Being Eco-Conscious: Easy ways to waste less water at home
Americans are fortunate to live in a country of great natural beauty and abundant resources. However, recent reports suggest that we need to take steps to protect these resources and that individual initiatives are essential to real change. Water shortages are a real concern, with wetlands disappearing and forest fires becoming more common. Fortunately, being eco-conscious doesn’t have to be complicated! Start at home with simple daily steps. By following these easy ways to reduce water waste in your home, you can make a real difference for the next generation of Americans.
America is the world’s leader is water usage, with the average four-person household using between 320-400 gallons a day. This is double the European estimate. Reducing water impacts the environment and your water bill. The first step for homeowners is learning how we unintentionally waste water.
Common Causes of Water Waste
Most water waste is accidental and often goes unnoticed. Here are the top three causes of water wastage in American homes today.
- Leaking Taps - A leaky tap can waste far more water than homeowners might think. One drop per second from a faucet adds up to 2000 gallons of water per year. Whether the drip is caused by an old gasket or a leaky pipe, the issue will only worsen over time.
Showerheads are also common culprits. Not only do they frequently drip after a shower, but older models can also waste water while you shower by not completely redirecting the water flow. Replace old showerheads will new low-flow models, and ensure that they are installed correctly to keep water from leaking out during use.
To check for a leak, first identify a two-hour window when no one will use any water (like after bedtime). Read your home’s water meter at the start of the two-hour window, and recheck the meter afterward. If the reading isn’t the same, there’s a leak somewhere in your home. If you can’t identify where the problem is, call in a professional plumber. Your long-term savings on your water bill will outweigh the cost of his visit.
- Inefficient Toilet - Make sure all your toilets are running efficiently. A toilet can waste up to 87000 gallons of water per year.
It’s usually relatively easy to identify if your toilet is running inefficiently; you hear it start to refill, even though no one has used it. This is called a “phantom flush,” and it is usually caused by a slow leak from the tank into the bowl. Drain your tank and bowl, and then check the flapper and flapper seat for signs of wear or damage. Another possible toilet issue is when you get a slow trickle of water into the tank. The two things to check are if the float is sticking and that the refill tube isn’t sticking too far into the overflow tube (it should be no more than ¼” below the top of the tube). If neither of these are an issue, it might be worth your while to call in a professional to assess the situation.
Once any problems are resolved, homeowners can further increase savings by placing a full half-gallon water jug in the tank of your toilet. Avoid using anything hard or heavy (like a brick or rock); this could damage the tank.
Finally, when the time comes to purchase a new toilet, look for a low-flow or dual-flush model. Dual-flush toilets allow users to choose how much water is needed. Replacing wasteful water fixtures and appliances can lead to household water reductions of up to 75%.
- Your Lawn - Your lawn can be the biggest source of wasted water (depending on its size, of course). Allowing the grass to grow longer is one painless way to save water during the summer, since longer blades protect the soil more efficiently from dehydration, reducing watering needs.
Replacing a section of your lawn with a vegetable garden or plants will also reduce usage since most plants require far less water than grass. Consider Xeriscaping, which is gaining popularity among conscientious gardeners. This form of landscaping relies predominantly on rainfall, and can even be employed in dry climates. Using mulch helps the soil to retain moisture, further reducing water waste.
When you water makes a significant impact. Experts recommend watering early in the morning and avoiding the hottest times of the day. Newer technologies such as smart timers will guarantee that your lawn is watered no more than necessary. These systems determine the optimal time for watering and even adjust the duration per local weather conditions and changing seasons.
Lastly, a rain barrel can also save on water usage. This simple device collects rainwater from your eaves, which can then be used anywhere on your property.
Once you’ve assessed these first common causes of waste, think about the little things you can do every day. Depending on the number of people in your home (or business), a slight adjustment to your routine can mean serious water savings. Start small: choose which initiatives might work for you, and stick with them until they become habits. You’d be surprised by how easily change can take hold!
Daily Steps to Reduce Water Waste
Every drop makes a difference!
- Turn off your tap while brushing - A flowing tap sends up to 2 gallons of water down the drain per minute.
- Take shorter showers – Old showerheads use five gallons of water per minute. If short showers don’t work for you, consider making them less frequent.
- Use eco-conscious appliances - A “WaterSense” rated dishwasher will significantly reduce water waste. Make sure your washing machine has an economy setting. Never run your dishwasher when half-full.
- Fill the sink – Letting the water run while hand washing dishes is pouring water down the drain. Fill the sink basin and save money.
- Reduce your electrical usage - Power plants use thousands of gallons of H2O to cool. Using less power means wasting less water!
- Use a water chiller - Using a reliable chiller means that you don’t need to run the tap to wait for cold water to drink.
- Defrost in the fridge – Avoid using running water to thaw foods. Placing frozen food in a fridge overnight will do the trick just as easily.
- Wash your fruit in a bowl - Whether you’re rinsing apples or scrubbing potatoes, do this in a bowl or sink rather than under the tap.
- Avoid bottled water - While this won’t affect your household bills, it contributes to the global conservation of water. For a responsible source of clean, pure water, use a home filtration system. Avoid plastic filtration cartridges; aluminum cartridges will further contribute to your reduction of plastic (and thereby, water).
- Use a car wash – Car washes filter & recycle water, meaning it doesn’t flow down your driveway and into storm sewers. When you want to wash your car at home, use a bucket and sponge instead of a hose attachment. For clean up afterward, sweep your driveway rather than spraying it with a hose.
While much of our country’s water waste can be attributed to agriculture, industry and nuclear power plants, we can still make a difference. Parents have an additional incentive to be proactive since our actions are setting an example for the next generation. When you start small, you’ll see big results - both on your water bill and in the lives of your children.
Being eco-conscious is now easier than ever, with new “green” technologies evolving daily for use in American households. To enjoy clean water in your home, free of lead and other impurities, please email us or hop on liveChat to speak to a filtration expert at efilters.net. We’re proud of our continued commitment to water conservation, and your family’s health.