With summers getting hotter and droughts hitting the western U.S. every year, water conservation is a top priority for many American households. Whether you are worried about the environment, or just want to save a little money on your summer utility bill, there are many strategies that you can adopt throughout your home to save water. Here we’ll share some of our favorites!
In the Garden
- Install drip irrigation. Not only can a buried vulcanized rubber hose save water, but it can also save you time and money. When you turn on the spigot, water travels through a buried hose and seeps into the soil through the porous rubber. Your plants get a drink instead of a bath, and you can forget about rolling up the garden hose each day.
- Add mulch to your must-haves. Mulch traps moisture close to your plants so that they have time to absorb it. In addition to conserving water, mulch can reduce the growth of weeds.
- Grow native plants. Plants native to your region are easier to maintain. In hot and dry areas, the native plants are adapted to live on less water.
In the Bathroom
- Install low-flow toilets. Flushing the toilet is a huge drain on the water supply. Some older toilets use as much as five gallons per flush, which is well above the current standard of 1.6 gallons per flush. If you upgrade your plumbing, you could save buckets of cash and water.
- Take efficient showers. That luxurious shower can be a major hit to the environment and your bank account. To save, cut your shower time. Even shaving a minute or two off makes a difference.Along with shortening showers, install a low-flow showerhead. They use about two gallons per minute, which is half the amount expended with a regular showerhead.
- Turn off the tap. You can save several gallons per day by turning off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. This habit costs nothing to implement, but it makes a difference.
In the Kitchen
- Do full loads of dishes. Dishwashing is the number one way that we consume water in the kitchen. If you have a dishwasher, run it only when it is full. New dishwasher models can do a load of dishes on less than five gallons of water. In fact, using a dishwasher is more hydrologically efficient than hand-washing.
- Use the disposal less. The garbage disposal is convenient, but you need to turn on the tap every time you use it. Compost your vegetable scraps to cut down on water use.
In the Laundry room
- Wash full loads of laundry. The washing machine is one of the thirstiest appliances in your home. Aim to wash full loads of laundry. If you must wash smaller loads, be sure to adjust the load size on the machine.
- Re-use and re-wear items. You can safely reuse your large bath towels up to three times as long as you hang them properly between uses. If you have a family, this can subtract several loads of laundry from your weekly chores.While re-wearing delicates and sweaty workout clothing is not recommended, jeans, cardigans, and lightly worn items can be used a few times before they need to be washed.
Some of these water conservation solutions require upgrades that may seem costly at first, but these items will pay for themselves in the long run. Other solutions just require your mindfulness as you carry out everyday routines. By making a few small lifestyle changes, you can proudly do your part to conserve our natural resources and save some money in the process! We call that a win!