MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Missouri S&T     ●    St. Louis -Housing


Feature Articles - Housing


money flowing from faucetSaving water in your bathroom


The drought that our region and state has been experiencing will not only result in higher grocery bills but will also result in less water for our home use. We all need to conserve as much water as possible.


“Studies indicate that most people in our country use 60 to 100 gallons of water per person per day,” says University of Missouri Extension Housing and Environmental Design specialist Marsha Alexander.


Much of the water used in the home is used in the bathroom; therefore, the bathroom is a good place to begin when looking for ways to conserve water.


Leaky toilets can waste gallons of water and could damage the structure of the home if not quickly repaired. One strategy to determine if you have a leak is to put a few drops of food dye in the tank. Wait about 15 minutes. If colored water develops in the bowl, there is a leak, and it should be promptly repaired.


Older model toilets can use considerably more water per flush compared to the new low-flush models. In fact, older conventional toilets use up to 44 percent of the total water consumed in the home. If a standard 3.5 gallon toilet is replaced with a 1.6 gallon toilet, the average household can save an average of 12,000 gallons of water per year. If purchasing a new toilet, look for products that have the EPA WaterSense label. Models with these labels have been certified to save 20 percent or more without sacrificing performance.


Other ways to conserve water use in the bathroom:


  • A shower often uses less water than a bath, especially a quick one. If you do not currently have a low-flow shower head, install one.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Instead throw your trash in the waste can.
  • Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Insulate hot water pipes to save energy dollars.
  • Look for products that have the EPA WaterSense label that indicate they have been certified to be 20 percent more water efficient than similar products.


Utilizing these ideas can reduce your water bill and help to maintain a more comfortable home for you and your family. Changes we make at home also benefit our communities. For more information on efficient use and conservation of household water, contact your local University of Missouri Extension Center or visit the website at


University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator:
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri

Last update: Tuesday, September 04, 2012