20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home

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Conserve waterI don’t know about where you live, but here in the southwest, we are in a serious drought. Wildfires start from sparks from ATVs and flat tires. Winds carry them across thousands of acres in just a few hours. It is dry! This is the weather that dries up wells where I live. Water tables are dropping, because there is no precipitation to replenish them.

Water is scarce and needs to be conserved, not just in drought years, but always. Besides, what little water there is available is most likely polluted.

Water is life! Without it, we would dry up and blow away on a strong southwesterly wind. Here are a few ways to conserve this precious commodity.

Conserve water in the kitchen

conserve water in the kitchen

Photo: Dottie Mae

1. Install a low-flow faucet with an aerator.

2. If you hand-wash your dishes, do not run the water. Fill one sink with wash water, and fill the other with rinse water.

3. If you have one sink, use a big enough container to hold rinse water.If you have a dishwasher, use it only when it has a full load in it.

4. To wash vegetables, fill a bowl with water. Do not run water over them. Use the rinse water to water your plants.

5. Compost vegetable scraps instead of using your disposal. If you cannot use compost, find a farm to donate to.

6. Keep a jug of cold drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cold.

7. Pay attention every time you are pouring water down your sink, and think how you can reuse it. I make soup from the water from cooking potatoes and steaming vegetables.

Conserve water in the bathroom

8. Install low-flow or dual flush toilets. Most toilets are now low-flow, meaning they use 1.5 gallons to flush. A dual flush toilet has two ways to flush – the handle goes in one direction for a bit of water for pee, and it goes in the other direction for more water for poop. I do not flush pee, which is the third option.

browse-eco-friendly-toilets

9. Install a low-flow showerhead. These used to be very basic looking, and people complained. Now they come in different designs yet still save water. Look for a 2.5 gallon/min showerhead.

10. Take short showers. Clean up and get out. This will save on your water heating bill, too.


11. When you are running water for the shower and waiting for it to get hot, catch that water in a bucket for watering plants. Depending on how far the hot water heater is from the showerhead, this could amount to a considerable amount.

12. Use a hot bath as a luxury or to soak out illnesses. A bathtub can hold 50 gallons of water, whereas a short shower would use about 20 gallons. Don’t take baths for regular bathing.

13. Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth or washing your face.

Water conservation bathroom shower

Photo: gcfairch

Conserve water in the laundry room

14. Wash full loads only.

15. Buy a front-loading washer. These use 1/3 the water of a top loader. You will also save on your energy bill, since you will be heating less water.

General household water conservation tips

 

16. Sweep your driveway off with a broom. Don’t use a hose to spray it.

17. Fix leaks in faucets and toilets. I detected a leak this way: Put a couple drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Don’t flush! If color shows up in the bowl within an hour, there is a leak. Tank innards are inexpensive to buy and easy to replace, and they will save you money and water.

18. Check you meter for unusual water usage during off hours.

19. Install a tankless hot water heater. This will decrease the amount of water you waste waiting for it to get hot. It heats up water only as it is used. This also saves on your energy bill, since a 40-gallon tank does not have to be kept warm when not in use.

20. If you like houseplants, try succulents and cacti. They take much less water and are very forgiving is you forget about them.

If you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.