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Green Column by Sharad Agarwal
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Stop Water Waste: Simple Things Every Homeowner can do to Conserve Water
 

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where water is plentiful, consider yourself lucky. There are many areas where water is huge demand because there’s a shortage of it. Here’s what you can do to conserve water at home.

Always Wash Full Loads

Conventional washers built before 2011 hold roughly 40 gallons of water. That’s a lot. And, it takes this much to do a load of laundry. They’re not very efficient though. Resource-efficient washers use as little as 15 gallons of water per load. If you have one of these, which are usually front load washers, then you can adjust the water level in the washer to amount you need for your laundry.

Some new washers will do this automatically so as not to waste water.

When it’s time to replace the washer, choose a high-efficiency one with a low water factor. This means that it will use less water. Energy Star models have a maximum of 6.0, while well-performing machines are available with lower numbers. Look for the lowest number you can afford.

Washing Dishes With Less Water

If you’re washing by hand, use rubber gloves and fill the sink with water rather than running it from the tap. You waste more water this way. Technological advances in dishwashers make it possible to use less water than if you washed by hand. So, mostly, you can save money by using a dishwasher instead of doing things the old-fashioned way.

Buying a new dishwasher that uses less water per cycle reduces household water use. Dishwashers using less water than hand washing are common when you buy a new dishwasher that’s Energy Star rated.

Only wash with full loads of dishes. Avoid running water to thaw frozen foods. Instead, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Fix any leaky faucets, because it wastes a lot of water. How much? A faucet leaking 60 drops per minute wastes 192 gallons per month. That adds 2,304 gallons per year to your water usage, and bill.

Landscaping

If you use outdoor sprinkler systems, or your outdoor water system for any reason, check out water-saving options over at Pro Irrigation and make sure to have your system regularly checked for leaks or water waste.

Irrigate hydrozones based on your trees’, plants’ and shrubs’ needs. Install a weather-based SMART irrigation controller so you don’t over-water your lawn and plants.

Install and maintain a rain sensor, whether wired or wireless. Make sure that it is functioning properly. Inspect the sprinkler heads to make sure they’re not malfunctioning in any way.

Use native plants that require less water to thrive in your region, plant turn grass only in areas where people will use it. Organize everything into hydro-zones. Hydro-zones are zones in your yard containing plant and vegetation with similar water requirements. This way, you do not waste water watering the entire yard when only part of it may need a lot of water.

In The Shower

You shouldn’t take excessive showers. If it takes a long time for hot water to reach your shower, use that time to collect water for other uses, like watering house plants. Limit your shower to 10 minutes or less. Ideally, you can be in and out of the shower in 5 minutes.

Replace showerheads with a flow rate higher than 2.5 gallons per minute. This is the current national energy policy act standard. A lower flow rate reduces the amount of water you use and saves you money. You can measure your flow rate by catching water in a 1-gallon bucket. If it takes less than 24 seconds to fill up a gallon bucket, the showerhead flow rate is more than 2.5 gallons per minute and needs to be replaced.

The U.S. EPA WaterSense program helps you identify good showerheads that use a maximum of 2 gallons per minute.

If you take a 10 minute shower, and reduce your time to 5 minutes, you’ll save 12.5 gallons — something to think about.

Saving Money With Toilets

Replace your toilet if it was installed prior to 1994 with a high-efficiency one. This will use just 1.28 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for older models. The EPA WaterSense program helps you find these types of toilets, and they’re worth installing since they can save you a lot of money over the source of a year.

If you flush your toilet 6 times per day, it saves 13 gallons per day, or 4,745 gallons per year. If your toilet is really old, you might save up to 7 gallons per flush.

Oliver Winter is on an eco mission to conserve water, and have all her friends, family and anyone she meets do the same. She writes green/eco based articles in her spare time to raise awareness of issues, and list simple steps anyone can take to help themselves and their environment.

 

 
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