In most homes, water has four major uses: baths, faucets, washing machines and dishwashers. For each of these uses, water heating may be required, which consumes around 20% of a home’s energy costs. Other uses of water include irrigation, pools, fountains and spas.
Even when you try to use water wisely, you my be wasting a good deal of this precious resource. Here are ideas and tips on how to wisely save water in your home.
Ways to Conserve Water for Consumption
The minimum individual requirement for water needed for consumption and cleaning is 4 gallons per day. Thus, you may be surprised to learn that an average family (2 adults and 2 children) uses somewhere between 250 & 400 gallons of water per day. Homes with outdoor irrigation, pools and spas use significantly more water.
Most of the water used in a home isn’t used for individual consumption (such as drinking and eating). Instead, it’s used for cleaning and watering. However, the biggest cost we make is for water we drink, rather than on water we use for cleaning and watering. This is due to our addiction to bottled and purified water. For the uninformed few, bottled water is always a waste of money and resources. Did you know that bottled water costs up to 10,000 times more than tap water? But what exactly goes into the cost? It’s mostly bottling, transporting, packaging and sales.
One of the greatest environmental problems with bottled water is that it requires a great amount of energy to transport to the end consumer. While you might believe that the pristine water from a secluded spring is the best for you and your dear ones, think for a moment, of all the pollution and the waste of energy generated in the process.
A frugal and environmentally sustainable alternative (if you worry about the quality of water) is to install a purifying system. When you consider such system, look for one that only treats the water you plan to consume. After all, it makes no sense to filter water that goes to your dishwasher.
There are many other great ways to save water for consumption and many of them are relatively easy and inexpensive.
One change you can make is to use a two-valve faucet. Such faucet is more efficient than a single-valve style that unavoidably wastes hot water.
Using aerator filters in the faucets is yet another wonderful way to save water. These filters add air and keep up the pressure. Meanwhile they reduce flow volume. Most of the times, we need greater pressure and not greater flow volume. Many new building codes require low-flow faucets as they are a more intelligent solution.
Leaky faucets are incredibly wasteful. A faucet dripping once per second wastes up to 2,000 gallons of water annually. Leaking faucets can also cause aggravate or cause health problems due to mold and mildew that flourish in damp environments.
The largest cost is the wasted heat when hot water is drawn from the water heater. If your faucet is dripping, it may be drawing and wasting hot water.
Here are more water conservation tips:
Don’t use your garbage disposal because it requires a lot of water to run. This water ends up filling the sewer system far more than needed. Instead, consider a composter or throw the waste into your garbage.
Don’t waste cold water while waiting for the hot water! Instead, put a bowl or some other container under the faucet while you’re waiting for the water to get hot. Use this water for cooking or watering house plants.
It’s a big no-no to leave the tap running while you’re focused on another activity. When washing your face or brushing your teeth it is smart to turn the water off. You’d be surprised to learn that this small change can make a world of difference in water savings.
Ways to Conserve Water in Showers and Baths
Ways to Conserve Water in Toilets
Toilets consume 45% of indoor water use. A running toilet can waste up to 4,000 gallons of water per year.
Don’t use the toilet as a waste basket.
Put a couple quart bottles filled with water in the tank. Each flush will use that much less water. Alternatively, use bricks or rocks.
Ways to Conserve Water For Your Lawn
A great way to save water (and energy) is to get rid of your lawn. Replace it with drought-resistant plants, and don’t water them that much. You can also replace your lawn with native plants or trees that grow and thrive in your climate without need for additional watering.
Ways to Conserve Water in Dishwashers
Use as little water as necessary to effectively rise dishes. Run a full load at all times. Skip the pre-rinse cycle and use the economy wash cycle.
Ways to Conserve Water in Washing Machines
Check your washing machine for leaks. Fix all leaks right away.
Use as little water as necessary to effectively wash the laundry. It is more efficient to wash full loads than partial loads. Adjust the water level to the lowest possible setting for the load size. For the minimum size loads, utilize a mini-basket insert that can fit over the agitator.
So, there you go. Happy water saving!