We’ve all heard the tricks before: take shorter showers, turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, etc. But, with summer coming upon us and some states entering record droughts (looking at you, California), every little drop counts. Here are a few more ways you can keep saving water at home. Not only will you be doing the environment a favor, but you’ll be saving money on your water bill, too. And who doesn’t love that?
Inside Your Home
1. Check for Leaks
This is the most obvious thing you can do, but there may be some leaks you’re missing. Check the level on your water meter and then again after two hours without water use. The level should be the same, and if it isn’t, you have a leak!
2. Install Water-Saving Appliances
Replacing your faucets and shower heads with low-flow faucet aerators and water-saving shower heads is easier than it sounds. You can easily install them yourself and they’re inexpensive. They make a huge difference in your water use without sacrificing water pressure.
3. Rinse Your Razor in the Sink
Just like you shouldn’t leave the tap on while brushing your teeth, turn it off while shaving, too. Instead, fill the sink with a few inches of warm water to rinse your razor.
4. Switch Your Appliances
If you’re on the market for new appliances, look for energy star appliances or water saving ones. Not only do they reduce the amount of water you use by 35-50% per use, but they also save on energy.
5. Wash Full Loads
Whether it’s your washer or dishwasher, old or energy-efficient, maximize your water conservation by only washing full loads and avoiding the permanent press cycle (it adds five gallons). Adjust water levels for partial loads if you must run a more empty load.
First, if you’re toilet pre-dates 1992, you’re using 3.6 gallons per flush instead of the new <1.6. We highly recommend replacing your toilet. It can save you up to $2,000 during its lifetime, or add water bottles filled with sand to the tank so it only accommodates 3 gallons. For whichever toilet you use, stop using it as an ashtray, wastebasket and bug-flusher! You’re wasting almost two gallons of water for things you can simply throw away in the garbage.
7. Don’t Pre-Wash Dishes
Most dishwasher don’t require a pre-rinse, and that saves 20 gallons of water right there! Instead scrape plates off into the trash or start a compost you can use in the garden. This will also save you from using the garbage disposal which, by design, requires a lot of water to use. If you don’t have a dishwasher, fill one side of the sink or a bucket with warm soapy water to wash and the other side or the sink with clear water to rinse. This, too, will cut down your water consumption.
8. Insulate Hot Water Pipes
Believe it or not, this directly cuts down on water use and can be done inexpensively with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. It will keep hot water hot so you spend less time waiting for it and less water getting to it.
Outside Your Home
1. Use Native Plants
If you’re re-landscaping or just looking for what to plant this year, consider using plants native to your area or drought-resistant plants. Not only will they be more accustomed to your climate and area’s diseases, but they’ll also use less water. Plant on slopes to reduce erosion and runoff, and group plants by watering needs to maximize efficiency.
Place mulch around plants and trees. The organic matter helps to retain moisture and prevent evaporation so you don’t have to water as frequently.
3. Check Your Sprinklers
Make sure that your sprinklers are aimed at your lawn and plants instead of paved areas. Also, check that they’re all functioning properly and not just flooding one portion of your yard. Avoid watering when the suns up or when it’s windy to reduce evaporation and water loss.
4. Only Water When You Need To
Your lawn doesn’t need as much water as you think. To test if it’s thirsty, step on the grass. If it springs back up, you’re good. If it remains flat, go ahead and water it. On average, your lawn only needs one inch of water per week. Keep blades at three inches, too. This will help your lawn naturally retain more water.
5. Lawn Alternatives
If you’re fed up with your lawn, think about replacing it with our low-maintenance lawn alternatives or low-water turf. If that’s not your style, but you do want to save water, consider letting your lawn go dormant for the summer. Just water it once a month and once cooler weather rolls in, water regularly. It will spring right back up.
6. Water By Hand
If you’re committed to a green lawn but not the price, save water at home and water by hand. Manually watering your lawn and plants lets you adjust how much water goes where and prevents over-watering. Plus, it will save you 33% of the water you’d normally use!
7. Drip Irrigation
Not only does drip irrigation save water, but it’s also the best way to water planters, shrub beds, gardens and trees. It applies water directly to the root where it’s needed and reduces use and evaporation.
8. Check Your Hoses
First, when you use a hose, make sure it has a nozzle that will shut off when you’re not using it. Secondly, turn it off when you’re washing your car—use soap and water in a bucket to wash instead. Lastly, check for leaks! We keep hoses rolled up most of the time and rubber can crack.
9. Add A Cistern
In many parts of the country, rain falls when you least need it. Add a cistern to your rain gutters to save water at home for use when its sunnier.