11 Ways to Save Water At Home

April 28th, 2014

Turn it off!
running faucetImage via Jenn Durfey (Flickr)

11 Ways to Save Water At Home

As our winters remain unusually dry in many portions of the country, water conservation is moving to the forefront of many people’s minds. Whether you live in a dry or wet area, you need to conserve water. America’s water supplies are dwindling, and we need to protect this precious resource. In fact, a recent NOAA report confirms that one in every 10 U.S. watersheds is short of water. On top of that, there are more Americans using water than there used to be.

Columbia University Water Center confirmed that global warming isn’t the only thing depleting our water supplies. Over the last 60 years, the United States has experienced a 99 percent increase in its population. We’ve basically doubled, and we cannot stick our heads in the sand any longer. If we keep consuming the water at the rate we are right now we’re going to run out, and some scientists believe that this will happen by the mid-21st century! Clearly, we need to be saving water. Here are eleven ways you can do so to help.

  1. Reduce Dishes – Let’s start in the kitchen. Use a refillable water bottle or the same glass throughout the day to get your daily water intake. Cook wisely; use the right-sized pans and prepare meals that don’t require a ton of dishes. If you reduce the amount of dishes you use daily, you reduce the amount of dishes you need to wash.
  2. Wash What Dishes You Do Use Wisely – Don’t keep the water running when washing dishes by hand or rinsing them for the dishwasher. In fact, if you use a dishwasher, buy an energy efficient model that allows you to stick the dirty dishes directly into the unit without rinsing them first.
  3. Make Compost/Mulch – Don’t use your garbage disposal; you must have water running when it’s on. Take your vegetable scrapings and any other usable organic matter and turn them into compost. Start a compost/mulch pile in your yard, and then sprinkle the mulch onto your plants. This keeps them moist and reduces the need for outdoor watering.
  4. Water House Plants Wisely – Don’t toss dropped ice cubes into your kitchen sink; put them in a potted plant instead. Collect any water you use to rinse fruits and vegetables and use it to water your house plants. You can also collect the kitchen and bath water that runs while you’re waiting for it to get hot and use it to water your plants.
  5. Replace Old Shower Heads and Toilet Parts – Take stock of your bathroom fixtures. Are your showerheads old? How about your toilet’s innards? Replace all faucets and showerheads with water-saving ones, and replace your toilet innards, especially the flapper, regularly to ensure there aren’t leaks. If you drop some food coloring into your toilet’s tank and it seeps into the bowl, you have a leak!
  6. Take Quicker Showers – I understand there is nothing better than a nice, long, hot shower, but guess what? That luxury is costing you upward of 1,000 gallons of water per month. None of us can afford this luxury anymore. Learn to hop in and hop out, keeping your daily shower under five minutes, and turn off the water between lathering and rinsing.
  7. Turn Off the Bathroom Sink – If you do not turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, you’re using 4 gallons per minute. If you keep it running while you’re shaving, you’re wasting as much as 300 gallons per month. Turn it off! It doesn’t matter if you’re brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your hands, or washing your face. Turn the faucet off until it’s time to rinse.
  8. Turn Off Faucets Tightly/Fix Leaky Faucets Indoors and Out – Aside from turning the water off when you don’t really need it, also make certain that all family members are turning off the faucets tightly. If your kids are too little to tighten the faucet, turn the water off for them. Make sure you don’t have any drips or leaks, either, including checking your outdoor spigots and piping all around your property.
  9. Rethink Summer Fun – During the hot summer months your kids can still have fun in the sprinklers, just make sure they’re running through them during their normally scheduled run and in portions of your yard that need the watering. Do not turn the sprinklers or hose on separately just for a quick “dip,” and avoid any outdoor summer toys that need a constant stream of running water.
  10. Rethink That Dirty Car – You might be tempted to turn the hose on that dirty car, but rethink it. Take your car to a car wash that recycles its washing water. If you simply cannot bring yourself to pay to have your car washed, turn off the sprinklers, pull your car onto the lawn, and wash it there. Whatever you do, turn off the hose while you’re washing the car, you’ll be saving up to 100 gallons of water by doing so.
  11. Grab That Broom – Washing down your outside space with the hose is a huge no-no in some places in the country now and with good reason; it wastes a ton of water. Don’t hose down your patios and walkways, grab that broom and sweep them. It isn’t that much harder to do and you’ll be saving a tremendous amount of water in the process, not to mention a nasty fine if you live in a place that frowns upon the washing down practice.

You see, there are many things you can do to save water, and all of them pretty much involve just turning the faucets off. If you absolutely do not need that faucet or hose running, turn it off. You’ll be surprised how much water per minute actually flows through your taps. Want to find out? Put a gallon bucket under the faucet, turn the water on, and time how long it takes to fill. Trust me; you’re going to be surprised at the final tallies!


Written By: Lynn Taylor

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