Water Conservation in the Home

It’s a bad habit many of us have: allowing the water to run while we’re brushing our teeth. It’s the first way we can eliminate needless waste of water. But unfortunately, there are many other ways water may be wasted in our homes each day. From bathing to watering the lawn, simple adjustments can be made to conserve water and energy and lower your energy bills.

Being more conscious of your water usage goes a long way toward conservation. Start some new, better habits to conserve water and chances are you’ll see the savings reflected in your month bill. Here are some ideas to help get you started:

Make it quick: The water from taking showers often makes up half of the hot water consumed in a home. Take quick showers instead of baths. Install water flow restrictors or low-flow shower heads and you can reduce the amount of water by 60 percent without hardly even noticing it. When you wash, turn the water off while you set away to lather up taking a shower. Use a bucket to collect the water that runs while you’re waiting on it to heat up before stepping in the shower. Use this water for plants, landscaping or problem areas on your lawn.

Cover it up: Insulate your cold and hot water pipes as they enter the water heater tank. Insulation will eliminate “standby losses,” which is water that loses energy (and heat) as it sits in the tank unused.

Turn it down: Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater. For the common household, 120 degrees should suffice. When going out of town, turn off your water heater completely.

Fill it up: Wait until there’s a full load before running the dishwasher or doing laundry. Or fill a small bowl with soap and water when washing by hand instead of the entire sink.

Compost it: Using a garbage disposal that requires running water to work properly can be a big waste. Compost your food scraps to avoid using the extra water it takes to dispose of the same amount of trash.

Cool it off: Use cold water or tap-temperature water on your washer and you can reduce the cost of one load from 50 cents or higher to approximately four cents.

Let it mellow: Older toilets may use four or more gallons when flushed. Newer models use 1.6 or less. Place a gallon plastic bottle with water and in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used in each flush. Or consider installing a high-efficiency toilet to conserve even more.

Use it less: Water your lawn only when it needs it and only during early morning hours when the sun is less likely to cause the water to evaporate too quickly.

Turn it off: If you have a sprinkler system without a rain sensor, remember to turn off your sprinklers when you’ve had enough rain to keep your lawn green.

Brush it up: Instead of using the hose to clean off paved areas like your walkway or driveway, use a broom. You still own one of those, right?

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