As Californians, we all know too-well most how dangerous and frightening water scarcity can be. The past few years have taught us that water can come and go easily. In fact, water scarcity is quickly becoming a serious problem all over the country. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 40 states should expect significant water shortages over the next ten years.
Not only is water conservation at home good for the state of California, it’s good for your utility bill. Here are 10 surprisingly easy ways you can lower your household’s water usage. You can feel good knowing you’re helping your state conserve water and save money.
1. Invest in WaterSense products.
The EPA awards water-using products with their WaterSense label when they meet several important water-conserving standards. WaterSense toilets, faucets and shower heads:
- Are at least as effective as their less-water efficient counterparts
- Are at least 20% more effective than average products of the same type
- Meet National EPA water conservation standards
- Will provide measurable water savings for the homeowner
- Achieve their greater water efficiency via several technology options
The EPA can award the WaterSense label to virtually all water-using fixtures and appliances. Switching to WaterSense fixtures is one of the best and easiest ways to conserve water in your home.
2. Turn off the tap when you aren’t actively using it.
Brushing your teeth? Washing your hands? Turn off your tap water whenever you’re not actively using it. You can always turn it back on for a second if you need it again. This may sound like a tiny change (and it is!), but you’d be surprised how much water it saves.
3. Identify and fix leaks right away.
Hidden or neglected leaks waste a huge amount of water every year, no matter how tiny they seem. Repair dripping faucets, loose joints, or hairline pipe fractures as soon as you find them. Not only will repairing leaks help you conserve water, but you’ll protect your plumbing, too.
4. Take shorter showers.
The average (non-WaterSense) shower head can use up to five gallons of water per minute! That means if you cut your shower time by only two minutes, you could save up to ten gallons per day. Given that the average person in the U.S. uses 80-100 gallons/day, that readily shaves 10% off of your usage. Showering with purpose will help you save a lot of time, water, and money. Installing a water conserving shower head can also help here.
5. Don’t run your dishwasher or washing machine until they’re full.
Washing just your favorite shirt or running the dishwasher after every meal is tempting, but it’s also wasteful. You should never run your dishwasher or washing machine until you can wash a full load.
Both of these appliances use a lot of water, so using them sparingly and intentionally will help you save water. That said, using machines is still more efficient than washing by hand.
6. Consider installing a rain barrel.
Rainwater harvesting is great for households that have a lot of plants to care for. Use the water you collect to water indoor and outdoor plants along with your garden and lawn. Rain barrels are cheap, easy to maintain, and help you save a surprising amount of water. The more you can re-use natural water, the less you’ll have to rely on your tap.
7. Use less electricity.
This one might seem surprising, but power plants are cooled with hydro-powered technology. Using less electricity means using less water by association. Try to cut out any extraneous electrical use. Switch off fans when you leave a room. Turn off the lights before going out. Use natural daylight to light your home during the day. The more you can reduce, the more you’ll save.
8. Keep drinking water in the fridge.
Rather than run your faucet until the water is cool, save yourself that water going down the drain and keep cool drinking water in your fridge. It will be more satisfying and less costly.
9. Cover your pool when you’re not using it.
Pool covers reduce evaporation and maintain temperature. The Department of Energy reports that pool covers can reduce the need to replace water by more than 50%. Covering your pool will also reduce re-heating costs and the pool’s chemical consumption. It’s easy, it’s simple, and it saves a lot of water and money.
10. Don’t wash your car yourself.
Did you know that washing your car in your driveway could use more than 100 gallons of water? Most commercial car washes, meanwhile, use recirculating systems that help them conserve the water they use much more effectively. Even commercial car washes tend to use a lot of water, however. We recommend washing your car sparingly, and taking it to a commercial washer when you do.
Help Keep California Water Reservoirs Full
Did you know that you can check our California reservoirs’ water levels online? Regardless of how much or how little water we have from day to day, implementing a few new water conservation methods is always a good thing. All it requires is a little due diligence.
Have more questions about how to make your home water efficient? Need help installing a new fixture or finding the right WaterSense shower head? No matter what your home water issue is, Mike Diamond can help. Give us a call with any plumbing questions or concerns today.