Hot summers and dry winters mean that we have to pay more attention to water use. If you’re handy around the home, there are plenty of quick and simple ways that you can reduce your water usage.
In the bathroom: Check your shower flow rate: if your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, change the showerhead for a water-efficient model. Aerating showerheads and ones with smaller holes give a tingling shower with far less water. Check your toilet for leaks: one easy way is to put food coloring in the water tank. Check back half an hour later and see if the water in the pan has changed color. If it has, you have a leak. Fixing worn or damaged parts can save you over 200 gallons a month!
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If you’re due to replace your toilet, switch to a dual-flush model that allows you to use an efficient, low-volume flush where possible. This can save you up to five gallons a flush, depending on the age of your existing toilet! If you’re not planning to replace your toilet any time soon, consider placing an empty plastic bottle, with an inch or two of sand in the base to weigh it down, in the tank. Ensure the tank still has space for 3 gallons of water though, or your toilet won’t flush properly. In the kitchen and utility room Fit aerating heads on faucets to save water and time while rinsing, and don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Switch to more efficient dishwashers and clothes washers when you replace your current model. Modern machines can cut their water usage by up to a quarter. Insulate hot water pipes so you don’t need to wait as long for water to run hot: especially if your taps and appliances are far away from your water heater.
Compost fruit and vegetable scraps, rather than using the waste disposal unit. Not only will you save water but your garden will thank you! In the garden, remember the soil surface doesn’t need to be wet: check the “root zone” before watering by using a trowel to check the condition of the soil, two to three inches below the surface. If it’s moist, you don’t need to water it.
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Another way to save water outside your house is to water your property (or apartment balcony or terrace plants) in the late evenings or early mornings and consider switching to a sprinkler head that produces large drops rather than a fine mist, to minimize loss from evaporation. Don’t cut your lawn too short. Going one blade setting higher will leave the roots of your grass in more shade and will cut down on drying. A few simple changes around your home can save you gallons of water a day!