Water – a resource many households take for granted – is becoming increasingly more precious and vital as global temperatures continue to warm and droughts become more prevalent. From the time you wake up until you go to bed, water plays a large role in your everyday activities. As you go through the day, it’s important to rethink how you can do your part to reduce your water.
Here are a few tips that’ll help you be more conscious of how much water you use, and as a bonus, save on your monthly water bill.
- Tooth brushing. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes, and water comes out of the average faucet at 2.2 gallons per minute. This means the average brushing session uses almost five gallons of water! After you wet your toothbrush, turn off the water and only turn it back on when it’s time to rinse.
- Hand washing. Like brushing your teeth, water does not need to run as you lather up. Turn off the faucet as you scrub, and save the water for the rinse.
- Showering. Reduce the amount of time you spend showering by setting your phone timer to five minutes, or turn off the water when you are washing your hair, soaping up or shaving. If your shower takes a few minutes to heat up, keep a bucket close by and gather the cold water to use in your yard (or to wash your car).
- Check the faucets. Spend an hour going through your home to spot leaks – check faucets, under-the-sink pipes, the washing machine hookup, outdoor spigots and any other water sources.
- Know your numbers. Do a deep dive into your monthly water bill, so you can quickly see if your bill goes up drastically month-to-month. This could signal a leak, costing you money and wasted water.
- Invest in new fixtures. Think about purchasing water-efficient fixtures like low-flow toilets and bathroom faucets and shower heads with WaterSense labels. If you can, replace your old washing machine with an Energy Star-certified one, which will use 33 percent less water than standard models. Investing in an Energy Star-certified dishwasher could save 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.
- Insulate your pipes. Does it seem like the hot water takes forever to heat up? Your pipes may be lacking the insulation they need. It’s worth scheduling a visit with a plumber to uncover any areas that aren’t properly insulated. Those energy and water savings will add up over time.
- Dishwashing. If you hand-wash dishes, fill the sink with water instead of letting it run. If you use a dishwasher, make sure it’s completely filled before running it.
- Laundry. Similar to the dishwasher, avoid doing a load of laundry unless it is a full load. Bonus, you get a free pass to do less laundry!
- Repurpose kitchen water. When you’re cooking, there are many ways to repurpose water. When you wash produce, drain pasta, or let the water run to heat up/cool down, capture that water to use in the garden.
- Use a rain barrel. Take advantage of rain showers and install a rain barrel to capture rainwater, then use it to water your flowers and shrubs.
- Rethink your landscaping. Plant drought-resistant and native plants, which require little water beyond normal rainfall. Be sure to cover all plants, shrubs and flower beds with mulch to contain the moisture.
- Upgrade to a smart sprinkler. Control where and when your sprinkler runs for major water and cost savings. These systems work with your smart home to monitor the weather, and know when to water, and how often. This means no more watering while it’s raining.
Whether you choose to invest in new household items, or simply adjust your approach to getting ready in the morning, every action you take to conserve water will add up to major savings over time.