How much time do you spend in your bathroom each day? An hour? Two hours? Bathrooms are a central part of our daily routine. Between quick trips to visit the toilet and long, hot showers, the time — and resources — add up. Given the amount of time we spend in our bathrooms each day, we should give more thought to their efficiency and design.
Here are some ways investing in eco-friendlier alternatives and changing your bathroom layout can save you money and improve your overall health.
Say Goodbye to Baths
While taking a long soak can be relaxing, it comes with environmental consequences. Taking a bath can use nearly twice as much water as a 10-minute shower. Consider removing your bathtub to create more space in your bathroom and avoid taking baths altogether. You’ll conserve water, which is beneficial for the environment, and you’ll reduce your water bill in the process.
Isolate Your Toilet
Men and women have long debated bathroom etiquette, but as it turns out, women may be onto something. Putting down the toilet seat is better for your health. Each time you flush, fecal particles can intermingle with the air and travel far from their source. The best way to prevent these particles from contaminating your bathroom is to isolate your toilet, if possible, in a separate room. At the very least, put down the toilet seat when you flush to prevent the spread of bacteria.
The water you use for taking a shower or washing your hands is called gray water. Rather than contaminate freshwater with each toilet use, consider rerouting your piping to flush your toilet with gray water. You can also reuse greywater in your garden to water plants. If you’re feeling extra eco-friendly, invest in a composting toilet, which turns waste into usable compost.
Install Low-Flow Water Features
Low-flow water features can cut your water usage in half. Low-flow toilets have two separate buttons for different water volumes, depending on whether you have solid or liquid waste. Instruct guests, roommates or family members how to properly use the toilet to maximize its environmental benefits. If replacing your toilet doesn’t fall within your budget, try installing aerators in your shower heads and faucets to reduce water flow.
Mitigate Mold Growth
Hot, humid bathrooms are the perfect environment for mold growth and unpleasant odors. Mold exposure can lead to skin, eye or throat irritation, as well as aggravate other respiratory ailments. Mitigate mold growth by installing a window or ventilation system to promote fresh air flow.
Another way to mitigate mold growth is to prevent it in the first place. Revamp your bathroom by installing mold-resistant materials such as cork flooring. Cork has natural mold inhibitors and can be laid over uneven surfaces, which reduces its installation costs. It’s also a natural insulator, which will help reduce your heating bill, and creates a comfortable walking surface.
Switch Your Water Heater
If the idea of lowering your shower temperature makes you cringe, switch to a tankless water heater instead. Water heaters with tanks heat a large volume of water every time, regardless of whether or not you use it. A tankless water heater will only heat the water you use for your shower. You’ll reduce your monthly energy bill and rest easy knowing you’re engaging in environmentally conscious practices.
Change Your Light Bulbs
While bright lights in the bathroom are a necessity for getting ready in the morning, the high price tag doesn’t have to be. Change from traditional bulbs to energy-efficient LEDs, and you’ll enjoy bright light at a fraction of the cost. You can make this quick, inexpensive change right now to reduce your energy bill and help Mother Nature.
Repair Leaky Pipes
Leaky pipes are expensive and wasteful. A single leaky faucet dripping at a rate of one drop per second can add up to more than 1,600 gallons of water per year. If you have more than one bathroom in your home or more problem areas, you’re sending more money and resources down the drain. Fix your plumbing problems as soon as they arise.
By implementing just a few of these improvements, you can turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly oasis.
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