Saving Water and Protecting Our Future

Jun 22, 2009

The average household can easily and effortlessly cut the amount of water consumed with little or no changes in their daily habits. What it boils down to is following some simple steps and implementing new water-saving fixtures in your home to accomplish this.

Saving water has many advantages. It saves the homeowner money by cutting down on their water usage bill. It also relieves some of the strain on the cost of processing, pumping and heating water. In addition, it keeps much needed water in rivers, basins and streams that will help protect and sustain our environments.

FIRST ON THE TO-DO LIST IS TO STOP THE LEAKS! Check all water-using appliances and devices for leaks. Toilets that run constantly, constant drips from a sink, water treatment units and even sprinkler systems can all have potential leaks.

To test your toilet, put a few drops of food coloring or leak identification tablets in your toilet tank. If the coloring appears in 30 minutes or less without flushing you have a leak that may waste over 50,000 gallons per year. Often repairs include tightening loose connections, reconnecting joints after wrapping Teflon-Tape around the threads, or replacing a worn out float cup, rubber tank ball or flapper.

To reduce the amount of water your toilet uses without actually replacing it, fill a 2 liter plastic bottle with water. Place in your toilet tank. This is an inexpensive toilet dam to block part of the toilet tank so it doesn’t fill with so much water. Avoid using anything that may damage the tank. You can also install an ultra low-flush toilet which can save five gallons per flush.

Monitor how much water your house is using by watching your water meter. Read you water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same there is a leak.

SECOND: USE LESS WATER. Turn off all faucets completely; turn off water while washing hands, brushing teeth or shaving. Replace old faucets and showerheads with newer, water efficient fixtures. When washing dishes by hand, turn off the water for rinsing. Make a separate basin for rinsing. Purchase water and energy efficient water appliances such as your washing machine and dishwasher. Seek out and purchase Energy Star approved machines.

THIRD: CHECK OUT YOUR HOT-WATER HEATER. See how much energy is being used by your hot water heater. Look at possibly replacing your heater with an energy efficient model. Consider installing a hot water heater blanket to make your unit more efficient. Insulate your pipes with foam pipe insulation.

FOURTH: REUSE WASTE WATER. Don’t let water go down the drain if it can still be used for something other than consumption. For example: recycle the water in your dehumidifier or from washing fruits and vegetables for watering your plants or household chores.

FIFTH: SAVE WATER OUTDOORS. Use only landscaping plants and trees that thrive in your region. They will require less water and care than those that don’t, saving you time and money.

Don’t overwater your lawn and water only your lawn. Make sure your sprinkler is adjusted to water only the lawn and not pavement. Use drip hoses instead of sprinklers where possible. Sprinklers have a higher rate of evaporation than drip hoses and only water the roots versus leaves and roots. Also, install irrigation timers for more effective control of how much water is being used.

You can also easily capture rainwater through your downspouts in a rain-barrel or storage container to use for irrigation, washing and household chores.

The Energy Star and U.S. Department of Energy websites have great resources guides for you to reference.

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