Measuring Water Wasted While Brushing Teeth
Last week, a commercial came on TV about conserving water. The person in the ad made the statement that leaving the faucet on while brushing your teeth wastes 5 gallons of water each time you brush your teeth. My daughter asked me if that was accurate. I told her to measure it!
- Find a container to collect water from the faucet.
- Find a timer.
- Find one person to brush their teeth and one to run the timer.
- Start brushing your teeth, leaving the water on after wetting the toothbrush and shut the water off after the teeth are brushed and the teeth and toothbrush are rinsed.
- Be sure to start the timer as soon as the water is turned off and stop the timer when the water is shut off.
- Measure the collected water by pouring it into a container that has measurement lines (if your collection container does not)
- If your collection container is too small to hold all the water follow the following procedure: Time the toothbrushing process. Collect water in a container for 10 seconds and measure the amount collected. Use that measurement to figure out how much water would have been collected in the time it took to brush the teeth.
Results and Ideas For Further Study
We discovered that if my daughter keeps the water running while brushing her teeth, she uses 2.5 gallons. This was half of what the commercial told us. However, dentists tell us to brush a whole 2 minutes and adding rinsing time might bring the expected brushing time up to 2 minutes 20 seconds. My daughter only took 1 minute 30 seconds for the entire brushing process. She used less water, but might not have clean teeth!
Another variable to consider is the faucet. Different faucets have different flow rates. If the flow rate of your faucet is slow, you won’t use as much water in the same amount of time as you would with a higher flow rate faucet.
The findings from this project led to the next question.
How much water do I use when I just turn water on for rinsing my toothbrush and my teeth?
I guess that will be the next science project around here!
Why Is Water Conservation Important?
The earth’s water cycle does an excellent job in cleaning and processing our water naturally. However, our society uses more water than this process can keep up with. That’s why we have waste water treatment plants. They give mother nature a little help.
Although these water treatment plants are helpful, they use energy to clean the water and sometimes chemicals are necessary to get the job done. Conserving water reduces the amount of water that needs to go to these treatment facilities, therefore reducing the amount of energy used and reduces the amount of chemicals put into our water supply.
Why don’t you try this simple experiment? It’s perfect for Earth Day!
Looking for more Earth Day activities or want to win a great, new Ecology text for your family? Visit the Earth Day Activities post from yesterday.