Jeff Flowers on March 2, 2018 2 Comments With the cost of water going up and more restrictions going into place for drought-stricken areas, now is the perfect time to begin saving water around your home. Although you can’t do anything about the amount of snow and rain that falls, restricting the amount of water you use in your home and being conscious of this precious resource is something you can do personally to help conservation efforts. The following tips can help you to save water and be much more resource conscious in your home and in your day-to-day life. 1) Don’t Leave Water Running This may seem like common sense to most people, but it bears repeating: never leave water running when it’s not being used! There’s no need to have the water running while you brush your teeth, shave while at the sink, or washing dishes. If you’re used to letting water run while you wait for a certain temperature, choose instead to have a pitcher for cold water in the fridge or heat up water with a kettle or in the microwave. If you are waiting for the water to warm up in your shower before you hop in, let the water run at a trickle until it reaches your desired temperature. 2) Be Mindful of What You Flush Flushing old food, paper towels, garbage, leftover prescription medication, wipes, cigarette butts and feminine hygiene products down the toilet can cause some pretty big issues in the public water supply, as well as the plumbing in your home. Some of these items may just create a simple clog or blockage that prevents drainage. Most of the time, this is minor and easy for homeowners to fix. However, when it’s not minor, it can lead to a whole host of other issues that nobody wants to face. Flushing some of these other items can contaminate public water systems, leaving traces of its material in source water. One of the best ways to increase the over all efficiency and preserve the resources available in your area, is to be mindful of what you’re putting into the water supply. And, this often starts with what you’re flushing down the toilet. 3) Skip the Long Showers While we all love to take a relaxing bath, the unfortunate truth is that they use nearly twice as much water as a shower. If you must have your bath, consider installing a smaller bathtub or consciously only filling your tub to a certain amount. Give yourself a bath “budget” — a set number of baths you can have a month — and do not go over this limit. Low-Flow Showerhead: and install a low-flow showerhead to further reduce the overall amount of water you use. Low-flow showerheads allow you to save plenty of water without sacrificing water pressure or any other desired amenities. In fact, installing a low-flow showerhead will give you an excuse to update old fixtures and faucets in your bathroom. Set a Timer: When showering, try to restrict your showers to less than 5-7 minutes. Keeping your shower-time below 5 minutes can save up to 1,000 gallons of water a year! Set a timer or use a waterproof clock to help you know how much time you’ve spent in the shower. You can also create a music playlist that lasts for your desired time, which can also help you determine if you’re taking too long. 4) Conserve While Cooking & Cleaning When cooking, try to use as little water as possible to prepare your meal. Not only will it help food retain its nutrients better, but it will also help conserve water. You should also make sure to use the right size pot for the job — larger cookware will require more water, but it may be more than water than necessary. The Dishes: If you hand wash dirty dishes in the sink, ensure that you don’t have the water running the entire time. Instead, use one basin in the sink for hot, soapy water, and the other basin for colder, rinsing water to dunk clean dishes and remove soap residue. If you don’t have a double-basin sink, use can accomplish the same with a large bowl or storage container. If you’re using a dishwasher to clean your dishes, try to only run it when the device is fully loaded. To make it even more efficient, take a close look at the detergent you’re using and how the dishes are loaded. If you can, consider purchasing a smaller and more energy efficient model that can save quite a bit of water and can be especially useful for smaller households. The Laundry: The same general practices can also be applied to how you’re doing laundry. Only wash full loads, and consider switching to a small washing machine or combo washer dryer. These are often more efficient in both water usage and electricity. Front-loading washers use less water than top-loading machines, and newer models use less water than older machines. When washing dark clothes, use cold water, as this not only saves water and energy, but it also helps darker garments retain their color. 5) Repurpose Your “Grey” Water Reuse all the water that you can. There are all sorts of ways that you can do this. Water from Cooking: Reuse water from cooking vegetables to make homemade stock. Put a pot underneath colanders when you are washing vegetables or draining the water from pasta, and then use it to water gardens and potted plants. Or, simply wash fruits and veggies in a pot, and then use the water for your outdoor plants. Leftover Ice & Drinking Water: Don’t dump old glasses of water or dropped ice cubes down the drain, but instead pour that water into plants and put ice cubes directly into hardier plants to water them. Or just allow the ice to melt in a bucket you keep on-hand to help collect extra water. Collect Rainwater: Going beyond the water you collect inside, consider whether you are collecting the “free” water outside. If your city allows it, use a rain barrel to collect rainwater outdoors. This can then be used to water lawns, gardens and other plants. This practice of saving water through repurposing is the easiest way to see just how much water you use. We all use a little water here and there throughout the day without even realizing how much it adds up. By saving all of the extra water and runoff from around your home, you will conserve more than you think. 6) Strategically Use A Sprinkler System While a rain barrel is a great way to collect water for your lawn and garden, what about when it’s dry? This is where an automatic sprinkler or irrigation system can help you take care of your lawn, without wasting a ton of water. Use a Programmable Timer: If you have an automatic irrigation system, use a timer and set your sprinklers to go on in the early morning hours or right around evening dusk, both of which are times when the least evaporation will occur. Try to ensure that the timer is set to only water for a certain amount of time so you don’t have sprinklers running unnecessarily. Use a Rain Sensor: Try to use a rain sensor to monitor the climate in your area. If it’s going to rain, there’s no sense in wasting water with your sprinklers. Make sure to either turn your sprinkler system off completely or have a neighbor take over the yard work if you’ll be out of town — there’s nothing worse than seeing sprinklers watering lawns in the rain. 7) Follow All Local Water Restrictions Water restrictions are put in place when there are anticipated drought issues, current drought problems, and to help conserve water for residents and household use. Because many areas across the U.S. are experiencing severe droughts, many cities and counties have some sort of water restrictions in place. These often include a simple request that residents only water on certain days or at certain times, but may even include a complete ban of outdoor water use. Ignoring water restrictions can result in fines from the city or a reduction in the amount of water that is available for yourself and the rest of the community. Remember to pay attention to any water restrictions that may be in place for your city or state, and follow the recommendations of your utility department in order to conserve this vital resource. 8) Monitor Your Water Bill Keep an eye on your monthly water bill and check for spikes in usage. Random fluctuations in your bill could be an indicator that something is wrong with the plumbing or fixtures in your home. While it’s likely that you would’ve noticed a burst pipe, a sudden increase in the monthly bill could indicate that there is a leak somewhere. Make sure to check all faucets, hoses, and connectors indoors, as well as outdoors to prevent or fix leaks as soon as they happen. No matter how major or minor the issue may be, an increase in your monthly water bill is certainly a good indication that you ought to make some changes around the house to reduce your water use. Small Changes Makes Conservation Easy Making small changes around your home and in your daily habits can have a big impact on the amount of water your household uses. With these tips to help improve your water efficiency, you will not only be helping the environment, you’ll be helping your wallet as well. Saving water is a duty for each one of us, and these simple tips can help you change any wasteful habits you might have. How do you conserve water in your home? Share your tips and ideas with everyone down in the comments below.