Home Water Conservation

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Are you aware of how much water cycles through your home on an annual basis? Even more importantly, how much is wasted? Believe it or not, it is easy to underestimate the amount of water we use versus waste in a year's time. Drips add up to thousands of gallons of unnecessarily wasted water every year, even if the drip does not seem like much waste at the time. When things such as this go unchecked, the numbers add up fast, but there is hope of rectifying problems and reducing waste. All it takes are a few small steps and improvements made in your home to conserve water and reduce your water bill at the same time.

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Photo: Mother Earth Living

It goes without saying that a leak is the biggest enemy of water conservation. By repairing leaks, you can save money and water in the long run, but first you must determine whether or not leaks are present in your home, as some are visible whereas others may not be. The easiest way to do this is to turn off all water flow and check your meter reading. For the next hour, do not use or run any water. You can then return to the meter and check it again. If the gauge indicates that water has been used, then a leak is present. To address this leak, start by tightening valves/packing nuts and replacing worn washers, then perform this same test again. If the gauge reading continues to change, there could be a leak out of sight that requires the assistance of a plumber to locate and possibly repair.

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Photo: Mom Goes Green

Another way water is wasted is when it is needlessly sent down the drain. Have you ever thought about the water used as you wait for hot water to arrive in your sink, tub, or shower? That water ends up being waste. There are ways to reduce it, although taking an icy shower is probably not what most folks have in mind. Instead, wrap insulation around hot water pipes to get water hot faster and keep it that way for a longer amount of time. On hot days when you want water from the tap to be cool, rather than run it until it cools off, place a pitcher in the fridge that can provide cold water as needed.

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Photo: Mom It Forward

Toilets that run frequently or even constantly can also be a large source of waste. In the case of toilets that are more than 20 years old, waste is even larger. This is because toilets from the past used much more water to flush than modern toilets do. While investing in a new toilet may not be at the top of your priority list, upgrading to a model that offers a reduction in water usage will ultimately save money. If that is not realistic, it is possible to place a bottle of water in the tank to cause displacement, fooling the tank into thinking it is full sooner and thus using less water with every flush.

Means of water conservation don't stop there. A few more options include:

  • Reduce the amount of time spent in the shower. 2-5 gallons can be saved per minute you shave off of your shower time.
  • Don't constantly run water while you shave, brush your teeth, or wash your face. Sinks that have low flow aerators in place use about 1-3 gallons per minute, and sinks without them use even more.
  • Only wash full loads of laundry and embrace short cycles. Hot versus cold water selection does not affect water consumption but permanent press does as it uses several gallons more per cycle.
  • Using the dishwasher instead of hand washing saves water as well. Be sure to fill your dishwasher before you run it rather than running multiple loads.
  • When the time comes to replace appliances, go with Energy Star versions. Not only will they save you water, but they will also save costly energy.

Making an effort to conserve water will have vast benefits. Your home, the environment, and the water supply all stand to gain from the small changes we make. Although you may have to spend money to make money, these investments will pay off in the end, conserving water in your home and money in your bank account.

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