|Home water audits|
Conduct a home water audit
Household water audits can result in savings of 20 to 30 gallons of water per day. Through a water audit, homeowners assess how efficiently water is being used and identify opportunities to lower water use.
Many water utilities offer free water audits or water audit kits to their customers. David Smith, owner of Texas Water Audits, said that in addition, homeowners can perform audits, checking for such things as leaking toilets, faucets and shower heads.
A checklist can guide homeowners through the process—both indoors and outdoors. For example, homeowners can check outdoors for areas in the landscape that remain wet for extended periods of time and may indicate a leaking valve, pipe or sprinkler head.
Smith said one of the most common sources of waste revealed through water audits is a poorly managed irrigation system.
"Homeowners should adjust irrigation settings to meet plant water needs as they change from season to season," he said. "Rain shut-off sensors are inexpensive and easy to install—these devices will keep the irrigation system from coming on automatically after a heavy rainfall, thus conserving water."
Smith said irrigation water audits typically reduce water use by 25 to 40 percent.
"This is significant considering that up to 60 percent of all water used by a homeowner may be attributed to irrigation," he said. "Hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per year can be saved simply by eliminating leaks, installing rain shut-off sensors and changing irrigation schedules regularly to correspond with plant water needs."
Adjustments made inside the home can also have a significant impact. Actual water savings depend on many factors. However, installing low-flow fixtures, repairing leaks and simply turning the water off when brushing teeth will add up to considerable savings, especially with large families.
Smith said saving water and lowering water bills are not the only benefits from a home water audit.
"Reduced water use in the home places less stress on wastewater treatments systems," he said. "Becoming more water-efficient in the landscape improves the health of plants. It reduces the potential of non-point source pollution that occurs when fertilizers, pesticides and sediment are washed away from landscapes in water runoff."
Conducting your own audit is a great starting point, Smith said. However, in some cases, contacting a professional auditor can result in greater savings—especially when homeowners may not be familiar with all sources of water waste, particularly with irrigation systems. Contact your local water utility to find out what services may be available in your area.