Water Conservation Checklist for the Home

Plumbing picture of a checkbox and a faucet

If you do not do or do not plan to do the task, leave the boxes blank.

Inspect the plumbing system to see that there are no leaks.
Install reduced-flow showerheads (2.5 gallons/minute).
Limit the amount of shower water by the way you use the controls for the hot and cold water faucets, or a mixer faucet.
Turn off all water if you are going to be away from home on a vacation or trip. This keeps children from turning on outside faucets while you are away.
Check to see how often your home water softening equipment regenerates and backwashes. It can use as much as 100 gallons of water each time it does this. You may want to cut down on the use of such equipment. Reserve softened water for kitchen use, bathing, and laundry. Use unsoftened water for all other purposes. (This may require a bypass line but this is advisable under all circumstances).
Insulate hot water pipes. Having to clear the “hot” line of cooled water is wasteful.
Install a circulating hot water system.
Check all faucets, inside and out, for drips. Make repairs promptly. These problems get worse—never better.
Teach children to turn water faucets off quickly and tightly after each use.
A toilet leak can waste lots of water. Put a small amount of food coloring into the tank. If the color trickles into the bowl, there is a leak and repairs are needed.
Replace existing toilets with 1.6 gallons/flush toilets.
Water required to flush some older 3.5 to 7 gallons/flush toilet can be reduced. Experiment by placing a quart plastic (not glass) bottle filled with water in the flush tank to save 1 quart of water per flush. (Don’t use a brick to fill space in your toilet flush tank. Particles from the brick could damage the valve.)
Or, adjust the float level of the toilet to reduce the amount of water necessary to flush the toilet. Do this carefully to avoid damaging the system. Try only a slight adjustment.
Never use the toilet as a trash basket for facial tissues, etc.
Emergency Situations:
When the toilet needs flushing, use gray water saved from cleaning, bathing, etc. Put the water in the toilet bowl—not the flush tank. If the system loses pressure, gray water, if placed in the tank, could back-siphon into the system and contaminate the drinking water.

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Adapted in part from Extension Service-USDA Program Aid Number 1102.

Texas Water Resources InstituteCooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service logoTexas AgriLife Extension Service logo

Adapted and written by Janie L. Harris, M.Ed., CRS, Extension Housing and Environment Specialist, and edited by Bev Kellner, Extension Assistant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, College Station, Texas.

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Last updated: 21 November, 2013

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status.