I’m writing these easy water saving tips because I’ve been noticing many people taking about the drought, mandatory restrictions and water bill hikes. This is something I’ve been involved in for a while now and love to share with people. Hopefully I’ll mention something you had not though of and it inspires some action. Also, you might notice there are only 9 out of the promised 10 easy water saving tips. Well, I am counting on your input in the comments to liven this up. If I get lots of great ideas, I’ll make a more comprehensive post later.
Easy Water Saving Tips:
1. Reduce the flow of faucets
Most faucets use about 2 gallons per minute of use. How about we lower their consumption to .5 gallons per minute? Just add some faucet aerators and you can do just that!
Bonus: If you are feeling like getting the tools out, then a motion activated faucet might be just the thing. After installing one of these, you will only use the water you need and won’t have to play the “on, off mambo”. Make sure you also get a bushing reducer for this faucet as it is of a European size.
2. Turn off the shower when not in use
Ever heard of a military shower? If not, it’s not as hard as it might sound… All you do is turn the shower on, get wet, turn off, lather/shampoo, rinse, turn water off. Simple right? Not the most pleasant thing to get used to but it saves lots of water. Now, wasn’t that
3. Install a greywater system
Why not get the most out of the water passing through your home? Greywater systems are a great way to divert perfectly good water to your landscape, ideally some fruit trees :)
I’ve been installing these for a while now and it gives me great pleasure every time I walk away from a home knowing their laundry or bath/shower water won’t see a sewer system again.
4. Less water through the toilet
Did you know your home’s toilet can use as much a 7 gallons of water per flush? Here we have several options, some radical, some not. I’ll go from most “normal”…
Easiest thing to do is install a dual flush toilet adaptor. These have a flush for #1 and one for #2. Cooler still is that many have, if you have some time and patience, a way to set the water tank level lower.
Easier still is to just remember the old quote. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Remember who it was that said that first?
Ever heard of a composting toilet? They might bring up thoughts of those awful port-a-potties. However, a well built and managed composting toilet is a joy to use. The only smells you get are of saw dust. I’ve used them many times in the past and hope to have the space/time to have one of my own. Not for everyone, I know, but then there is 0 water usage… Have a look at Greywater Action’s page on the subject and tell me what you think then.
5. Check for leaks
There are many places where these might occur, some easier to find than others.
Put a finger up to any faucet or spigot and if it’s wet after a while of not using then it’s time to replace some O-rings or other hardware.
You can usually hear the toilet leaking if you put your year near it. For smaller leaks, add some food coloring, or beet juice to the tank. If you see the color show up in the bowl without flushing, then you have a leak. Luckily you can kill two birds with one stone when you add the dual flush toilet adaptor mentioned above :)
6. Sweep don’t hose hard scape
Not to get preachy here, but… I cringe every time I see somebody do this. As much fun as it is to do this, and I know, it is not very friendly to all of the plants that are drooling over that water right now. Even better, sweeping can be a great cardio work out if you put your back to it. Can I get an A-men.
7. Insulate hot water pipes
Another action to take, specially if your hot water piping is easy to get to, is insulating as much of your hot water pipes as possible. This will keep the water inside them warmer for longer. This in turn makes it come out hot faster the next time you need it.
8. Remove the lawn
Grass lawns only belong where there are grass lands. If you don’t live in one of these areas then you will be working against nature. I’m not suggesting you let your yard become barren and unsightly. There are many appealing options, all of which take little to no water. Wood mulch is my favourite. Not only does it not need water, it holds it when there is any available. Keep it around your trees and shrubs and you will need less water on them as well. Which leads me to….
9. Plant Native Species
If your landscape gulps water like it’s going out of style, then it probably is. Many of the problems with large water bills are caused by landscapes that are not climate/Zone appropriate. Hey, I love Hydrangeas as much as the next person, but if it doesn’t fit in your yard, then why try to force it.
There are many amazing native plants. Have a look at the California Foraging book to whet your whistle. This book started my awareness of how much better it can be to work with the ecological system you live in, instead of against it. For instance, you might have heard of the issues with growing almonds. Specifically the vast amount of water they consume. What if I told you there is a native tree that grows to about 30′ and produces blue berry like fruit that tastes like almonds? A dream come true? I thinks so.
I hope you are using, or plan to use, these easy water saving tips. What else are you doing to save some water? And in the near future $$$. I just recently heard of recirculating hot water pumps. The cool ones have a switch so they don’t run all day long.
So then, lets make the good of this situation an have the best lemonade imaginable!