Whether or not you are a water conserver at home, every homeowner or apartment dweller needs reminders sometimes of some basic and simple ways to conserve water and save money. My grandmother, along with many other wise folks of her generation used to tell me, “It’s the small savings that count.” Recently, I put her words to the test and saved over $75 during a two-month period by wasting less water. Depending on your water usage and the number of people in your home, you could save even more. Here are some tips for getting your water bills down and learning how to keep your hard-earned money in your pocket:
Laundry. Reduce your laundry pile by wearing clothes more than once. Please don’t misunderstand me – I wouldn’t suggest that you wear soiled or smelly clothes more than once. Rather, if you tend to throw your shirt in the hamper instead of hanging it up at the end of the day, then break the habit. You’ll notice smaller, less frequent loads piling up awaiting your washing. This, in turn, will reduce your water usage.
You can save more by making your own laundry detergent. It’s as simple as mixing together some washing soda, borax, a bar of soap and boiling water. Add some lemon juice for a fresh scent. You’ll really feel the savings and be surprised at how well it works. Additionally, avoid warm or hot water cycles and wash clothes in cold water cycles as much as possible.
The Bathroom. Between the shower, toilet and sink, it’s no wonder that the most water used in a household is in the bathroom. There are two things you can do to limit your bathroom water usages: Change your habits and install water-saving devices on your toilets, showerheads and faucets.
Start by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this can save up to 8 gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month. Next, choose showers over baths. Baths typically use 5 times the amount of water that showers do. Limit the time you are in the shower and turn off the water while soaping up and shaving.
Installing water saving devices is easy. Low-flow faucet aerators can be installed for just a few dollars and can be purchased at any home improvement or plumbing supply store. They help decrease the amount of water flowing from your faucets. Low-flow showerheads work the same way by delivering 1.6 gallons of water per minute instead of 4-5 gallons per minute (as conventional showerheads deliver). If you don’t have a dual-flush toilet, convert yours into one with a flush adapter kit. These kits can be purchased for under $100 and will provide you with two flushing options: full flush or half flush.
If you have kids, get them on board too. Offer a reward system for times when you observe them turning off the faucet while brushing. Additionally, encourage older toddlers and kids to take showers or baths with limited water. Many young kids enjoy taking showers vs. baths – they just need to be encouraged to try it.
In The Kitchen. Here are several ways to save water in the kitchen. A low flow aerator will reduce the flow of water. Scrub dishes with the faucet turned off. After you’ve finished scrubbing, turn the faucet back on and rinse them. This one simple step will save a tremendous amount of water. Use the dishwasher for full loads only. Before placing your dishes in the dishwasher, rinse them manually. This will help avoid the need to run the pre-wash cycle.
Landscaping The Yard. With spring in full force and planting season just a few weeks away, consider how important a green lawn is for you. You can seriously decrease your water bill by limiting the amount you water your lawn. Reduce the amount of time you water your lawn and only water it in the early morning. Try some alternative methods for watering your lawn, such as harvesting rainwater. It involves collecting and storing rainwater and then using it for your lawn and garden.
You can save even more this summer by creating a low-water landscape and garden. This technique, known as xeriscaping, applies several simple gardening techniques that will significantly reduce your outdoor water usage. The techniques include: planting only native and drought-resistant plants, reducing the amount of turf in your yard by placing mulch or ground covers and using a drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler system.