New Hampshire

Learn About Water Conservation


Conservation Matters: Step-by-Step Savings

The best way to conserve water is to focus first on the room where the most water is used, and then go through the rest of your house on a room-by-room basis.

Start in your bathrooms…

Fully seventy-five percent of the water used a typical house is used in the bathroom. What’s more, well over 40 percent of the total gets flushed down the toilet. The good news is that the latest generation of toilet designs provide outstanding performance while using less than a third of the water that the old, water-guzzling ones need. If you’re like many homeowners, replacing your toilets will be the single most important thing you can do to save water.

You can save even without installing new fixtures. Simply put a clean, sealed plastic container filled with sand inside every toilet tank. (Just be sure it doesn’t interfere with the flushing mechanism.)

Another area where you can save is with your baths, showers and bathroom faucets. They account for 35 percent of the typical household’s water use. An easy way to save water is to install low-flow showerheads, which will cut your hot water heating costs as well. As with toilets, the new designs work great, using only a stingy 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per minute and yet still providing a powerful stream of water. Some models allow you to temporarily turn off the water while you soap up without changing the water temperature.

You can save even more water in the bathroom by:

  • Shortening your shower length
  • Showering instead of taking baths (although a showerhead putting out five gallons per minute will use as much water in eight minutes as it takes to fill a typical tub … a good reason to switch any showerheads like that to low-flow.)
  • Taking baths in less water
  • Turning off the water while soaping, shaving or brushing your teeth

Dish up more savings in the kitchen…

It’s easy to save water in the kitchen just by installing a low-flow faucet aerator and changing a few habits.

When selecting a low-flow faucet, keep in mind that flows less than 2.5 gallons per minute are inconvenient at a kitchen sink when you are trying to fill pots or wash dishes. A dual-flow faucet is the best choice for kitchens.

Other great tips for saving water (and energy) in the kitchen:

  • If you’re getting a dishwasher, select a low-water-use model
  • Wash only full loads in the dishwasher
  • Hand-wash dishes in a basin instead of under running water. Pre-rinse and rinse in separate basins.
  • Store a container of water in the refrigerator to avoid running the water each time you want a cold drink. Some sliced lemons or limes in the water will make it even more refreshing.

Don’t forget the laundry room…

Older, top-loading washing machines waste a lot of water and energy. Front-loading washing machines use as little as 40 percent of the water used by top loaders. And since washing machines use so much hot water, water conservation at this point will save a lot of energy as well.

Another option is to purchase a top loader with a suds-saver. Suds-savers reuse most of the sudsy wash water for a second load. By beginning with the cleanest clothes and reusing wash water for at least one load, suds-savers can cut water use by 30-50%.

Even if you’re still using a standard top-loading machine, you can save water each time by washing only full loads. And when you need to wash a smaller load, be sure to use the partial load settings.

Great savings in the great outdoors

Reducing the amount of water you use outdoors can have a huge impact on your total use. Here are some great ways to save:

  • Repair any leaky faucets and hoses
  • Minimize watering your lawn by:
    • Letting your grass grow longer
    • Planting drought-resistant varieties of plants
    • Planting trees to shade your lawn
    • Replacing your lawn with ground covers, gardens or other plantings
    • Watering only on cloudy days or in the cool of the evening, and when there is little wind
    • Installing drip-irrigation systems in your garden
    • Use sprinklers that spray only the plants needing water
  • Wash your car at a water-efficient car wash
  • Cover your swimming pool at night
  • Avoid fountains and pools that don’t have recirculating pumps

And don’t forget …

Find and fix those leaks, inside and outside your house! Even one dripping faucet wastes thousands of gallons each year. Click here for more information on finding leaks.

Interior Water Use for the Typical Home How Much Can You Save?

(Gallons of use)
(Gallons of use)
Flushing toilets
6 (old standard)
1.5-3 (low-flow)
Bathing in the tub
30 (1/2 filled)
15 (1/4 filled)
10 min: 50 (5 gal/min)
3 min: 15 (5 gal/min)
25 (2.5 gal/min)
7.5 (2.5 gal/min)
Laundry - full load

Top loading: 50-60 (older models)

40 (newer models)
Front loading: 33 (older models)
17-28 (newer models)

Machine: 12-15 (old, regular cycle)
(Pre-rinsing before loading: Add 3-5 gal.)

6-9 (new, regular cycle)
Hand: 16 (faucet rinse)
6 (basin rinse)
Washing hands
2 (faucet running)
1 (basin; brief rinse)
Brushing teeth
2 (faucet running)
1/8 (wet brush, brief rinse)
3-5 (faucet running)
1 (basin; brief rinse)