water crisis 3d concept - tap tied in a knotWith many areas across the U.S. experiencing drought issues (hurricane irene states excluded), water conservation has become a big topic of discussion.

Lowering water usage in your kitchen and bath is a great way to help the environment (and your wallet, too). Whether you are doing a full scale remodel or not, there are features in both spaces that can be changed to help decrease the amount of water used.

Bathroom Efficiency

Faucets and showers are great places to reduce the use of water in your home. If you have an older home and are looking to lower water usage, check when your toilet was manufactured. Toilets made before 1993 use 3 to 8 gallons of water per flush. This was significantly reduced after 1993 when high efficiency toilets were made to use 1.6 gallons or less per flush. Saving 2 to 6 gallons per flush every year can save a family of four 14,000 to 25,000 gallons of water per year.

Showers are also an area where water is wasted easily. By switching to a low-flow shower head you can decrease the amount of water that is used during the shower.  Another way to save water is to shorten your showers to about five minutes when possible. A great tip for those of you who don’t want to run in and out of the shower: collect wasted water from the shower in a bucket to water indoor plants or plants that don’t see rain outside.

Kitchen Efficiency

Like the shower, kitchen and bathroom sink faucets are usually run until you are finished washing, even if you aren’t using all of the water that is coming out of them. This obviously wastes loads of water. You can install low-flow faucet aerators to restrict water that is dispensed. These aerators can restrict down to one gallon per minute.

Dripping faucets are another fast way to waste water and should be fixed as quickly as possible. A faucet that drips 60 drops into your sink basin per minute wastes 192 gallons per month. That is a great deal of wasted water that you could be saving money and helping the environment on.

Another way to minimize water usage in your kitchen is to check the efficiency of your dishwasher. Many people think that washing dishes by hand saves water, but if you are running a full load in your dishwasher it will save more water. Hand in hand with that is to only run the dishwasher when it is full. By waiting to do that, you can save about 1,000 gallons of water per month.

Any way you look at it, checking water efficiency in these rooms of your house can help you big time. The summer is almost over but the effects of the drought will last for a while longer. Help the environment and your wallet by reducing your water usage.