In this guide, we look at how much water common household appliances and devices use.
We are talking about dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, taps/faucets and so on.
Summary – How Much Water Common Household Appliances & Devices Use
- Home appliances and devices use different amounts of water
- Newer appliances and devices are available that are water efficient and use less water
- With some appliances and devices, there are different models or settings available that use less water, such as single vs dual flush toilet settings
- Water use can be measured in terms of per load, per cycle, per minute of use, per flush, and so on – it depends on the appliance or device
- Although it can be hard to compare one appliance to another because of these different units of measurement, when we look at each device/appliance as a % of total household water use, we see that toilets, showers, washing machines, and faucets/taps might use the most water
- In dry or hot climates, or households with extensive backyard or outdoor vegetation and plants, outdoor water use might be much higher for hoses, sprinklers, and so on
How Much Water Do We Use At Home, & How Do We Use It?
We wrote a guide about how much water we use, and how we use that water at home.
But generally, Americans use about 70% of water inside their homes, and 30% outside in their yards (although people can use a higher share of water outside in dryer and hotter climates).
A general breakdown of how water is used in the house amongst different uses and devices is:
- 24% Toilets
- 3% Baths
- 20% Showers
- 17% Clothes Washers
- 1% Dishwashers
- 19% Faucets
- 4% Other Domestic Uses
How Much Water Does A Dishwasher Use
- New water efficient dishwashers might use around 13.4 litres, or 3.5 gallons of water, for one load/cycle
- Old dishwashers can use up to 60 litres, or 18.5 gallons of water, for one load/cycle
How Much Water Does A Washing Machine Use
- Top loader washing machines can use 150 litres, or 40 gallons of water, per cycle/load
- Front loader washing machines can use 60 litres, or 15.8 gallons of water, per cycle/load
How Much Water Does A Shower Use
- An ordinary or old shower head can use 17 litres, or 4.5 gallons of water, per minute
- A water efficient shower head can use 8 litres, or 2.1 gallons of water, per minute
How Much Water Does A Toilet Use
- A single flush toilet (full flush) can use 12 litres, or 3.17 gallons of water, per flush
- A dual flush toilet (with half flush) can use 8 litres, 2.1 gallons of water, per flush. Sometimes they use less
How Much Water Does A Bath Use
- Depending on the size of the tub, an average fully filled bath tub might have a capacity of 140 litres, or 37 gallons of water
How Much Water Does A Tap/Faucet Use
- A running kitchen or bathroom tap/faucet can use 8 litres, or 2.1 gallons of water a minute
How Much Water Do Hoses, Sprinklers & Outdoor Devices Use
- A standard garden hose (with or without a trigger head) or sprinkler can use 18 litres, or 4.75 gallons of water, per minute
- A high pressure cleaner can use 6 litres, or 1.6 gallons of water, per minute
- A bucket or watering can can carry 9 litres, or 2.37 gallons of water, per bucket
- An average backyard swimming pool can hold 20,000 to 40,000 litres, or 5283 to 10566 gallon of water
Other Appliances And How Much Water They Use
- An average fully filled kitchen sink might have a capacity of 18 litres, or 4.75 gallons of water
- An average fully filled laundry trough might have a capacity of 80 litres, or 21.13 gallons of water
How Much Water Do Leaky Taps/Faucets, & Leaky/Running Toilets Waste
- A dripping/leaking tap might waste 30-150 litres, or 7.93-39.6 gallons of water, per day
- A leaky/running toilet might waste up to 700 litres, or 184.9 gallons of water, per day
A 1999 study estimated 13.7% of household water use goes to leaks (epa.gov).
If you are unsure about how to fix a leaky tap or toilet, it’s best to call in a plumber to fix it for you.
But, fixing a tap with a faulty washer can be fairly simple:
A dripping tap usually means that your washer needs replacing. To do this:
- Close the stopcock (the main water supply to your home) and then open the tap fully.
- Unscrew the cover. When unscrewing the tap, wrap a cloth around it to prevent it from being scratched.
- Unscrew the spindle.
- Unscrew the washer-retaining nut and remove the washer.
- Fit a new washer and replace the nut. Make sure that you have the correct washer size for the tap.
- Reinstall the spindle and screw down the cover.
- Close the tap, open the water supply slowly and check for leaks again. Do not overtighten the tap as the new washer is softer and will be damaged.
Check Product Specifications For Water Usage, & Water Holding Capacity
When checking water usage for an appliance or device, you can go to the manufacturer’s website beforehand to check water usage.
The specification sheet should tell you the water efficiency rating and amount of water used per load or cycle with a dishwasher for example.
For baths and sinks, you should know the volume they hold.
With hoses, single sprinkler heads (turn them upside down and face them into the tub), cleaners and taps/faucets, you can run them for one minute into a plastic tub or sink/trough as a test, and measure how much water is in that tub after a minute, to get an idea of how much water they use.
Look At Water Saving/Water Efficiency Devices
There’s many water saver/water efficiency devices on the market for different appliances.
With washing machines, dishwashers, shower heads, and taps for example, you want to look for appliances that have a higher water efficiency rating and are sold as water efficient appliances.
But, you can also get separate water saving devices such as timers, aerators, low flow settings devices and more.
Other General Water Saving Tips
- Buy 5 star rated, and water efficient appliances
- Use low flow or water efficient shower heads
- Use a tap aerator, or low flow tap device
- Use dual flush toilets
- Use a front loader washing machine over a top loader
- Get water leaks fixed
- Run washing machines and dishwashers with full loads
- Run washing machines and dishwashers on lighter cycles/settings for lighter loads
6. Various appliance brand sites, and product specifications (Bosch, Samsung, GE etc.)