Although there are many ways to save water, water conservation generally does not get nearly as much attention as saving energy, except in times of serious drought. However, people should think of how to save water for a number of reasons.
How to conserve water in the home
Conserving water at home can start with ways of doing things that do not require any kinds of installation fees but immediately offer monetary savings.
Do not leave the water running: While this sounds too simple, many people waste massive amounts of water simply because they leave the water running when they are doing things like brushing their teeth or shaving. For those situations where is no reason to run the water continuously, it does not take any real effort to immediately turn the water back off.
In other situations where more water is needed such as when washing dishes, simply fill the sink with as much water is needed. To wash dishes with the water running is very wasteful and uses much more water than a dishwasher will.
Keep water in the fridge: If drinking tap water (this uses far less energy), always keep a picture of water in the fridge instead of running the tap. This water will also be colder and taste better.
Reuse water: This is not what some people might think, but there are many ways to make the same water serve more than one purpose that can be both clean and beneficial. For example, water used to wash fruits and vegetables can be used to water plants. Bathwater can also be used for this in some situations or used to wash off balconies as well as in other places where crystal clear water is not required.
Load up machines: Washing machines and dishwashers are most efficient when they are full. However, they should not be overloaded.
Avoid using the garbage disposal: They suck up more water than waste. Instead, try composting or throw out food scraps in the garbage.
Do not use the toilet as a garbage can: Flushing tissues and the like down the toilet is very wasteful. Keep the toilet for what it was designed for!
Watch water meter and bills: Check the water meter before and after a two-hour period in which no water will be used. If it changes, there is likely a leak. In addition, watch the water bill for spikes can indicate a leak or other problems with water usage.
Ways to conserve water that may require investments
There are ways to conserve water that will require some up-front investments, but these will pay off over time.
Fix leaks ASAP: Leaks usually cost very little to repair. Besides, maintaining things in good working order can help prevent problems caused by water damage as well as keep the water bill down.
Install a low-flow showerhead: Taking a shower, if it is not too long, uses less water than a bath and a low-flow showerhead can further reduce the amount of water used even more. Try to keep showers limited to five minutes or less.
Get a modern toilet: Toilets use roughly 30% of the water used in households. Invest in an efficiency toilet that uses less water. If this is not an option, water-filled plastic bottles weighed with pebbles put into the tank can displace water and reduce the amount used in every flush. While the amount of water used in flushes is best kept at a minimum, it should be enough water that it carries everything away in one flush.
Retrofit facets by installing aerators with flow restrictors: By breaking the water flow into fine droplets with air bubbles in it, aerators reduce the amount of water used for washing by over 50% while maintaining wetting effectiveness.
Install pressure-reducing valves: By reducing the water pressure to a home with these valves, water can be saved and the likelihood of leaks reduced. However, they will not make any difference in instances where devices use a controlled amount of water as is the case with toilets and dishwashers.
Install instant water heaters: For the kitchen or other area where hot water use is high, an instant water heater will greatly reduce the amount of water wasted waiting for it to get hot.
Ways to conserve water outside
A lot of water is used outside of the house too. Some ways to conserve water outside include:
- Select drought-resistant plants that do not need much water.
- Simply allow grass to go dormant and brown during dry spells.
- If watering the lawn, keep in mind that most people water more than needed. Grass only needs water if it does not spring back after walking across it.
- Only water grass in the early morning or evenings when the water will have time to soak in before being evaporated. One good watering (use a tuna can to measure this if using a sprinkler) is better than two light ones.
- Irrigate wisely and carefully by only using sprinklers for the big areas and watering manually on the edges to avoid wasting water on places such as sidewalks that do not need it.
- Cutting the grass longer will leave the roots shaded and reduce evaporation.
- Sweep off the driveway and walks rather than spray them. If using water, opt for bath and other normally unused house water.
- Collect rain water in a barrel and use when needed in dry spells.
- Pools are real water hogs. Keep them sealed and covered to reduce evaporation (which will be significant) and other water loss.