, using significantly less water will mean I still get hot water when it’s finally my turn to shower in the morning (not to mention a lower gas bill since I’m heating less water!)
Faucet Aerators: Same performance, less water (and costs less than a sandwich)
Faucet Aerators are perhaps the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to reduce your home water use. Spend five bucks, screw-off the old faucet head, screw on the new aerator and you’re done: you use 55 percent less water than with the standard 2.2 gallons per minute faucet, and I bet you can’t tell the difference! Remember, running your faucet for even just five minutes consumes as much energy as a 60-watt light bulb uses in 14 hours. Save on water and you’ll save energy too. If we all do a little bit, maybe next summer won’t be quite so hot!
Thanks again to Bob and Home Depot for accompanying me on my water efficiency quest.
Molly Mollner is a student at Marquette University. She’s also a regular blogger for H2Oscore, a Milwaukee-based software start-up bringing businesses and individuals together to create water sustainable communities. You can contact H2Oscore via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about our water saving products and find online tools to help you conserve water and save money at The Home Depot’s Eco Options website.