Save Money: Water

Water filling a glass from a faucetWater is fast becoming a precious resource. Making water conservation part of your daily routine will save water and money every day. Here is a long list of ways to save on water usage around the house.

Home Water Savings

Inside your home

  • Limit the time to 5 minutes, but take a shower instead of a bath. Turn off the water while soaping up.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth or shave.
  • Only wash full loads of both laundry and dishes.
  • Install low-flow showerheads and low-flow toilets.
  • Fix leaky faucets as soon as possible.
  • Run dishwasher and clothes washer only when there is a full load.
  • Set the clothes washer water level to match the level of clothes.
  • Insulate exposed hot water pipes with pre-slit foam insulation.
  • Keep a bucket or gallon jugs around and fill them up while you wait for hot water. That's gallons and gallons that could be used for watering plants, washing dishes, mopping the floor, or washing the car. You could even store all the water you save in a large, clean,  plastic garbage can.
  • Buy a front-load washing machine. It uses 1/3 to 1/2 the water of a normal washing machine...and they use less soap.
  • Collect water if you use a dehumidifier. Note it is not potable.
  • Use a microfiber mop. It uses much less water than a regular one.
  • Put a bucket in the shower to collect extraneous water.
  • Save water from boiling vegetables for watering plants. Better yet, use a microwave.
  • If you use all natural soap, collect the rinse water on hand-washed dishes for other uses.
  • Check for silently leaking toilets. This can happen in new toilets, too. I checked our toilets after 6 months in our new house and both had silent leaks in them - the flappers were bad. Buy good replacement parts and check to see they do not leak. Flappers are easy to replace. A good flapper is around $4. A good plumber is around $70.

    Test #1

    1.  Turn off the water supply to the toilet
    2. Mark the water level. After an hour, check to see if it has decreased. If so, the flapper needs replacing

    Test #2

    1. Put food coloring in the water closet (not the bowl).
    2. After an hour see if the water in the bowl is colored. If so, then the flapper probably needs replacing.
  • When washing dishes by hand: fill the dishwater a little, wash a few dishes, then rinse off dishes with hot water over the dishwater.
  • Use the same drinking glass throughout the day.

Outside your home

  • To see if there is a leak: Do not use water. Check the water meter setting. Wait 2 hours. Check the water meter again. If it has increased, there is probably a leak.
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it.
  • Set the lawn mower so the grass is 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall after cutting.
  • Deep soak watering instead of watering every day. It promotes deep and healthly root growth.
  • Use drip irrigation to water plants.
  • Use a broom instead of a water stream to clean your sidewalk, patio, or driveway.
  • If you have an automatic sprinkler system, set it to water everything in the early morning, except when there is a possibility of frost then move it to mid morning. Make sure you turn it off when it rains. You can also purchase a moisture detector which will turn off your sprinkler automatically if the ground gets too wet (i.e. it rains).
  • Never water your lawn or garden in the heat of the day; water early morning just before the sun comes up. Do not water your lawn in the evening as it will promote mold and mildew.  
  • Wash your car with a hose attachment rather than letting it run down the driveway.
  • Do not water your lawn unless there is a drought or it has been a week or so between rains. Lawns will go dormant and revive when moisture arrives.
  • Collect gutter water runoff in barrels for later use.
  • Don't let the kids play with the hose.
  • Use xeriscape landscaping techniques. The indigenous plant life is adapted to the area and will generally use less water.

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