Only 1% of the Earth’s water is suitable for human use. At least 40 states, including Arizona, expect water shortages at the local, state, or regional level within the coming years. That’s why every drop counts when it comes to water and water usage in the home. Rising temperatures lead to rising water use, and higher water bills as a result. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to make a real impact in terms of gallons and dollars saved. Here are nine tips you can use to conserve water all summer long.
Is your bathroom faucet constantly drip, drip, dripping? According to the EPA, a leaky faucet can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. To put it in perspective, that’s enough water for more than 180 showers. Fixing minor leaks is a quick and easy way to save water. If you don’t, you’re literally washing money down the drain.
Toilet leaks can waste more than 100 gallons of water a day. Unlike faucets, toilet leaks tend to go unnoticed. To easily check for a leak, but a few drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet. If the coloring begins to appear in the bowl, you have a leak, and your best course of action is to work with a plumber to fix it. The most common cause is an old flapper, which is inexpensive to replace.
Replacing old, inefficient toilets with newer water-saving models can save up to 13,000 gallons of water a year. According to the EPA, if every old, inefficient toilet in the United States was replaced, we’d save 520 billion gallons of water per year. If your toilet is getting up there in years, consider upgrading to a WaterSense labeled model for maximum savings.
If you’re not in the market for a new toilet, there’s an easy way to save water with your existing one. Tank inserts are inexpensive mold-resistant plastic objects that hang inside your toilet’s tank, reducing the amount of water that’s used per plush. For a DIY solution, you can achieve the same result by placing a weighed down plastic bottle in the tank. You can use pebbles to weigh down the water bottle, and the bottle can be placed anywhere in the tank.
Lush greenery and towering trees may look appealing, but if they’re not native to the area, they can use a ton of water. Utilizing landscaping native to Arizona allows you to use less water while also adding the beauty of the desert to your home’s surroundings. In fact, climate-appropriate landscaping can cut your yard’s water usage in half. Look for drought-resistant plants and grass alternatives to maximize water savings.
Reducing the time of your shower by just four minutes can save nearly 4,000 gallons of water a year. Ideally, you should limit your shower to five minutes total. You can set a kitchen timer or alarm to remind you when your time is up. For extra water savings, consider turning off the shower while you lather up your hair, or while you shave, before turning it back on to rinse.
“Greywater” refers to gently used water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, and washing machines. This water can be reused for a variety of purposes. For example, you can place a bucket in the shower with you and then reuse the water for your plants. Same goes for pots of pasta cooking water or extra water from a tea kettle or coffee maker. Even leftover ice can be used to water plants and landscaping.
It’s important to be conscious of your water usage while doing daily tasks. You might not realize how much water you’re really using. Don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. In the kitchen, fill the sink with water instead of running the tap the entire time you’re washing dishes. When in doubt, turn off the tap!
Washing dishes and doing laundry are two major sources of water usage, and waste, in the average home. Nearly 22% of household water usage happens in the laundry room. You can lower this percentage by only washing full loads of laundry and skipping the extra rinse cycle. If you’ve loaded the washer correctly, an extra rinse is more wasteful than useful. Be sure and pre-treat any stains thoroughly to prevent the need to rewash clothing.
When it comes to dishes, handwashing actually uses more water than using the dishwasher. The average dishwasher uses six gallons of water per cycle, and water tends to flow from a faucet at a rate of two gallons per minute. So, if it takes you longer than three minutes to wash your dishes, it’s best to just use the dishwasher. If you must hand wash, you can save some water by filling the sink up instead of running the tap the entire time.
To make a lasting commitment to water conservation, upgrading the appliances and plumbing fixtures in your home is a great decision. While these options can include significant upfront costs for products and installation, they’ll save you money by using less water in the long run.
Products only earn the WaterSense label if they pass the EPA’s stringent criteria for efficiency, performance, and water saving capabilities. The WaterSense label ensures that the product uses at least 20% less water than regular models, while also saving energy and maintaining performance. The numbers speak for themselves: Replacing old faucets with WaterSense certified models can save the average family $250 in water and energy costs over the lifetime of the faucet, and WaterSense certified showerheads can save more than 2,700 gallons of water per year.
According to ENERGY STAR ®, washing machines are the second largest water user in the average home. ENERGY STAR ® certified washing machines use 22% less energy and 33% less water than standard models. For even greater water savings, look for models with a low integrated water factor (IWF). The lower the IWF, the less water the model uses.
Low-flow shower heads and faucets can help you save a considerable amount on your monthly water bill. These water-saving devices are designed to maintain the same amount of water pressure while using far less water than traditional fixtures. In fact, some low-flow fixtures can save as much as 2 gallons a minute. The best part is, low-flow fixtures aren’t necessarily more expensive than traditional ones, and they’re just as easy to install.
You can save nearly 13,000 gallons of water a year by upgrading to a high-efficiency toilet. This translates to major water bill savings. With strategic design and the latest plumbing technology, high-efficiency toilets rely on gravity or vacuum mechanisms to use less water while still washing away waste. A high-efficiency toilet uses 1.28 gallons per flush, which is far less than traditional toilets, that can use anywhere from 1.6 to 3.5 gallons per flush.
Tankless water heaters, also known as on demand water heaters, only heat water when it’s requested—like when you turn on the tap to wash your hands or start to run a bath. Traditional water heaters with a tank continually heat water and store it for future use. According to Energy.gov, tankless water heaters can be anywhere from 24-34% more energy efficient than traditional water heaters in homes that use 41 or fewer gallons of hot water per day.
Whether it’s installing new plumbing fixtures or troubleshooting a frustrating leak, our expert plumbers can handle all your plumbing needs. Contact us to explore water saving options for your home.