Using less water is good for the planet, and it also keeps your utility bills in check. There are fancy gray water recycling systems that drastically cut back your water consumption, along with rainwater collection systems that help you go off-grid in terms of water use.
Thankfully, saving water does not have to involve such drastic measures. Here are five small ways to save water without spending a fortune or overhauling your lifestyle.
1. Replace Your Old Toilet
With proper maintenance, a toilet can probably outlive you. That doesn't mean that your toilet from 1980 does not need to be replaced, however, since older toilets were not designed with water conservation in mind.
Some old models use as much as six gallons per flush, whereas new toilets in the U.S. must use 1.6 gallons per flush or less to meet federal standards. Low-flow toilets use even less.
By replacing a toilet that uses four gallons per flush with a low-flow model that uses only 1.28 gallons per flush, the average family can save more than 5,000 gallons of water per year. A new toilet only costs a couple hundred dollars, at most, and will provide you with decades of water savings.
2. Install WaterSense Faucets
WaterSense is a program first introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006. Its goal is to help Americans save water by certifying products that use less water. Faucets and shower heads with the WaterSense label use significantly less water than standard models. One WaterSense shower head, for example, can save about 2,900 gallons of water per year in the average home.
Faucets and shower heads are relatively inexpensive, so if you swap out your current ones for WaterSense models, you can recoup the replacement cost in the form of water savings within a few years.
3. Check for Leaks Often
So many homeowners have undetected plumbing leaks. Even a tiny leak can waste gallons of water each day. If you get into the habit of checking for plumbing leaks once a month, you can have them repaired before they result in too much wasted water.
You don't have to carefully inspect every pipe to tell if you have a leak - just turn off all toilet valves and water-using appliances in your home and instruct family members not to use any water for a few minutes. Then, take a look at your water meter. If the leak indicator dial is moving, you have a leak somewhere in the home which should be repaired.
4. Catch Extra Running Water in a Bucket
This one doesn't cost any money at all, unless you need to buy a bucket. Keep a bucket near your sink and use it to catch the cold water that comes out of the tap as you wait for the water to warm up.
Use the bucketed water to water your plants. You could also put it in your pet's bowl or even use it to fill your own filter pitcher, assuming the bucket is kept clean.
5. Stop Over-Watering Plants
Plants need water to thrive, but are you giving them more than they need? Instead of just blindly watering your plants each day, test the soil before you apply water. If it's still moist enough to form a solid clump in your hand, your plants do not need water yet.
When you do water your plants, apply the water slowly rather than dumping it all on at once. This gives the water time to slowly permeate the soil rather than it flowing away from the root ball. You'll need to apply less water this way. Also, apply mulch around your plants to trap moisture in the soil and extend the time between watering sessions.
Use the tips above for a water-efficient home. If you need help installing a new toilet, repairing leaks, or otherwise modifying your plumbing, make an appointment with John Manning Plumbing. We offer quality service throughout the Antelope Valley.