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Levels of water consumption in the home largely depend on individual habits, but by far the heaviest consumers of household water are toilets, washing machines, bathtubs, and showers. While there is a wide range of simple measures that you can take to ensure more efficient water usage in these and other areas, a more active effort may include water recycling and water treatment methods.
There are several steps you can take, of varying degrees, to improve the efficiency of household appliances that use water. When buying appliances, choose energy-efficient models and look for items that have been designed to reduce an appliance’s water use. However, taking a look backward, in technological terms, may sometimes prove beneficial. For example, using a conventional mixer shower rather than a pumped power shower may save water and energy, while you might also question the whole issue of flushing toilets. Although the concept of composting toilets may seem prehistoric, over recent years the developments in their design and efficiency have meant that they are increasing in popularity. Although it is unlikely that they will ever come into mainstream use, it is conceivable that composting toilets may become viable alternatives to flushing toilets.
On the most basic level, water recycling methods include collecting rainwater in barrels, then using it to water the garden. However, it is now possible to have much more sophisticated systems installed that use rainwater to supply toilets, outside faucets, and even household appliances.
Gray water is all the water that has been used as washing water in the home, while black water refers to waste water from toilets. Manufacturers now produce systems for treating both gray and black water. These systems remove sediments, then filter and disinfect the water, so that it is reusable for anything except drinking.
In areas where hard water is a problem, installing a water softener is a wise long-term investment. Hard water scales up all appliances, making them much less efficient and more costly to run. Water softeners do not affect the kitchen cold-water supply or any other drinking-water faucets.
Other water treatment devices include magnetic and electrolytic scale inhibitors that are designed to reduce scale in the system but not soften the water.
Saving Water in the Home
The following is a list of simple ways in which you may reduce your household water consumption: