Our water usage

Water usage to date

In our July performance post I stated that we were tracking our water usage and water pump usage to calculate the efficiency of the pump. Dan Gibson asked in a comment about our water usage, so I thought I’d cover that here. He says in his comment that there are not a lot of actual hard numbers on water usage and he’s definitely right. Most estimates I’ve seen online say 50 to 100 gallons per person, which seems both excessive and vague at the same time.

We installed water meters on the main line and the inlet to the hot water tank. We have usage data starting in January when we moved in.

All values in gallons Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul
Main water inlet 1,677.3 1,584.2 1,338.3 1,373.4 1,722.4 2,593.1 3,166.9
per day 54.1 54.6 43.2 45.8 55.6 86.4 102.2
Hot water inlet 884.5 746.6 600.8 552.5 569.7 660.8 567.4
per day 28.5 25.7 19.4 18.4 18.4 22.0 18.3

A couple of notes on the data. Our shower wasn’t ready for use until the middle of February which increased out water usage in the first few months. Showers are obviously more efficient than tubs. In May, we acquired 3 dairy goats, some chickens, started building a barn and watering the garden, pushing up our usage again.

Taking these factors into account, it looks like our typical average indoor water usage is about 45-50 gallons per day for 2 adults, or 23-25 gallons per person. Our hot water usage seems to average about 20 gallons per day. Hot water accounts for roughly 40% of our total indoor usage.

The larger number in July indicates the unfortunate situation where we turned on the water to the garden and forgot to turn it off. It ran for a few hours. Thankfully we use soaker hoses, otherwise the loss could have been much larger.

We had planned to use cistern water for the garden, but we ended up moving the garden to a different location that is about the same elevation as the cistern, meaning we can’t use gravity feed. We’re working on a low tech solution to pump the cistern water up above the garden to a separate tank which can than use gravity feed. For now, it seems just as efficient to use well water.

If you have any questions, let us know in the comments.

3 Responses to “Our water usage”


  1. 1 Wade Stevens 6-August-2012 at 10:16 am

    I doubt you put 500 gallons into the garden in just a few hours of forgetfulness. The curve shows steady growth in usage, with July in line with the previous months increases

    • 2 Larry 6-August-2012 at 10:40 am

      Agreed, except when I looked at the data, the pump used 2,030 watt hours in the hours 10am to 1pm. If I’m doing my math right… 2,030 watt hours / 2.675 watts/gallon = 759 gallons. (The is one of the reasons I did the number crunching to see if there was something wrong with our pump.) If you subtract 759 gallons from the total for the month 3,187 – 759 = 2,428 which is in line with the previous month (2,593 gal) of more typical summer usage. There was no showering going on during these hours, the water heater was not using any energy. 759 gallons in 3 hours seems like a lot but I’m not sure how else to explain it unless my math is wrong.

  2. 3 Dan Gibson 6-August-2012 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you for the very excellent data and your insight on water useage. Dan


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