An average family uses over 300 gallons a day, but that can spike to around 1,000 gallons a day, especially during the summer. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort to save money on your water bill. Here are some easy tips to cut down your water usage.
Image credit: Lassi Valimaa
Saving Water in the Bathroom
- Check for leaks in the toilet by dropping a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If you see the color show up in the bowl, you have a leak. This can be easily fixed with a rubber flapper.
- Installing water-efficient toilets, faucets and shower heads will also help in reducing your water consumption.
- Save water by taking a shower in under 5 minutes. This can save up to 1,000 gallons of water a month!
- Another way to save water in the shower is to turn off the water while soaping and/or shaving.
- You can even save water while taking a bath! Before turning on the water, plug the drain and then adjust the water temperature.
- A very simple way to save about 4 gallons a minute is to turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
Saving Water in the Kitchen
- Using the dishwasher can save up to 27 gallons of water compared to hand washing.
- Newer dishwashers no longer require dishes to be pre-rinsed, which saves you not only water, but time.
- If you don’t have a dishwasher, fill both sink basins with water: one with wash water and one with rinse water. This will cut down on the amount of running water.
- Instead of getting a new glass every time you want something to drink, choose one cup that you use all day. This will save on washing multiple glasses a day.
- Instead of thawing food in the sink with running water, place the food in the refrigerator. Not only will this save on water, but it is the safer way to defrost food.
- You can install heaters directly to your sink pipes. These will heat up your water quicker, so you don’t have to run water while waiting for it to heat up.
Saving Water in the Laundry Room
- Newer washing machine models have a feature where you match the water level with the size of your load.
- Wash your dark clothes in cold water. For extra water savings, there are detergents that allow you to wash any color of clothes in cold water. This not only saves water, but energy as well.
- If you are in the market for a new washing machine, consult the Consortium Energy Efficiency website to compare water usage among various models.
- A front-loading washing machine can help reduce the amount of water used as it doesn’t require the entire basin to be filled. It also has no agitator, so there is more room for more clothes, which means fewer loads.
Saving Water Outside
- Water your lawn in the morning as the air is cooler and the water doesn’t evaporate as fast.
- When watering your lawn, use pulsating sprinklers as they shoot water out farther, covering more ground.
- Don’t water your lawn more than twice a week.
- Having an auto-timer on your hose will help make sure you aren’t wasting water and watering your grass more than you should.
- If you have a pool or a hot tub, cover it when it’s not in use as this will keep the water from evaporating, requiring you to refill it.
- Going to a car wash, instead of hand washing, can save you up to 100 gallons of water.
- Instead of using the hose, use a large barrel to catch rainwater and use this to water your lawn and plants.
- Multi-task! If the kids want to play in the sprinklers, set it up on your lawn where it needs watering the most.
- Avoid water toys, like slip and slides, that require constant water flow.
Other Ways to Save Water
- Fix any leaks that you can the moment you find the leak. If there are any leaks that you can’t fix, turn off the water valve and contact your plumber as soon as possible to save as much water as you can.
- Only run dishwashers and washing machines when they are full.
- Buy hot water cylinder wraps to go around your hot water heater. This will keep the water hot when the heater isn’t on and reduces the amount of time it takes for the water to heat up.
- When going on vacation, set your hot water heater to vacation setting.
- Keep the temperature on your hot water heater at 120°F.
Saving water doesn’t have to difficult or alter your lifestyle drastically. If you implement even just a few of the tips mentioned here, you can save not only thousands of gallons each month, but you will also save money.
About the Author
Thomas Sullivan is an experienced plumber of 18 years at Sullivan Plumbing, a family-owned business in Virginia.