As much as most of us want to decrease water consumption around the home, we seldom do much about it. So the next time you’re about to fork out money for your water bill, pause for a few minutes. Consider that the average house uses 130,000 gallons of water annually, and without any effort or any noticeable lifestyle differences, you and your family could decrease water use by as much as 35% (44,000 gallons). With that knowledge, multiply the current water bill you’re paying by 65% and see if saving that much on each bill is worth the time and effort to switch to these recommended water-saving habits.
- Check all your faucets and accessible pipes for leaks. A drip from a single worn washer can waste 20 gallons of water a day.
- Check all toilets for leaks by putting a small amount food coloring in the tank. Then check back in 30 minutes to see if the color appears in the bowl. By replacing the toilet flapper and other important parts, you’ll save many wasted gallons.
- Install aerators in faucets that don’t already have these inexpensive water-conserving devices. Kitchen faucets at 2.2 gpm (gallons per minute) and bathroom faucets at 1.5 gpm or lower are recommended. You’ll use a lot less water because the flow will seem stronger.
- Low-flush toilets use 1-2 gallons per flush instead of 3-5 gallons. If your toilets aren’t low-flush, you can still lower water use by adjusting to 3 gallons in the tank, which often worksthe same.
- Put these habits into practice when washing yourself, your clothes, your food or dishes and cars: take shorter showers; turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving; utilize the sink stopper when cleaning vegetables or hand washing dishes and glasses; do only full loads of clothes or dishes; use a bucket of soapy water to wash the cars and limit hose use to rinsing away the suds and dirt.
- Cut down on outside water use by planting drought-resistant grasses, shrubs and plants. Mulch around plants and trees to reduce water evaporation, and avoid watering lawns on windy days.
- When watering lawns, limit to an inch per week, apply in the early morning, and leave the grass taller (up to 3 inches) to better retain moisture. Put an old tuna can on the lawn when watering and when it’s full, you’ve reached an inch. Use a broom or blower to clear sidewalks and driveways rather than hosing them to remove leaves or grass clippings.