The federal Energy Star program has revamped its standards for dishwashers. Machines made after mid-August 2009 must be at least 48 percent more efficient than federal energy-use standards require to qualify. What's more, for the first time, Energy Star qualification also hinges on how much water a dishwasher can use. Qualifying standard-size machines will be able to consume a maximum of 5.8 gallons per cycle, down from 7 gallons a cycle for current models.
But you don't have to shell out for a new dishwasher to save water at home. Considering that the government stated in 2002 that at least 36 states anticipated water shortages between 2003 and 2013, now's a good time to cut down on the average 100 gallons of water you use each day at home. Kicking some of your water-wasting habits is easy and will save you money.
Bad habit: Running the water while shaving and brushing your teeth
New routine: When shaving, filling the sink with water and rinse your razor as you shave, and when brushing your teeth or shaving, turning on the faucet only when needed.
Savings: 4 to 10 gallons a day
Bad habit: Indulging in long showers
New routine: Taking quick showers
Savings: 5 to 10 gallons per shower
Bad habit: Running a water-hog showerhead
New routine: Using a low-flow showerhead
Savings: 2.5 gallons or more per minute
Bad habit: Rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher
New routine: Scraping food off dishes or wiping them with a damp sponge and let your dishwasher do the rest
Savings: Nearly 20 gallons per load
Bad habit: Using—and not fixing—a leaky toilet
New routine: Keeping your commode leak free
Savings: 30 to 50 gallons daily
To test for a toilet leak, add enough food coloring to the toilet tank to turn the water dark; wait 30 minutes. If dye appears in the toilet bowl, the flapper valve is leaking, and you should replace it ASAP. To be sure you buy the right replacement and save yourself another trip to the hardware or plumbing-supply store or home center, bring the old flapper valve with you.
If you need to replace your toilet, consider one that carries the Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense label; toilets that qualify for the program use 20 percent less water.—Kimberly Janeway
One should also consider low flow faucet aerators Typical aerators can have as high as 5 gallons per minute flow typical low flow aerators start at 2.5 gallons all the way down to .5 gallons per minute so depending on what your current aerator allows you can save many gallons per minute.
Another great water saver is a hot water recirculation pump system. I bought a setup which I self installed over 5 years ago (I live in the Southwest). I love it! Hot water in seconds - even in my back bathroom and shower. Pump only runs when thermostat senses hot water line is below a set temperature. Built in timer so you can turn off overnight or if no one is home during the day. Needs a power source at the sink you install it. Since it works by recirculating the water from the hot water line into the cold water line (to bring the hot water line back up to temperature), you will experience some warm water in the cold water spigot especially right after recirculation. Not a big deal for me. I would never have another house without one. Besides the obvious water savings, the convenience is fantastic - right up there with auto ice cube maker and gargage door opener. If the URL above didn't work here a Home Depot link to the system I have: http://tinyurl.com/antphg
I feel that CR is negligent in not pushing and reviewing low-flow shower heads. For many homes, the shower it the #1 water waster. Much of the country experiences water shortages; more will soon. In addition, water/sewer charges are becoming a significant part of the cost of owning a home.
Please encourage use of low-flow shower heads and faucets. Please do a review on them. There's a big range of low-flow shower-heads; some provide as good a shower as the higher flow models; others are so bad as to drive folks back to wasteful high-flow types.
The same goes for low flow aerators. I find that the very low flow 0.7 gpm ones work better than the normal ones for bathroom sinks used mainly for hand washing and tooth bruching.
USE THE WATER THAT COMES OUT COLD FIRST WHILE YOU ARE WAITING FOR THE HOT, TO WATER YOUR HOUSE PLANTS OR ANIMALS. DON'T WASTE WATER & SAVE ON THE HIGH BILLS.
Energy Star qualification also hinges on how much water a dishwasher can use,thanks for this information. Keep up the good work.