- Household Water Use
Learn how water is used in your home.
- Water Heater
Water heaters heat cold water for use in the home. Typically, water heaters store water in a tank so that hot water is available when needed. Small water heaters hold between 20 and 40 gallons. Large water heaters hold 50-80 gallons. Some newer models have no tank and heat water only when it is needed.
- Washing Machine
Washing machines are the second biggest water user in most homes. The temperature and amount of water used is determined by the model available and by you when the load is selected. Older washing machines use as much as 45 gallons. Newer efficient models use as little as 17 gallons.
Most dishwashers use hot and cold water (some have only a cold water line and heat the water internally). The temperature and amount of water is controlled by the user or adjusted automatically by the appliance. A typical newer dishwashers use about 5 to 10 gallons of water per load.
- Sink Faucets
Faucets provide hot and cold water from separate pipes to sinks in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen. Mixing is done when you turn the handles, although some models have a single handle. The amount of water used depends on how far you open the valve when you turn the handle and how long you leave it on. Typical faucets use 1 to 2.5 gallons per minute.
Baths use hot and cold water supplied by separate water pipes. Mixing occurs at the faucet for final water temperature and comfort. The amount of water used per bath depends on the size of the tub and how full you fill it. Large tubs can hold as much as 50 gallons.
Showers use hot and cold water supplied by separate water pipes. The faucet mixes the hot and cold water to provide your desired water temperature. The amount of water you use depends on the type of shower head available and the length of time you have the water on. Newer efficient models use between 2 and 2.5 gallons a minute.
Toilets use cold water to flush and can be one of the biggest water users in your home. Depending on the brand and model, toilets use varying amounts per flush. Toilets installed before 1980 use 5 or more gallons per flush. Toilets installed between 1980 and 1993 use 3.5 gallons. Toilets installed since 1993 use 1.6 gallons.