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Top 10 Water Conservation Ideas
In these challenging economic times, everyone is looking for ways to save a little money. Some ways are more obvious than others: If you drive less, you spend less on gas. If you don't eat out for every meal, you save money on food. But have you ever considered ways in which you might save money on your water bill?
There are measures you can take to reduce your water waste by hundreds of gallons per year, and that reduction can result in real financial savings. The following are a few ideas with which everyone in the family can help.
- Fix That Leaky Toilet
- Get a Low-Flow Toilet
- Install a Low-Flow Shower Head
- Take Shorter Showers
- Water Outdoor Plants and Grass Wisely
- Turn off Water When Not in Use
- Upgrade Your Washing Machine
- Collect Water for Other Uses
- Repair Other Leaks
- Run a Full Dishwasher Only
1. Fix That Leaky Toilet
Did you know that the toilet is one area from which you lose more water than anywhere else in the home? That is because toilets often have silent leaks that waste dozens, if not hundreds of gallons per year if not repaired. To determine if you have a leaky toilet, place a few drops of dark food coloring into your toilet's tank. Without flushing, wait ten minutes to see if the food coloring seeps into the bowl. If so, you have a leak. You should also consider changing out the flap in the tank annually. Flaps are not designed for long-term use and once the seal is no longer secure, the tank will leak.
2. Get a Low-Flow Toilet
If you're thinking about repairing a leaky toilet, you may want to consider replacing your old toilet all together. Newer models such as the low-flow toilets have the capacity to save up to two gallons per flush. The EPA estimates that this change can save an average household $90 per year or $2000 over the life of the toilet.
3. Install a Low-Flow Shower Head
Low-flow shower heads consume about half the water of traditional model shower heads. According to the US Department of Energy, this small change can result in savings between 25 and 60%! Check out low-flow showerheads like this one on Amazon or drop in to your local hardware store to see what models are available and start gaining real savings today!
4. Take Shorter Showers
We all love to stand under the hot stream to relax and warm up in the winter or cool down in the summer, but taking longer showers obviously uses more water which translates into larger water bills. Challenge each family member to cut the amount of time they spend in the shower by five or more minutes. Don't discourage anyone from showering. In fact, taking a shower instead of a tub bath actually saves water in most cases.
5. Water Outdoor Plants and Grass Wisely
Best results come from watering in the early morning or late evening when the sun is less intense and does not evaporate as quickly. This will not only reduce the need for excessive watering but is better for plants as well. Do not water during mid-day.
6. Turn off Water When Not in Use
Many people allow the water to run while brushing their teeth, shaving or performing other hygiene tasks. This is not necessary. Turn off the faucet between actual uses and you'll be amazed at the amount of water you can save.
7. Upgrade Your Washing Machine
Machines that are Energy Star certified utilize 20% less energy and up to 35% less water. It is estimated that this saves 27,000 gallons of water over the life of the machine. Front loaders are known to be more energy efficient and use less water.
8. Collect Water for Other Uses
When you let the water run to warm up, just think of all the water being wasted! If you collect the water that is running until it warms up, you can use it for other tasks such as boiling food, watering plants, soaking vegetables, etc.
9. Repair Other Leaks
Toilets are not the only thing that leaks. Leaky faucets, hoses, and pipes can account for up to 10,000 gallons of wasted water per household, per year. That is enough water to fill your swimming pool! Be sure that all faucets are turned off tightly after each use and that items such as hoses are secured properly to the spigot. If you cannot achieve a tight fit to the spigot, change out the washer and /or apply pipe tape around the connection. Changing washers and gaskets on leaky faucets will repair leaks at minimal cost.
It is often difficult to tell if you have leaky pipes. Use your water meter. Check the setting and then check it again after 10 minutes, an hour and two hours during a time in which no water is being used. If the meter reads the same you should have no leaks. If the reading has changed, there is a leak somewhere.
10. Run a Full Dishwasher Only
Do not run your dishwasher unless it is full. A normal setting on the dishwasher will consume anywhere from 6 to 10 gallons of water per use. Pre-rinsing should not be necessary and not doing it saves water. You may wash your larger dishes such as pots, pans, pitchers and mixing bowls by hand to save room for the smaller items in the dishwasher.
Saving Water = Saving Money
|Water Saving Tip||Investment||Savings|
Low Flow Toilet
$150 - $400
Low Flow Shower Head
$30 - $80
$180 - $1000/ yr
Fixing Leaky Pipes
$145 - $155 per leak
Low Flow Wash Machine
$650 - $1200
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© 2013 Jaynie2000
Jaynie2000 (author) on September 02, 2013:
Thanks so much. I hope you find savings in these ideas. We've been trying most for a while and we're finally getting our energy star rated washer installed on Sept 16. Can't wait!
Amelia Griggs from U.S. on September 02, 2013:
Very good water conservation and money-saving tips!
Carolyn Gibson from Boston on September 02, 2013:
Very good, interesting, and useful hub!