15 Tips on How to Save Water
Handy Tips on Saving Water Throughout the House
If you want to save money on your water bill or you’re becoming more eco-conscious, saving water is essential. Incidentally, many tips on saving water also help to reduce your carbon footprint, help you save on electricity use, and can help lower your overall energy bill.
Fresh water is becoming increasingly precious. Here are tips for saving water in different areas of your home so that you can help preserve this essential resource. Each section has five main tips for saving water, with extra ideas and explanations following each tip.
- Kitchen Tips
- Bathroom Tips
- Garden and Outdoors Tips
5 Tips on Saving Water in the Kitchen
1. Use your kitchen faucet wisely.
- Run the faucet at about half the volume for smaller tasks such as washing hands or rinsing dishes. You will use a lot less water over time by doing this.
- Fill up a pitcher of water and put it in the fridge. That way, you’ll always have fresh, cold water on hand and won’t have to run the faucet, waiting for it to get cold.
- If you buy bottled water because you don’t like the water from your tap, install a water filtration system to help improve the taste and remove impurities. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also reduce petroleum needs that go into bottling water and shipping.
2. Save by washing dishes a little differently and using a dishwasher less often.
- If you do dishes by hand, fill up both sides of the sink: one for washing and the other for rinsing to help save water. I also find that this saves time!
- If you use a dishwasher, be sure to run full loads only. Scrape plates immediately after eating and rinse if necessary. If food hardens on the plate, you’ll have to use a lot more water to get the food to come off.
3. You can save water with your appliances, too.
- When it’s time to upgrade or replace your appliances, make sure they are “air-cooled” instead of “water-cooled.” Look for Energy Star appliances, as well, which will be optimized for energy and water savings. You might even get tax breaks for buying these types of appliances—check with your accountant or financial advisor for details.
- Install a tankless water heater under the sink. You won’t have to run the faucet long to get hot water.
4. You can save even more water if you use water leftover from cooking.
- When you have water from cooking/steaming vegetables and pasta, or even from soaking beans, let it cool. Then use it to water plants or to water the garden.
5. You can save water by washing your vegetables in a bowl.
- Fill a bowl with water. You can wash many vegetables without having to change the water. Then, when you're finished, dump the water out in your garden or lawn.
5 Tips on Saving Water in the Bathroom
1. You can save a significant amount of water by retrofitting your commode.
- If it’s time to upgrade or replace your older toilet (many use 3.5 gallons per flush or more), look for a “low flush” toilet. Your household can save up to 17,500 gallons per year! A low flush toilet has two settings: 1.6 gallons per flush or 0.8 gpf. I’ll let you guess as to when you would use the different settings.
- You can try an easy, quick fix if you can’t replace your toilet to help save water. Get one to two quart-size water bottles for each toilet in your household. Fill with water—preferably leftover water from the kitchen—and depending on how big the tank is, place one to two bottles in the tank. Make sure they are screwed on tight and that they won’t interfere with any mechanisms inside the tank. This works to displace the water, and the toilet will “think” it’s full with a lesser amount of water.
- Fix any leaks in your commode. A good way to tell if you have a leak is to put a few drops of food coloring in the bowl. If the color clears in a few minutes, you have a leak. You may just need to tighten a washer or check a connection.
2. Fix leaks—you can save LOTS of water.
- A good way to tell if you have a water leak somewhere in the house is by turning all faucets off. Check your water meter. Don’t use any water for 1 hour and check the water meter again. The meter should read exactly the same; if it doesn’t, you have a leak. One leak can waste a tremendous amount of water. If you have to call a plumber, the savings you gain could quite possibly far outweigh the plumber’s bill.
3. Take short showers.
- Showers easily make up 1/5 of all household water used. Many showerheads allow 5 gallons of water per minute to pass through. If you reduce the time you’re in there, not only do you save water, but you’ll save electricity—the water heater won’t have to work as hard. Use a timer to help you reduce the time you’re in the shower. Also, you can turn off the water while you are lathering up.
- It’s easy to install a water control valve on a showerhead. When you turn it “off,” it keeps the water hot or cold.
4. Turn off the faucet when you’re shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Leaving the water on for two minutes while you brush will waste several gallons of water. Just turn it on as you need it.
5. Install water-saving devices on all faucets in the bathroom and kitchen.
- If you install water-efficient faucet aerators, you can go from three gallons per minute of water use to 1.5 gallons per minute of water use. You’ll save money and even electricity.
5 Tips on Saving Water in the Garden and Outdoors
1. When it rains, you can collect rainwater to help save water.
- Check with your local regulations, but if it’s all right, install gutters on your house to collect rainwater. Direct the water into a rain barrel. You can use this to water the lawn, water your vegetable garden, and even to wash your car.
- In the house, you can use this water to clean with by filling a bucket and then cleaning with natural products.
2. Make sure outdoor water hoses don’t leak.
- Use a water-efficient trigger nozzle and hose menders to help stop leaks and repair them. Be sure to check the size of your hose before heading to the hardware store as there are different sizes.
3. Try to replace your lawn with other plants.
- You can replace a water-loving lawn with wildflowers, ground-cover, a vegetable garden, or you can try a new hobby: xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is gardening with water-conservation in mind.
- If you have to have a lawn, consider letting it go dormant in the summers. Sure, everyone loves a green lawn, but it uses so much water to keep it that way. If you water once every three weeks or whenever it rains, it won’t be as bright and lush, but you’ll still have a flat space for the kids to play while saving energy.
- Don’t water your lawn when it’s windy – you’ll end up watering lots of things besides the lawn.
- Watering in the early morning is the best time: it doesn't evaporate that quickly and the sun will dry it out over the course of the day. Watering at sundown is another good time to water, though the moisture will “sit” longer and has a slightly higher risk of inviting disease.
4. Wash your car over your lawn.
- Use a biodegradable soap and use a small amount. When you wash your car, you’ll also water your lawn.
- You can also bathe pets, too, just be sure to use soap that is ecologically friendly if you'll be doing it on the lawn.
5. Use compost.
- When you use compost/mulch your garden, the added “insulation” will help keep water from evaporating out of the soil on hot summer days. This reduces the need for watering. Great ingredients for using mulch are leaves, pine needles and wood chips. You can use compost that hasn’t broken down all the way, especially leaves. The compost helps to neutralize the soil for better plant growth and helps to naturally fertilize it, too.
Sources and References
Do You Regularly Try to Conserve Water?
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun