Implementing water conserving techniques in and around your home can help to save money on utility bills, reduce pollution resulting from leaks and help your system run better and last longer.
- Install a Low-flow Shower Head. A low flow shower head uses less water while still providing enough flow to rinse with. This saves money and conserves water.
- Take Shorter Showers. Aim for a five-minute shower. With a low-flow showerhead you’ll use 12.5 gallons of water or less. Compare that to 37.5 gallons for a 15-minute shower.
- Shower Instead of Taking Baths. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it takes 35 gallons of water to fill the average bathtub. Switch to a five-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead, and you’ll save 22.5 gallons each time you scrub up!
- Simulate a Low Flush Toilet. If you don’t have a new, water-saver toilet, you can simulate one by putting a clean brick, or a sealed plastic bottle filled with pebbles, or a weighted mason jar, into your toilet tank. This displaces water so that less is used each time you flush.
- Check Toilets for Leaks. According the National Sanitation Foundation, a leaky toilet can waste as much as 500 gallons of water each day! Place a dye tablet in the toilet tank, and watch to see if the dye seeps into the bowl. If it does, you have a leak that needs to be addressed.
- Replace Your Toilet Flapper Once a Year. Toilet flappers break down quickly, and should be replaced once a year even if they say they’re good for longer. A couple dollars spent on a replacement flapper will save you much more on your water bill.
- Install an Adjustable Flapper. Several manufacturers now offer flappers that you can adjust to your desired flush volume. According to Niagara Conservation, an adjustable flapper can save up to three gallons per flush.
- Install a Fill Cycle Diverter. Save another 1/2 gallon per flush by installing a fill cycle diverter in each of your toilets. This simple add-on costs less than a dollar, and is designed to divert overflow water back to the tank during the fill cycle.
- Switch to a Low-Flow Toilet. When it’s time to replace your toilet, replace it with a low-flow model that uses 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to a traditional toilet, which use 3.6 gallons.
- Don’t Use the Toilet to Dispose of Cigarette Butts or Other Trash. Not only is this bad for your septic system, but flushing cigarette butts and trash is a waste of water.
- Turn the Water Off While You Brush/Shave. There’s no reason to keep the water flowing while it isn’t being used. Less flow time equals less water used.
- Only Run Your Dishwasher When Full. Unless you have a newer dishwasher with a half-wash option, you use the same amount of water no matter how many dishes you put in. Also note that since its hot water, you’re paying not only for H2O, but also for the energy used to heat it.
- Don’t Pre-Rinse Your Dishes. Instead of rinsing off the dishes before washing, scrape them off.
- Soak, Don’t Rinse Extremely Dirty Dishes. For dishes needing heavy cleaning, soak them before washing. This will enable you to use a normal wash cycle on the dishwasher, and filling the sink uses less water than running water to rinse with.
- Keep a Pitcher of Water in the Refrigerator. Instead of letting the faucet run for a few minutes to get a cool glass of water, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. This also has an added benefit, if you dislike the chlorine taste to your water, an uncovered pitcher will allow the chlorine to dissipate and thus improving the taste.
- Wash Whites on Warm, Not Hot. Unless you or a member of your household is an athlete, or particularly stinky, your whites will probably turn out just as clean on the warm setting as they did on the hot setting, and you save your water heater from having to heat up several gallons of water to max temperature.
- Only Wash Full Loads. You’ll save water and wear and tear on your machine. Use the load selector on the washer if a smaller load is necessary.
- Wear Clothes More than Once. Pants and outwear usually don’t get very dirty. Wear them twice before washing, and you’ll cut down on your water use and your housework.
- Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Washer. A high-efficiency washer can be as much as three times as efficient as a regular washer. Upgrade when your current washer dies, and enjoy the savings.
- Collect Rain Water for Plants. Attach rain barrels to the end of your gutter drain spouts to collect rainwater. Then, use it to water your plants and to wash your car.
- Water with Soaker Hoses. Use a soaker hose to water the plants in your yard, and you’ll have precise control of where the water goes and where it doesn’t.
- Mulch Your Garden. Mulch reduces evaporation, ensuring that your plants get the full benefit of rainwater and you watering it.
- Water Your Yard and Garden During Times When it’s Cool. The best time is in the evenings and late at night.
- Let the Grass Grow Taller in Hot Weather. Also use mulch in the garden and around shrubs, this will help retain moisture in the ground.
- Use Shrubs and Plants That Don’t Need Large Amounts of Water. Not only will this save you water, but it also saves you time.
- Choose Drought-Resistant Plants. Then, let the rain handle all of the watering.
- When Watering Plants or Grass Make Sure That’s What You’re Actually Doing. It doesn’t conserve water, nor does it help your grass, if half of the water is hitting your driveway or house.
- Don’t Water on Windy Days. On windy days, the water will go everywhere except where you want it to.
- Take Your Car to A Car Wash. You’ll eliminate 100 gallons (or more) of water from your water bill each time you take your car to a car wash, and if you choose a facility that recycles water, you’ll be saving the environment too.
- Sweep Sidewalks Off Instead of Spraying. Using a broom instead of a hose can save a substantial amount of water.
- Use a Wading Pool Instead of a Sprinkler. Fill a wading pool for your kids, instead of letting them play in the sprinkler. They can splash around for hours without the continuous flow of water.
- Install Faucet Aerators. They use less water, even if you’re turning on the taps for the same amount of time. You should be able to get faucet aerators for less than two dollars apiece. Chances are you already have some form of aerator in your faucet (they’re those little mesh screen pieces that screw onto the nozzle). If you already have them, you can unscrew them and check the side for their gpm (gallons per minute) rating. If it’s over 2.75 gallons, it’s probably worth it to get one with a better, lower rating.
- Repair Faucet Leaks. A leaky faucet can waste 1000-2000 gallons of water a year.
- Utilize Greywater. Save unused drinking water, capture water while you’re waiting for the shower to heat up and hang on to your cooking water, then use it to water your plants.
- Insulate Pipes. Cover your hot water pipes with foam insulation to prevent heat loss. The pay off is faster hot water and less water waste.
- Place Your Hot Water Heater Close to Where You Use It. The shorter the distance the water has to travel, the faster you’ll have hot water. Less time waiting equates to less water wasted.
- Install a Tankless Hot Water Heater. When it’s time to replace your hot water heater, consider upgrading to a tankless unit (also known as an on-demand water heater). It heats water faster and only when you need it, a water savings and an energy savings.
- Do you have a fish tank? If so don’t throw the dirty water down the drain when you clean it. Instead use the water for your houseplants, not only are you conserving water by using it twice, but the nitrogen and phosphorous rich water is a great fertilizer for plants.