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Learn useful tips and tricks for water conservation. Read how to Reduce Your Water Consumption drafted by Jessica Hupp on the Organicasm Blog. Understand how to better Conserve Water from from the CELP website.

Reduce Your Water Consumption

Water conservation is an important part of responsible living. Fortunately, there are a number of really easy ways to save water without a whole lot of hassle, and we’ve compiled some of the best here.

  1. Wash only on a full load: This is true for both washers and dishwashers. By washing in bulk, you’ll cut down on the number of cycles you need to run. Also important to keep in mind is the fact that most dishwashers on a full load can clean dishes more efficiently than a hand wash.
  2. Cut down on your disposal: Instead of using your disposal, start a compost pile for food waste.
  3. Buy foods close to their natural form: Water is needed to produce just about everything from Coke to boxed mashed potatoes. You can cut down on your water consumption by avoiding processed foods that require lots of water to make.
  4. For large washing jobs, fill your sink: Instead of running water to wash dishes or produce, fill your sink to wash them all at the same time.
  5. Cut back on rinsing: If you’ve got a fairly new dishwasher, it should be powerful enough to clean your dishes thoroughly without pre-rinsing.
  6. Check for toilet leaks: Drop some food coloring into your toilet tank and let it sit about half an hour without flushing. If you see color in the bowl, you have a leak that needs to be repaired. This is generally easy to take care of, as replacement parts are cheap and install easily.
  7. Avoid using your toilet as a trash can: Throw tissues, insects, and cigarette butts in the trash instead of the toilet. You’ll save about 6 gallons with each flush you avoid.
  8. Turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth: Certainly you’ve heard this one before, but it’s simple and important enough to be repeated. Turning off your faucet while brushing can save up to 10 gallons a day.
  9. Make your toilet low-flow: Place weighted plastic bottles in your toilet tank to save water in your tank. You’ll need to make sure that there are at least 3 gallons remaining in the tank so that your toilet will flush properly.
  10. Replace your flush handle: If your flush handle sticks and lets water run, it needs repair or replacing. These can usually be found in the hardware store for a few dollars, and are incredibly easy to install.
  11. Take showers instead of baths: Showers generally require less water than baths, coming in at 20 gallons versus a bath’s 50 gallons.
  12. Insulate water pipes: Pre-slit foam pipe insulation is cheap and easy to install, so it’s a convenient way to get hotter water, faster. By getting faster hot water, you’ll cut down on the time you have to run your faucet while waiting for water to heat up.
  13. Bathe your pets outdoors: By washing your pets on the grass, you’ll water your lawn while getting Fido clean.
  14. Give your lawn a deep soak: Although it may seem counter-intuitive, water your lawn for a long time so that the moisture will go down to the roots and encourage a deep root system. When you’ve achieved a deep root system, grass can get more natural moisture from below.
  15. Water strategically: Pay attention to the time of day you water. Water early in the morning and late in the evening so that you’ll lose less water to evaporation. Watering early is also great because it defends against garden pests and fungus.
  16. Collect rainwater: Put a water-catching barrel outside to collect rainwater that you can use for your garden, lawn, or cleaning.
  17. Lay down mulch: Put down bark, peat moss, or gravel to slow down evaporation. This is an easy way to save literally hundreds of gallons a month.
  18. Be a lazy waterer: Water only when you absolutely need to. A good rule of thumb is to check it by stepping on your grass-if it springs back when you lift your foot, you can put off watering for a bit more.
  19. Never use a hose when you can use a broom: Don’t clean sidewalks and driveways with water-use a broom instead.
  20. Install an aerator: Easy to install, and often quite cheap, aerators are about the easiest way you can save water at home. Water aerators in your showers and faucets will help you use less water while still enjoying high pressure, achieved by putting extra air bubbles in the water flow.
  21. Reuse excess water whenever possible: Instead of pouring old water glasses and boiling pots down the drain, reuse the water for pet dishes or plants. You can also use fish tank water on household plants.
  22. Dispose of hazardous materials properly: Keep oil, prescriptions, and other contaminants out of the water, as these items can effectively eliminate water from our supply. Do some quick research to find out how you can properly dispose of them.
  23. Use a commercial car wash: Often, car washes can wash your car more efficiently than you can in your own driveway. To save even more, find one that recycles their water.
  24. Fix leaky faucets: If you’ve got even a slow drip, you’re letting money go down the drain. Even more importantly, you’re wasting hundreds of gallons over time. Pick up a wrench and fix your leaky faucets for a quick and easy way to curtail water usage.
  25. Locate your master water shut-off valve: In case of a pipe burst, you’ll need to know how to shut off water in your home. This will not only save gallons of water, but potentially your property as well.

Conserve Water 

  1. Shower power. Install a low-flow showerhead and save more than 500 gallons of water per week. Not sure whether your showerhead needs replacing? Test it! If your shower can fill a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace it with a water-efficient showerhead. If you shorten your shower by a minute or two, you’ll save an additional 1,800 gallons of water per year.
  2. A royal flush. Average homes flush 19 gallons of water per day down the toilet. By replacing an old toilet (especially models installed before 1994) with a low-volume model, you can cut the amount of water your house uses by more than half to 8 gallons per day – and save more than $1,000 in water and sewer charges over the next 10 years. (To get the most whoosh for your flush, look for a FlushStar model.)
  3. Tanks for everything. All toilets waste water as the parts in the tank wear down; even if you don’t hear your toilet running, water may be leaking silently from the tank into the bowl. Check your existing toilet for leaks by putting food coloring in your toilet tank. If the color seeps into the bowl, you’ve got a leak. Fix the leak by installing a new flapper and save more than 600 gallons of water per month.
    Insulate! Save time and water by insulating your hot water pipes so that you don’t have to run as much water to get the hot water up to your faucets.
  4. Fair-a-faucet. Fixing a leaky faucet only takes a few minutes and a little elbow grease, but it will save you 140 gallons of water a week. Install 1 gallon per minute faucet aerators in your bathroom and 2 gallon per minute aerators on your kitchen faucet and save water every time you turn on the tap.
    Get scrappy. Compost kitchen scraps instead of running the garbage disposal.
  5. A lawn time coming. Water outdoor plants in the early morning hours when air temperature is cooler, adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting because longer grass better shades root systems and holds in soil moisture, and mulch around plants to reduce evaporation. Save even more water by choosing low-water plants for your yard.
  6. Dish up water savings. Unless you’re a superstar washer of dishes, dishwashers use less water than hand washing. Get an Energy Star model, and save water, energy, and time – most new dishwashers don’t require you to pre-rinse your dishes.
  7. A clothes call. Save water by washing full loads of laundry. If you have an older washer, consider replacing your old top-loading machine with a water-saving front-loader and save thousands of gallons of water each year. Front-loaders are gentler on clothes, reduce drying time, and require less detergent.

Comments

  1. I have a question here about front loading washers. Is it only the newer models that in fact save water, or could I get a used front loaded washer–is it specific to a brand name? Thanks

  2. This comment reply is from my guest columnist and environmental washing machine expert, Damaris aka “Greenie”:

    Front-loading washing machines do save water over their conventional top-loading counterparts. However, it does depend on brand/model and age does matter. Most older front-loading machines will still do better than newer top-loading machines, but it is not a guarantee.

    When you decide to go forward with your purchase, you will want to research the options that are best as they stand at that time. Energy star rating is something to consider, but keep in mind that water consumption was not factored in until the beginning of 2007. As a side benefit, the energy usage is improved as water consumption is reduced. You will also save on detergent, since a front-loader requires less.

    If you have a specific model in mind, the relevant information is usually available at the manufacturer’s website. You can also look up back issues of Consumer Reports and other such guides. Here is a link to further information to help you make your choice: http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/Appliances/Washing_Machines

  3. You guys have done a great job by providing all this information on this website. It’s great. Keep up the great work !

  4. Another great way to save water is to collect rainwater in a rain barrel or water butt. You can hook it up to a drainpipe to catch the runoff from the roof (has a filter for leaves etc.) Then use this water for plants and car washing, or to flush toilets inside the house.

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