## Excessive Conservation Wearing Out [noun]...

So... While brushing my teeth - I first rinse my brush, turn the faucet on, brush, then rinse the sink/mouth. Yes, I turn the faucet off while brushing. And if you're counting - that's two on/off cycles per brushing...

I've been playing with this tool: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/procurement/eep_faucets_showerheads_calc.html

And I pose an open question for discussion.. But first, my data/research...

I'm estimating 3 minutes of use per day - 365 days/year. According to the tool... I use 2190 gallons per year. Lets say that's 5 uses per day (2 for teeth - 1 for bathroom use). The tool seems to estimate an 8.4 year service life - so that's a total of 18396 gallons of water over it's life as a faucet.

So

but

Realistically, a faucet's wear comes from on/off cycles - each use bringing it closer to retirement. So 40% of 8.4 years is 3.4 years.

Now... Leaving the faucet on an extra 4 minutes per day (2 minutes per brushing) consumes 2920 gallons of water per year.

The difference over 8.4 years is: 30660-18396=12264 gallons. At about $4 per 1000 gallons - that difference is $49.06. BUT, the direct replacement for my faucet (as priced today in home depot to the exact model) is $75. So after 8.4 years

Faucet remaining on will cost me:

$49.06 + $75 = $124.06

Faucet being turned off will cost me:

$75 + $30(prorated cost of faucet for 3.4 years of wear on a new faucet) = $105

Differences:

$19.06

12,264 gallons of water

Okay... Now that you've read the above... please discuss your thoughts. I am very much aware of the assumptions I have made (no need to point them out) - just looking for opinions :)

My car uses .3 gallons of gasoline per hour at idle. Lets take a 100% city drive in heavy traffic (my drive yesterday). I was at a complete stop due to traffic lights or traffic for 20 seconds or more a total of 12 times to travel ~10 miles (yes, I freakin timed it). So that's a total of 4 minutes (wow, that worked out nice) of idle time. That time consumes 0.02 gallons of fuel costing me $0.06. If I were to make that commute 5 days a week, twice daily - that's a cost of:

10.4 gallons of gasoline

$31.2 worth of fuel

So, a new starter for my car costs $130. Typically the motors don't actually die - just the contacts. But lets assume I don't want to fiddle with that and just want to direct replace (corollary to valve washers :D).

This means - using my starter an additional 24 times per day - it will take 4.2 years for the fuel savings to pay for a new starter. In 4.2 years - averaging 12,000 miles per year - I will have traveled 50400 miles.

Okay - now lets consider the cost of fuel to restart - 24 times.... According to mechanical engineering magazine, a V6 engine used 5 seconds worth of idling gasoline to restart. So - redoing some math to compensate - that's a savings of

7.8 gallons of gasoline per year

$23.4 per year

So, I'm having some problems finding data on starter life cycle - all I have is anecdotal evidence...

*My personal car has 115K miles and is ~8 years old - and I've been doing this since I bought the car >2 years ago.

*My last car was sold at 98K miles and this was done for a little less than 2 years (the car was 8/9 years old when sold).

*My first car had unknown mileage (estimated around 150K), was 10 years old and the engine was killed at stoplights.

*My parents own a conversion van (seldom used now) that is 12 years old, 120K miles - did not shut the engine (v8) down at traffic lights.

None of the cars above have had their starter go.

*Father had a truck that had it's starter replaced around 220K miles - unknown age. That car left us with a blown connecting rod around 300K miles

Batteries... Yes, this does put more strain on your battery... I'll go more into that when I can find some better data (more than anecdotal :p)...

But, that's to say... It's economically viable to turn off your engine at traffic lights... So much so, it's illegal to idle (over a certain period of time) at traffic lights in some countries...

I've been playing with this tool: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/procurement/eep_faucets_showerheads_calc.html

And I pose an open question for discussion.. But first, my data/research...

I'm estimating 3 minutes of use per day - 365 days/year. According to the tool... I use 2190 gallons per year. Lets say that's 5 uses per day (2 for teeth - 1 for bathroom use). The tool seems to estimate an 8.4 year service life - so that's a total of 18396 gallons of water over it's life as a faucet.

So

**If I leave the water on while brushing**- that's 3 on/off cycles per day.but

**If I turn the water off while brushing**- That's 5 on/off cycles per day (40% more cycles).Realistically, a faucet's wear comes from on/off cycles - each use bringing it closer to retirement. So 40% of 8.4 years is 3.4 years.

Now... Leaving the faucet on an extra 4 minutes per day (2 minutes per brushing) consumes 2920 gallons of water per year.

The difference over 8.4 years is: 30660-18396=12264 gallons. At about $4 per 1000 gallons - that difference is $49.06. BUT, the direct replacement for my faucet (as priced today in home depot to the exact model) is $75. So after 8.4 years

Faucet remaining on will cost me:

$49.06 + $75 = $124.06

Faucet being turned off will cost me:

$75 + $30(prorated cost of faucet for 3.4 years of wear on a new faucet) = $105

Differences:

$19.06

12,264 gallons of water

**That is to say - due to extra wear on my faucet - it's only marginally more economical to turn my faucet off while brushing my teeth. If I wasn't me, and not able to DIY replace - it very well may be cost effective to leave it on given the cost of a hiring a handy man or plumber...**Okay... Now that you've read the above... please discuss your thoughts. I am very much aware of the assumptions I have made (no need to point them out) - just looking for opinions :)

### Update

Lets turn this discussion on it's head now... As several have pointed out, conserving is more important - bonus as it's close to an economical wash in my fictitious scenario above (it's not 100% real and based on data from the link above and some hefty assumptions).My car uses .3 gallons of gasoline per hour at idle. Lets take a 100% city drive in heavy traffic (my drive yesterday). I was at a complete stop due to traffic lights or traffic for 20 seconds or more a total of 12 times to travel ~10 miles (yes, I freakin timed it). So that's a total of 4 minutes (wow, that worked out nice) of idle time. That time consumes 0.02 gallons of fuel costing me $0.06. If I were to make that commute 5 days a week, twice daily - that's a cost of:

10.4 gallons of gasoline

$31.2 worth of fuel

So, a new starter for my car costs $130. Typically the motors don't actually die - just the contacts. But lets assume I don't want to fiddle with that and just want to direct replace (corollary to valve washers :D).

This means - using my starter an additional 24 times per day - it will take 4.2 years for the fuel savings to pay for a new starter. In 4.2 years - averaging 12,000 miles per year - I will have traveled 50400 miles.

Okay - now lets consider the cost of fuel to restart - 24 times.... According to mechanical engineering magazine, a V6 engine used 5 seconds worth of idling gasoline to restart. So - redoing some math to compensate - that's a savings of

7.8 gallons of gasoline per year

$23.4 per year

**Time to recoup 1 starter: 5.6 years (equating to 66000 miles)**So, I'm having some problems finding data on starter life cycle - all I have is anecdotal evidence...

*My personal car has 115K miles and is ~8 years old - and I've been doing this since I bought the car >2 years ago.

*My last car was sold at 98K miles and this was done for a little less than 2 years (the car was 8/9 years old when sold).

*My first car had unknown mileage (estimated around 150K), was 10 years old and the engine was killed at stoplights.

*My parents own a conversion van (seldom used now) that is 12 years old, 120K miles - did not shut the engine (v8) down at traffic lights.

None of the cars above have had their starter go.

*Father had a truck that had it's starter replaced around 220K miles - unknown age. That car left us with a blown connecting rod around 300K miles

Batteries... Yes, this does put more strain on your battery... I'll go more into that when I can find some better data (more than anecdotal :p)...

But, that's to say... It's economically viable to turn off your engine at traffic lights... So much so, it's illegal to idle (over a certain period of time) at traffic lights in some countries...

active| newest | oldestI don't think draining aquifers into the sea constitutes "promoting a healthier environment". I'm not sure about your idea of diluting pollutants, either- could you clarify?

I think what Tool (and many others) assume is that those that wish to respond to a comment will actually read first. If that's assuming a lot, that's your call (but I would respectfully disagree if that's the case).

The crux of it is, those 300 million people (which I assume you mean in the United States) are the biggest offenders per capita with Canada in #2 (but significantly far away from the #1 position) and Australia #3.

I would consider 1 billion people offending worse - but it would be pure academics for an alternative reality. We'd be so lucky if we cut our consumption so far as to be that far down the list of resource consumers :p