Post your water usage, prices and water saving tips - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-26, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Post your water usage, prices and water saving tips

I plan to start monitoring my water usage via the water softener's meter (I am on a well). So far I only have 2 samples spread over a week but by usage is 27 gallons/day. That covers 3 people (2 kids). I looked for typical figures and was floored by the numbers. Something like 80-100 gallons per person! Seems a bit excessive.

The toilets are low volume flush. Washer is HE. I wash the dishes by hand most often (faster than dish washer). The shower head is low flow. Showers are every second day. When we brush our teeth the faucet is not running.

How about you guys?
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-26, 12:24 PM
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We are two people and use 0.4 m3/day total, unless we need to water the lawn, which I only did twice this year. This has been very consistent since the meter was installed in May 2013. I take readings every week and track usage with a spreadsheet. This is equal to 88 gal/day or 44 gal/person/day.

We do 4-6 loads of laundry per week, but it's a 25 year old standard large washer (time for replacement when it breaks). We do not flush the toilets each time (if it's yellow, we flush every other time) Each toilet flush uses 14 litres since our toilets are 23 years old. We take short (4-5 minute) showers usually every day, but use the dishwasher every 2 days. Water costs $2.71/m3 in Toronto. We are using roughly half of the "average Torontonian".

You are obviously doing extremely well, probably due to the HE washer and toilets. New dishwashers don't use a lot of water. We probably do more laundry than most because we are both runners. Without the running stuff, we could probably cut the laundry (and showers) in half. I should measure how much water the laundry tub holds - very easy with my water meter (and of course each load uses more than twice that due to the rinse cycle).

There are retrofit kits available for older toilets but I find our method works fine. Older toilets often don't work very well when you use less water (I've tried).

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-26, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks 57. I checked a few things to make sure I was not forgetting something. Toilets are 6L/flush. The HE washing machine is a canyon capacity which means only about 2 loads/week. The clothes are sopping wet but there is very little soak water. I can't imagine it being more than a few gallons per load.

I bike twice a day and one shower is at work and one home. My showers approach that of a navy shower.

Also, since I am on a well my water pressure is lower than that of city water. The cut-in and cut-out is 30 to 50 psi. IIRC city water pressure is 50 to 70 psi. That would drop the shower usage a bit.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-27, 02:01 AM
 
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27g/day WOW!

Sept's bill we're near 0.5 m3/ day (109g/day) for 2 adults and a teenager. Daily long showers for all, HE washer but guessing 5+ loads/week, dishwasher just about every day, no holding back on the standard flush toilets. Not often but will water the lawn and gardens. Fish tank accounts for 10+g/day from evap and averaging in 55g water changes every few weeks using a ro/di unit (waste: pure ratios 3-4:1).

Water in Edm is $1.74/m3 for first 10 then $1.90/m3 after plus another $0.60/m3 for waste (plus a flat fee of $3.33).
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-27, 06:59 AM
 
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Guelph. Our bill for the last 11 months has been between 0.4 and 0.35 cu M /day.
2 people, 1 shower/day each, 1 dw per day , 4-5 laundry per week.
HE washer, 6 litre toilets and 6 yr old dw No garden watering this year. No car washing.
Our 12 yr old water softener uses a lot when it regens which is more often than once a week.
Water is $1.38 cu M + $1.52 cu M for sewage plus a standing charge of $14.88 month.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-27, 01:32 PM
 
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I don't monitor our usage (we're on 2 wells for our small resort) but I did look at the difference between typical older top load washing machines and HE units. Around 2002, when we changed from a GE top loader bought in the 90's, to a Kenmore HE3, it was 45 gallons for the top loader vs 15 gallons for the HE3. The other savings comes from the energy used for the dry cycle, as the HE units spin out at about 3x the RPM of the top loaders. We do over 1,000 loads of laundry per year, so the savings are significant.

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-27, 01:44 PM
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For washers, the other energy user is hot water if you use it. We switched to Cold Water Tide a few years ago and our (electric) water heater bills have dropped significantly. Previously we had done warm-wash/cold-rinse.

I've been looking at the HE washers for a couple of years, but I just hate "tossing" a perfectly good washer for one that probably won't last as long, but I can certainly appreciate there will be significant savings in water and electricity (for the dryer). I'll have to do a cost-benefit analysis again. Before this year we were on flat rate water, so that didn't enter the equation until recently.

Resorts/Hotels may be different since washing in higher water temperature can also kill "small uninvited guests".

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-27, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting. You guys are pretty consistent around 0.4 cubic metres.

Tim I think the regen cycle is not counted in my usage but I could be wrong. The regen runs for 10 minutes so I guess that is equivalent to 2 showers/22 days. Regen occurs every 600 gallons.

I was trying to find a flow calculator online. I was curious what my "water-saver shower head is actually putting out compared to the published values. I find it weak and given the lower operating pressure I might not see much improvement if I go with a regular head. When the tank cuts-out it provides more than enough water.

This summer I watered my garden daily but no car washing or lawn watering.

BUT and this is a big but. I filled my pool up at the start of the pool season. I also top it up bi-weekly. The outdoor faucets bypass the softener so I don't get any stats there but I know the pool holds 40000 L. I have a deep well with a seemingly unlimited regen capacity. Other than that I don't think I abuse this natural resource.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-27, 07:27 PM
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Just opened our bill for the last 59 days.

Usage was .2 cubic metres per day over that period. Same for the 2 months previous to this. Before that, our usage was .3 cubic metres per day going back to last December (too lazy to find the bills before that).

The household has 2 adults and a dog. We have 2 showers daily, dishwasher once or twice a week and laundry is about 4 or 5 loads a week using a HE front loader.

So our water charge for this period was 20.97, sewer surcharge of 24.53 and a fire supply charge of 5.70.

Our bills have all been around this amount since they put in the real time meter readings.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-28, 12:40 AM
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Had a chance to check our old washing machine water usage. We did two loads tonight. A full load used ~150 litres - ~70 to fill for wash and ~80 for rinse/refill/rinse.
A "medium" load took ~100 litres.
A shower took ~20 litres.
I adjusted the floats in our toilets and they're working OK with 13 litres.

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-28, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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So your 4-6 large loads/week = 600 L to 900 L or 4-6 medium loads = 400 L - 600 L.

It is hard to find figures for washing machines but 50 L/load keeps popping up for HE machines.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-28, 05:53 PM
 
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Our usage is around 0.35m3/day. We are 2 adults, 2 kids (4 & 6). Adults shower everyday, kids usually 4 times per week each. We have a HE washer, all toilets are dual flush, new dishwasher which does 3-4 loads per week. That number includes the water softener regeneration which regens every 600gal or so. This is our average winter billing so lawn watering isn't included but this year it wasn't much at all.

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-30, 11:18 AM
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I was looking at my water meter the other day while taking some measurements and noticed that the small red triangle that indicates water flow was moving very slowly, even though there should have been no flow.

I searched the house for hours looking for the source of the flow. I have shutoff valves on toilets, bidet, etc and none of these stopped the flow. None of my taps drip. Then I put my ear to the hot water riser coming from the hot water heater and could hear flow, so I renewed my search, tracing hot water lines where I could. This was not easy since these pipes are all in enclosed drywall ceiling. I could get near most spots or have a peek or listen, by removing hot air registers. I finally heard a hissing in the basement ceiling, by the side of the home.

There was a small stream of water coming from a pinhole in a copper elbow. Apparently when these elbows are manufactured, they are bent and the elbow is sometimes too thin and wears through at the bend. I hate to think how many elbow I have in my home - I hope this is the only "bad one".

I cut open the drywall ceiling in the area around where the heating register was and removed a small heating duct, however, I could only cut an opening about 10" x 19" because there was ducting everywhere else - main square furnace duct, etc. I squeezed my upper body into the area and confirmed the leak was about one foot from the opening. I turned off the hot water line, opened a tap, put some tape on the elbow to lessen the flow and thought about it for several hours. Although I'm quite handy, this was simply not a job that I would be able to handle because it was like working on a submarine. I left the water off overnight and didn't get much sleep trying to think of my options.

I searched the web for a reliable plumber and came up with The WaterWorks. The problem has been repaired. Since it was impossible to solder in the very confined space, the master plumber put in one foot of PEX and the appropriate fittings. Problem solved. I'll put an access panel in the ceiling instead of re-drywalling the hole. It's in a 2-piece washroom in the basement so aesthetics are not too important.

I can highly recommend WaterWorks.

- I called and made an appointment, explaining the situation. They said they'd call an hour before coming.
- I got the call an hour before and they also sent a picture to my e-mail showing the name of the plumber and what he looks like.
- The plumber also called about 5 minutes before arriving.
- Michael was very personable and I recognized him as one of the owners of the company.
- He quoted a flat rate for the repair - not cheap, but good work rarely is.
- While doing the repair, Michael made several recommendations to save water, etc, much as I would do when optimizing someone's home theatre.
- The repair was done to my satisfaction.
- Waterworks called with a followup about an hour after Michael left and also followed up by e-mail.

Now that's how to run an operation. The WaterWorks, highly recommended! At a time when there are so few good stories, I thought I'd share one.

http://www.waterworkscanada.com/

Edit: I have used WaterWorks since when we had a toilet issue but I felt the fee was too high for the amount of work done, even though the work was performed well. When I purchased two new toilets in early 2015, I removed the old ones and installed the new ones myself.

I'm so glad I found the problem before there was major damage.
.

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Last edited by 57; 2015-05-29 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Edit added
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-30, 12:00 PM
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I'd be interested to hear if your water usage ends up dropping significantly over the next few months.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 2013-10-30, 02:10 PM
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I will keep monitoring, as I have already been doing on a weekly basis. I doubt there will be a huge difference that i'll be able to see with the variability of my use, since the flowrate was about 1 litre/hour, which is about 5% of my typical consumption. That would be equivalent to one wash load per week… Not insignificant, but difficult to measure. I'm pleased to see that the "red triangle that indicates flow" is no longer moving when everything is off.

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