Water is a precious resource that many of us take for granted. As the weather heats up, it’s even more important to be conscious about water usage and potential waste.
There are several simple steps you can take at home to save both water and money.
Set timers when watering plants
Your plants are parched and need some hydration, so you leave the hose on in the garden bed and return to your indoor chores (or Netflix drama) only to forget about your now waterlogged flora. Next time your rhododendrons and Japanese maple need a drink, set a timer to remind yourself to turn off the water or migrate your hose to the azaleas. Have an automatic watering system set up? Check on your sprinklers occasionally to make sure they’re running properly and not dispensing too much water. The best time to water plants is while it’s still cool in the early morning—the water will be able to reach the roots with little evaporation.
Collect used water when washing produce
Watering fresh produce is important, especially when it comes to rinsing off dirt, bugs, and grocery store germs. Who wants to find a little slug in their caesar salad? Instead of allowing all that water to just run down your drain, collect the used water by placing a plastic tub or metal bucket in your sink. This water is perfect for watering indoor plants, or take it outdoors to give your garden a quick drink.
Use just enough water for cooking
Is it really necessary to fill up an entire pot of water to cook just one serving of pasta? The answer is no, of course. Be mindful of how much water you really need when steaming vegetables, boiling potatoes, or whipping up a cup of cozy herbal tea. It may not seem like you’re saving a lot of water if you leave out a 1/2 cup here and there, but it surely adds up over time.
Save unfinished drinking water
You have the best intentions to gulp down eight plus cups of water daily, but decide to reach for that flavored sparkling beverage or ice cold beer instead. Rather than dump your half full glass of H2O down the drain, soak that cheesy casserole dish for easier cleanup later on. Or, give Fido or your plants a drink again. We do like options.
Wash full loads of dishes and laundry
Another easy way to save water is to only run your dishwasher or laundry machine when you have a full load. Instead of washing a couple clothing items at a time, wait until you have several items that require the same cleaning method to get the job done. A lot of clothes can be worn more than once, as long as you’re not prone to spilling on yourself. Likewise, water glasses can be reused throughout the day along with tea mugs and bowls filled with fresh berries and grapes. A little more planning may be required but the environment and your wallet will thank you.
Turn water off while brushing your teeth
There’s no need to keep the water running as you’re scrubbing those pearly whites. Simply get a splash of water on your brush before your cleaning session then rinse and spit. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes. If you leave the water running while brushing, that’s 1,460 minutes (24 hours) of wasted water in only one year. And that’s just for one person… yikes.
The breakdown: 2 minute brush x 2 brushes per day x 365 days per year = 1,460 minutes per year of potential wasted water
Take shorter showers
As enjoyable as it is to stand under a stream of hot water and zone out for a solid 15 minutes on a regular basis, that’s not exactly necessary when it comes to maintaining cleanliness. Similar to the plant watering method, you can set a shower timer, or play a couple of your favorite songs, making sure to get your scrubbing, lathering, and rinsing done by designated lines. Billie Jean is not my lather… Just remember to always think rinse. Do think rinse.
Fix dripping faucets and shower heads
It can be easy to ignore dripping faucets, pushing back the “must fix” date as other “more important” matters arise. But tightening or replacing a faucet is really quite easy and can save a significant amount of water. While you’re at it you can update all of your fixtures for a more visually appealing look. Certain faucets and shower heads can also help you reduce water usage based on their design. If you’re in the market for a new hose bib, the House Hydrant is the way to go—no leaks or drips here.
Stop running toilets
Do you hear your toileting humming away after a flush? A running toilet can waste gallons upon gallons of water if left unattended, so it’s best to get your toilet fixed ASAP. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of steps you can take to solve the problem yourself. Most running toilets can be stopped in their tracks by homeowners, however, a plumber may be necessary depending on the situation.
That wasn’t too hard now, was it? Once these water saving steps become habits you won’t look back.
Extra credit: Next time the kids (aka you) feel like running through lawn sprinklers on a hot day make sure to line up your cool down session with your grass’s hydration needs.