With summer coming up, everyone interested in Living Green will be looking for effective ways to use and conserve water. Clean, usable water is one of our planet’s most precious resources, so we certainly don’t want to waste it! Here are some ways you can conserve water around your home:
1. Pipes: make sure your plumbing is fully operational with no leaks. Replace worn parts and make sure your pipes are insulated.
2. Toilets: Flushing the toilet uses an average of 3.5 gallons of water per flush, according the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov. Low-flow toilets only use about 1.5 gallons. You can also put a weight, such as a plastic milk jug filled with pebbles, in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water you use when you flush. wikihow.com and other sites can show you how to make and install your own weights. Don’t flush unless you have to. Tissues and other waste can go in the wastebasket.
3. Showers: Nancy Hajeski and the authors of The Earth-Friendly Home suggest shower heads that have a flow rate lower than 2.5 gallons per minute and bathroom faucets that allow only 0.5 to 1.5 gallons per minute. If you want to further reduce the amount of water, try turning the water off before you lather up and turning it back on when you’re ready to rinse!
4. Bathing: Close the drain and only fill the tub 1/3 full. Don’t let water run down the drain when it’s heating up. The initial cold water won’t harm the temperature of your bath once you adjust the taps.
5. Personal Grooming: Don’t let the water run while you shave or brush your teeth. Ladies, you may wish to invest in a wet-dry razor to eliminate having to shave in the shower.
6. Washing Dishes: Do use your dishwasher, but choose a short wash cycle and forgo drying. Make sure the dishwasher is full before you wash. If you don’t have a dishwasher, scrape your plates well and wash them in a plastic dish tub or put a stopper in your kitchen sink rather than leaving the water running. Avoid using a garbage disposal when possible, as disposals use extra water.
7. Washing Clothes: Again, make sure you have a full load and the water level is properly adjusted for that load. Use cold water as much as possible to save energy and hang your clothes rather than using a dryer.
8. Washing the Car: Look online for car washes that use recycled water. If you wash your car at home, park it on the grass instead of in the driveway
9. Lawn and Garden: You can collect grey water (water used when you bathe or wash dishes or clothing) and use it to water your plants. Water your lawn or garden in the early morning to reduce evaporation. Do not overwater! According to the American Water and Energy Saver’s website (www.americanwater.com), the average lawn only needs watering every 5-7 days in the summer. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure it’s an efficient one. Talk to a lawn or garden expert. Avoid water features like fountains unless you can get one that recycles water.
10. Drinking: Store drinking water in the fridge so you won’t have to turn on your taps when you want a drink.
Bonus Tip: Check online for more ways to conserve water! There are lots of sites out there that can give you good advice. Then tell all your friends and get set to enjoy a Green summer!