Homeowners with an eye on water conservation will be richly rewarded, saving themselves money on monthly water bills and helping their fellow citizens guard against potential water shortages. Here are six ways to tap into savings at the tap.
Low-flow faucet heads. Install low-flow nozzles on all your faucets, particularly your showers. These faucet flow restrictors can cut the flow rate by half in some cases, saving water and money. There is also a device called ShowerStart, which pauses the flow of water, once it is warm, until you step in and begin showering.
Full loads only. In other words, don’t run a half empty dishwasher or wash a handful of clothes. By waiting until you have a full load, you’ll also run your machines less frequently. If your machines are old, consider replacing them with more efficient models that use less water and electricity. Look for the Energy Star label. In the bathroom, set a timer when showering. Long hot showers may feel luxurious, but they’re water wasters.
Low-flush toilet tanks. If you live in an older home, consider replacing your toilets with low-capacity tanks that use less water per flush. As an alternative, place a brick in the tank to displace some of the capacity, saving water per flush.
Check for leaks. Start with your toilets. Put a couple of drops of dye in the holding tank and wait about 30 minutes. If the color has seeped into the bowl, you have a leak and it’s time to install a new flush kit for the inner parts of the tank. To check for leaks elsewhere, go to the meter box in your yard when you’re certain no water is being used. You will see three things: a digital counter showing water usage, a large needle that does revolutions around the whole face of the meter, and a small red or black spinner. Is the little spinner turning? Watch it for a minute or two. If it moves, you have a leak. Take a photo for documentation, then return in an hour to check the digital counter. If it has changed with no water usage, you will have documented proof of a leak. Time to call a plumber to track it down.
Turn off the water. After you wet your toothbrush, turn off the water while you brush. When hand-washing dishes, turn off the water between rinses. When shaving, run a bowl of shallow water and dip the razor in the water between strokes rather than holding it under flowing water. Little things like this add up.
Watering your landscape. The best thing you can do is invest in an irrigation system and learn to use it effectively.