Save Money on Water

It’s easy to save money while saving water by choosing water-efficient fixtures and appliances.

| June 24, 2009

Shower head

The EPA’s WaterSense program helps people save money by making water-efficient fixtures easy to find.


Here’s an easy way to save money and make a positive difference for the environment: Use less water. And thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program, it’s easy to find high-quality, water-efficient toilets, faucets, shower heads and more.

The EPA introduced the WaterSense program in 2006. Similar to the Energy Star program, which promotes energy efficiency, WaterSense is designed to help people buy more water-efficient fixtures and appliances. WaterSense-certified products use about 20 percent less water while performing just as well or better than their conventional counterparts.

WaterSense contractor Kathleen Brady says that a family of four typically spends more than $800 on water and sewer services every year. But switching to WaterSense-certified appliances can make a noticeable difference on that bill. Brady says that going from a toilet manufactured before 1994 to a WaterSense toilet would cut a family of four’s water use by 16,000 gallons per year, saving them $90 annually.

Environmental Benefits

But saving money is just one of the reasons to use more water-efficient appliances. Cutting water usage also decreases the amount of energy needed to treat wastewater. The WaterSense website says, “American public water supply and treatment facilities consume about 56 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year — enough electricity to power 5 million homes for an entire year.” The website also says, “If one out of every 100 American homes retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could save about 100 million kWh of electricity per year — avoiding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.” Conserving water also helps maintain proper water levels in rivers, lakes and reservoirs, promoting healthier people and healthier ecosystems.

Though WaterSense is a relatively new program, it’s growing quickly. In an interview with GreenTalk Radio, Stephanie Thornton, partner outreach coordinator for WaterSense, said that more than 500 certified faucets and more than 250 certified toilets are now available, and the program is in the process of expanding to other products. Home buyers can now look for the WaterSense label when shopping for new houses, as WaterSense launched its New Homes Pilot Program in August 2008. This program certifies new homes that meet its criteria for water efficiency. The first WaterSense-certified home was unveiled in North Carolina in late 2008, and includes these water-saving features:

  • Dual-flushing toilet, which can reduce daily toilet-water use from about 20 gallons to about 4 gallons per person.
  • 1.5-gallon-per-minute (gpm) bathroom-sink faucets. (Conventional faucets use up to 2.5 gpm.)
  • Flow-optimized shower heads, which use 30 percent less water than conventional shower heads.
  • A circulating hot water system designed to cut down on water wasted while waiting for cool water to heat.
  • Energy Star dishwashers and washing machines.

More Information

WaterSense products save you money in the long run, but there are also rebates available in many states to ease the initial cost of replacing old appliances with more efficient ones.

josie elmstrom
7/19/2009 2:07:49 PM

This reminds me of the experience I had in my brand-new ultra-efficient 4 bedroom apt that had a maximum $75.00 utility bill. While we used hardly any therms or kilowatt hours, I'm glad we didn't have to pay for water & sewer! The low-flow showerhead had no waterpressure whatsoever. It was the pits trying to rinse shampoo or, worse, conditioner out of your hair. With 3 kids and 2 toilets, we too had to adopt the "before, during, and after" rule of flushing. It was so embarrasing to explain to them AND guest users that if they were going to use t.p. and/or go #2, they better flush after each section or square of said t.p. or #2! Disgusting but true. Sometimes when I would come home, I could tell by the offending stench that someone had not followed the rules. I now live in a 1960 ranch style in VERY original condition (thanks USFS). Still no water pressure because we share a well with 3 other houses AND 2 bunkhouses but hey, that old toilet flushes like a dream. My new mother-in-law said I should ask for a new toilet. I said not on your life!

bev barrows
7/14/2009 12:45:36 PM

Here in Oregon we are in big trouble where water is concerned. There is not enough water here to support the population. Global warming, (no matter the cause),coupled with less rain = low water tables and concentrated pollutants. I received a warning notice in my water bill that "Cryptosporidium" (a parasite that comes from fecal matter) has been found in one in every 12 samples of our drinking water system, and no amount of disinfectant will touch it, so we should seek advise from our health care providers. I jumped right in, researched for weeks for a solution, and found an answer. I discovered new technology in a water making appliance called an "Atmospheric Water Generator". Look it up in Wikipedia. You can read about the best brand I found (which i purchased and am in love with) at Thanks for allowing me to share this much needed information. I've gone door to door in my neighborhood explaining why they shouldn't drink the tap water. People tend to pay their water bill without reading the accompanying notification inserts!

bewaterwise rep
7/6/2009 11:33:32 PM

In a situation where water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource, this post has some practical, inexpensive and simple tips most people can follow in an effort to conserve water. has some more tips that can help you conserve water in your garden besides your home. To read them visit Those in SoCal and the rest of the USA need to re-look at the way we think and use water. Every small water conservation effort helps.

7/3/2009 3:51:33 PM

Sean, no offense, but you wrote this article with all the zeal of a junior high school kid doing his book report late Sunday night. You went to one website and wrote us an abstract on the WaterSense program. What about gray water systems? Collecting rain water to water our gardens? Such an important subject treated so dismissively. Maybe for your next article you can dig a little deeper...please.

6/28/2009 7:31:50 AM

I have this offer about water-saving toilets......They do work. Now, in the 90's when they 1st mandated them, the designers were clueless, and they just put 1.6 gallon tanks on bowls made for 3.5 gallons, 2-3 flushes to clear. I know, because I was in the apartment maintenance business then and had to deal with 100's of poor performing toilets, we left new plungers in every new apt and every problem apt. About 3 years ago I needed to replace a cracked toilet in my previous home, and luckily I didn't get one of my apt grade (priced) ones. I opted for a mid priced brand name with an oversized flapper, 4" I believe, and never stopped it up. Before this, the plunger was out 1-2 times a week. In my new(to me) home, I replaced all 3 toilets with the same brand before we even moved in, three years, no stoppages. With these toilets, 1.5 gal. aerators and low flow showerheads and family education, my 3 adult, 2 kid(min of 3 nights of baths per week) uses about 100 gallons of water a day. Check the brand and quality of your toilets, the new stuff does work. Expect to spend over $120 on a new toilet, I bet your New Built house has the cheapest toilets they could get at the time, less than $60. Believe me, they really do work.

6/26/2009 10:29:31 PM

I have to offer this, about water-saving toilets. Anyone see that episode of King of the Hill where he railed against these? I built a new home 3 years ago and all that is allowed in new construction is water-saving toilets. Based on our experience, here are the house rules. Flush before using, to be sure it's not clogged. If urinating, flush again when done. If doing more than that, flush before using, flush once or twice WHILE using, then flush once or twice AFTER using. Is this REALLY saving water? We never had to do this in our old house with non water saving toilets! Luckily I have my own well in the new home so it doesn't really cost anything beyond the extra electric load on the water pump but I don't see how these save water. Well I do have a great water saving shower head that is no sacrifice.

6/26/2009 3:57:37 AM

When Enlightenment comes, the technology follows.The term "green" is on everyone's minds these days, whether it's getting more green as in making more money, or going green environmentally. The need for more green technology and practices is definitive, as the impact on our environment from our appetites for fossil fuel machinery and methods of generation electricity have taken a toll. An effort does have to be made to repair our planet, but many consider the loss of amenities to be too great to surmount. However, there are ways of gettingby: solar water heating devices, electric high speed trains getting installed for public transport, and so forth. If you start going a little more green, it's like giving a cash advance to the Earth.Read more click

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