The average Canadian uses approximately 330 litres of water a day. That means that the average Canadian household is using 1,000 litres or more of water every single day. Freshwater is an abundant natural resource in Canada, but it isn’t an infinite supply. In fact, only 1% of the freshwater that the country uses daily is renewable. This is why it’s so important for every Canadian household to limit their usage as much as possible. Experts suggest that every household can easily reduce their consumption by 20% or more. Let’s explore some of the ways that you can do so.

Look for the WaterSense Label

WaterSense is a certification program developed and maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Canada has adopted it as well. Any product that uses water can have this label. WaterSense toilets, for instance, consume no more than 4.8 litres per flush. Whenever shopping for new fixtures and appliances, choosing WaterSense products will make a significant difference in your overall water consumption.

Fix Ghost Flushing

Ghost flushing or phantom flushing is when a toilet flushes on its own. If you hear your toilet filling up intermittently even though no one has used it, that’s ghost flushing. This is one of the most prevalent toilet problems, and homeowners often underestimate just how much water it wastes. It can waste more than 750 litres a day, which is almost as much as a household would use otherwise. Often, it’s due to a bad flapper, which is a relatively easy and affordable fix. Sometimes, it can be due to a more serious problem, such as a crack in the tank.

Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Toilet

In Canada, toilet flushing makes up almost 25% of a household’s daily water consumption. The average toilet in use in Canada uses 9.8 litres per flush. As mentioned, a WaterSense toilet uses just 4.8 litres, which almost halves your consumption. Many of the high-efficiency toilets (HET) or low-flow toilets on the market use even less. The EPA, which collaborates with Canada, also recommends only flushing as needed.

Install Low-Flow Fixtures Elsewhere in Your Home

Low flow isn’t exclusive to toilets. You have this option for practically any fixture in your home. Low-flow showerheads, for instance, can reduce the water you use for showers by between 40% and 60%. The standard in Canada is about 9.5 litres per minute (LPM). A low-flush showerhead will use 5.7 LPM or less. You should also add aerators to all your faucets that don’t have them. Some homeowners are reticent to adopt low-flow fixtures because they associate them with low water pressure. There was some truth to this when such fixtures first became available, but this is no longer the case. You likely won’t notice the difference between standard and low-flow showerheads and faucets.

Fix Leaks and Install Leak Detection

Small leaks are a common problem that leads to wasted water and even mold. In fact, conservative estimates suggests that Canada wastes trillions of litres annually due to unfixed leaks. Often, these leaks are minor enough that you won’t notice them on your monthly water bill. This is why experts recommend scheduling a plumbing inspection annually. You may also want to consider installing a leak detection system. It will identify leaks very early on and send you an alert.

Upgrade to a Smart Water Meter

An alternative to a leak detector is a smart water meter. It will detect leaks as well but provides a range of other benefits. Perhaps the most notable is that it tracks your water consumption. You can even have it send you reports on a weekly or monthly basis. This will provide you with a clear understanding of how you’re using water and, more importantly, how you’re wasting it. It will also help you identify very quickly if something unusual is going on with your water consumption. If you decide not to go this route, you should track your monthly consumption in a spreadsheet. You can use this information to know when something has changed.

Run Full Dishwasher Loads

Dishwashers are much more efficient than hand washing your dishes. If you don’t have a dishwasher yet, you should consider investing in one. When buying a new dishwasher, look for not only the WaterSense label but the Energy Star label. You should also avoid running less than full loads. Experts advise that you can leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher for up to 48 hours before cleaning them. There’s also no need to rinse them first. Simply scrape them and load them.

Use a Rain Barrel for Outdoor Watering

Rain barrels are an effective way to collect the water you need for your landscape. You can even integrate them into your gutter system, which is very effective. The EPA estimates that the average Canadian household can save as much as 5000 litres this way. Another way to conserve water outdoors is to integrate rain gardens on your property.

Adopt Good Laundry Habits

Cleaning your clothes is another area where there’s potential to waste water. If you have a washing machine that lets you set the water level, ensure that you set it appropriately for each load. If you don’t, let your dirty laundry collect until you have a full load. When shopping for a new washing machine, target a front-load unit. These use less water by design. Choosing a WaterSense unit will also reduce your laundry water usage by between 50% and 65%.

Enhance Your Home With a Water Filtration System

Canadians consume 2.5 billion litres of bottled water annually. This causes several problems, including plastic and water waste. The bottling water process uses more water than is required to fill the bottle. To lower your reliance on bottled water, install a whole-house water filtration system. Purchase metal water bottles for everyone in the household. Also, purchase extras so that you can store cold water in the refrigerator.

Turn Off the Water When Brushing or Shaving

Leaving the water on when brushing your teeth wastes about 15 litres. Over the course of a year, the average household can waste more than 32,000 litres this way. You can save water in this manner when shaving and when using your kitchen faucet too. Do you have to run your shower for a while for the water to get hot? You can conserve that water as well. Let it fill up into a bucket, which you can then dump into your rain barrel.

Your Local Plumbing Pros in Nanaimo

If you’d like to reduce your home’s water consumption, Twin Peaks Plumbing, Heating & Gas is here to help. We’re a residential plumbing contractor that serves Nanaimo and the surrounding areas. Our plumbers can clean drains, repair sewer lines, pipes and repipe gas and water lines, and detect and fix leaks. We also hook up appliances and install fixtures, tank and tankless water heaters, and sump pumps.

Our HVAC team installs and services gas and electric furnaces and boilers, air conditioners, heat pumps, and ductless mini-splits. We also specialize in air purifiers and UV lamps. Contact us today to learn more about these products and services or to schedule an appointment.

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