6 Ways to Reduce Water Consumption in Your Home
Saving water can save you money while you do your part to help protect and preserve the environment. Moreover, by conserving water in your home now, you can help make sure that clean water remains reliably available in the future for your children and their children after them. While you are considering ways to reduce home water use, consider reducing your use of hot water in particular, as a major component of your greater water consumption efforts. The heating of water can make up 25 percent of your home’s overall energy consumption, which also has a major impact on both your wallet and the environment.
Through water-conserving technologies and these easy-to-use steps, you can significantly reduce water consumption inside and outside of your home.
1. Fix Leaks
According to the EPA, the average family in the United States wastes 10,000 gallons of water, or the equivalent of 270 loads of laundry, through leaks alone. Considering that the U.S. Department of Energy reports that one drip of water every second is wasting 1,661 gallons of water, which can cost you as much as $35 each year, fixing any leaks in plumbing can help save a significant amount of water and money. Invest in repairing plumbing in your bathroom, kitchen and pipes that supply water to your outdoor gardening hose.
2. Put in Low-Flow Water Fixtures
Federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Energy now require all new shower heads installed in the country to have flow rates not exceeding 2.5 gallons per minute at 80 pounds per square inch of water pressure. Regulations also prohibit new faucets from having flow rates in excess of 2.2 gallons per minute at 60 pounds per square inch. Remaining within these restrictions can save you between 25 percent and 60 percent on water use, and subsequent cost.
3. Install Energy Efficient Appliances
Washing machines and dishwashers use a great deal of water, both hot and cold. For example, an energy efficient washing machine can cut down your operating costs, including water use, by two-thirds. You can therefore save tremendously on your water usage simply by using energy efficient appliances in your home, such as EnergyStar labelled appliances, instead of regular ones. EnergyStar is a voluntary program that product manufacturers may belong to by adhering to certain energy-efficiency guidelines in the manufacture and usage of their products. EnergyStar clothes washers use 30 percent less water, or about 17 gallons per load, the same amount of water that a person typically uses when taking a shower. Incidentally, despite popular misconception, using a dishwasher, even an inefficient one, still uses less water than washing dishes by hand.
When you do use your washing machine or dishwasher, be sure that it is full first. Those appliances typically use the same amount of water for each load, no matter how full or empty it is, unless your machine has various settings for certain sized loads. Make the most out of every usage of an appliance that uses water. If you do not have a dishwasher, then plug the sink or wash with a basin to conserve water while you wash dishes by hand.
Rather than place frozen foods under running water in order to thaw them, let them sit overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Install a Low-Flow Toilet
Combining the benefits of low-flow fixtures and energy-efficient appliances, both, are low-flow toilets. Given that toilets are responsible for approximately one-third of an average home’s water usage, a low-flow toilet can considerably reduce water consumption in your home by that same amount.
5. Use Your Sink Responsibly
When you clean your plates from the table, scrape off excess food matter into the trash rather than rinsing it off in the sink.
Washing food down your garbage disposal is an unnecessary expenditure of water when you can just as well compost your food waste.
Instead of running the faucet every time that you want a drink of water, fill a bottle or a pitcher once and place it in the refrigerator. Then, you have cold, fresh water anytime you want it without wasting water for each refill.
6. Practice Lawn and Garden Care Water Efficiency
Apply mulch around your outdoor plants and trees to cut down on water evaporation. In so doing, you can also cut down on how much you will need to water them. Use rainwater barrels to harvest rainwater that you can then reuse for lawn and garden care purposes. Water your lawn judiciously, turning off automatic sprinklers and replacing them with intelligent irrigation systems.
You can choose plants that are water efficient and aesthetically pleasing such as native plants or plants that work well in your particular climate. You can reduce the use of grass by accenting your lawn with pebbles, outdoor tiling and other landscaping materials.