Author: Karlyn McKell
Many of us look at large water bodies such as oceans and lakes and assume there is abundant water on our planet. However, only a small percentage of Earth’s water is freshwater, so it is a limited resource and making it drinkable uses large amounts of energy.
According to the EPA, an average family uses 300 gallons of water per day, 70% of which is just indoors. Things like washing dishes after cooking at home and showering more often are just a few practices that we have become accustomed to which, unfortunately, waste a lot of water.
Now that we’re spending more time at home, our water usage has gone up. So let’s look at 20 tips that guide you on how to conserve water at home.
Conserving Water in Kitchen
The kitchen is the epicenter of water usage, second only to the bathroom. Be it boiling water for pasta or running the dishwasher more efficiently, we’ve found various ways to reduce your kitchen water usage.
Start Composting Your Kitchen Scraps
Instead of throwing eggshells and leftover vegetables in the garbage disposal, save water in your kitchen and your lawn by composting! Create a compost bin for food waste and use it to give your lawn a healthy soil feeder. Your plants will thank you for this crumbly topsoil which means less water for your backyard.
Steam Your Vegetables
Boiling water causes your vegetables to lose nutrients, which makes your boiled vegetables less healthy than they would be if you steamed them. Steaming your vegetables is the way to go because it saves water and keeps those nutrients intact!
Reuse Pasta Water
Love pasta? Try reusing your cooking water for the next time you make pasta or water your plants. This simple practice can save you 105 gallons of water each week and pasta water is especially safe to reuse because it adds complexity and richness to your noodles.
Soak Your Pots and Pans
Unfortunately, not everything can be put in the dishwasher. Instead of rinsing your big pots and pans, soak them to loosen food buildup and surface stains. Rinsing your dishware can waste up to 147 gallons of water per week, so opt for soaking them instead.
Only Run a Full Dishwasher Load
One quick and easy way to save water is to only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Although it may be tempting to run it whenever you see fit, running full dishwasher loads helps you save up to 110 gallons of water per week and 7,000 gallons annually.
Saving Water in Bathroom
Although the bathroom and the kitchen are close competitors, the bathroom is the bigger culprit for the highest water usage at home. Right from taking a shower or using the sink, there are numerous ways to reduce water usage in the bathroom.
Take Quick Showers Instead of Baths
Taking a relaxing bath is great every once in a while, but a full bath can use up to 70 gallons of water. Opting for shorter showers can save you almost 45 gallons of wasted water, so trade those half-hour baths for 10-minute showers.
Turn the Faucet Off While Brushing
We brush our teeth twice a day, so leaving the faucet on while brushing wastes almost 10 gallons of water a day. Remember to turn off the faucet as you brush and encourage family members to do the same. Another tactic to save even more water is to use a cup instead of your hands to rinse out your mouth.
Only Flush When Necessary
The average American uses the most water when they flush the toilet each day. While experts recommend only flushing after shitting, it’s understandable if you flush every time you use the bathroom. However, avoid discarding any solid items down the toilet except toilet paper.
Install a High-Efficiency Toilet
Older toilet models can use up to 7 gallons of water every flush and if you’re flushing 10 times a day, that’s a whopping 70 gallons of water per day. By installing a high-efficiency toilet can save you 1.28 gallons of water per flush.
Check For Leaky Pipes
Leaky appliances and pipe leaks can waste up to 105 gallons of water, so make sure you have a plumber or handyman take a look at your appliances and pipes to make sure they are functioning properly.
Water Conservation at Laundry Room
Washing and drying your clothes has a huge impact on your water and electricity bills, so we’ve compiled a list of tips to reduce water usage and save you money.
Use Cold Water During Washes
Nearly 90% of energy usage during laundry happens during heating the water for a warm wash cycle. Using cold water to wash your clothes will save you so much energy and turning down your hot water tank to 120 degrees or lower to conserve even more energy. Households can save up to $40 per year.
Only Run Full Loads
Just like running the dishwasher, you should only run full loads of laundry to save 3,400 gallons of water annually. Not only that, but it saves you time and energy in the laundry room!
Reuse Your Towels
Towels and blue jeans are two of the many items that don’t need to be washed as frequently. If you hang wet towels to dry between washes, you can reuse them.
Upgrade Your Appliances
Appliances with Energy Star and WaterSense ratings can save your household up to $380 annually in addition to rebates that are occasionally available. For example, energy-efficient washers can save 7,000 gallons of water per year, whereas high-efficiency water heaters use half as much energy as traditional ones.
Air-dry Your Clothes
Saving energy also conserves water, so hanging your clothes to dry instead of using your dryer is a great way to prevent shrinkage and limit your dryer use.
Conserve Water Outdoors
Maintaining the exterior areas of your home is just as important as maintaining the inside. Whether it’s cleaning your driveway, watering your plants or maintaining your lawn, there are numerous ways to conserve water outside your home.
Upgrade Your Irrigation System
Almost 50% of outdoor home water is lost due to wind, evaporation or runoff, all of which are caused by inefficient irrigation. By checking your irrigation system monthly, you can save up to 146 gallons of water per week. It also helps to run sprinklers less frequently during cold months and to run them in the morning to prevent water loss from evaporation.
Plant the Right Vegetation
Making smart plant purchases like drought-resistant and native plants will help you save water because they require less of it. Drought-resistant plants like ale and geranium can survive on limited rainfall and watering, and native plants are already accustomed to your climate and the natural rainfall in your area. This also means less work on your part to maintain them than, say, more exotic plant species.
Make the Most of Your Mulch
Mulch is an excellent method of saving water because it prevents evaporation in addition to weed growth all while helping your plants retain their moisture. Popular mulches can reduce evaporation by up to 70% and include but aren’t limited to compost, wood chips, and straw.
Sweep Your Driveway
Instead of hosing down your driveway or the sidewalk, sweeping can save you up to 150 gallons of water every time you clean. This is so effective that cities like Los Angeles actually require broom cleaning during droughts by law.
Collect That Rainwater
By collecting nature’s rainwater, you can use it as a natural irrigation method to water your yard or the plants in your garden. Some local governments even offer a tax incentive for collecting rainwater, but other states have laws against collecting rainwater so make sure to do your part on reading up on the law. It’s also important not to consume rainwater nor let your pets consume it, so keep it away from small children and pets to prevent health problems.
Conserving water has numerous benefits for the environment and your wallet. Energy efficient upgrades often pay for themselves in less than a year. Using these tactics can help you save roughly $140 on your water bill annually while reducing water consumption to less than 1,000 gallons monthly.