Water conservation in the home…
1. Check faucets and pipes for leaks
A small drip from a faucet can waste 20 gallons of water per day or more. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.
2. Don’t use the toilet wastebasket
Every time you flush facial tissue or other small bit of trash, one and a half to five gallons of water is wasted.
3. Check your toilets for leaks
Add a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If (without flushing) the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately.
4. Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks
For people who live in towns or citys like Grass Valley, Nevada City, Auburn or Roseville, read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
5. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
Low flow shower heads or restrictors are relitivly easy for the Grass Valley homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use two and half to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. “Low-flow” means it uses less than two and half gallons per minute.
Also, all household faucets should be fitted with aerators. This single best home water conservation method is also the cheapest!
6. Put plastic bottles or float booster in your toilet tank
To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. This may affect the performance of the toilet, so use with caution. Most people recommend installing a low flow toilet, 1.6 gallons per flush or less. Up to 30% of Grass Valleys households water use is flushed down the toilet. If your toilet was installed before 1992 it a water guzzler.
7. Insulate your water pipes.
It’s easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up. And it could help your water lines from freezing in the winter in Grass Valley.
8. Take shorter showers.
One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 10 to 40 gallons of water.
9. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
There is no need to keep the water running in the bathroom sink while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
10. Rinse your razor in the sink
Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.
11. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer only with full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing soap recomend not pre-rinsing dishes which is a big water savings.
With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 5 gallons for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers. New Energy Star rated washers use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving front loader.
12. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
In-sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to maintenance problems. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.
13. When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing
If your have a double-basin sink, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water.
14. Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables
Just rinse them in sink , bowl or a pan of clean water.
15. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge.
Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge.
Water conservation in the yard and garden…
16. Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants
If you are planting a new lawn, or over-seeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses.
Many beautiful shrubs and plants thrive with far less watering than other species. Replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local plant diseases. Plant slopes with plants that will retain water and help reduce runoff.
Group plants according to their watering needs.
17. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 – 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the drip-line of each plant to form a slight depression which will prevent or minimize water runoff.
18. Don’t water the gutter
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
19. Water your lawn only when it needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3″) will also promote water retention in the soil.
Most lawns only need about 1″ of water each week. During dry spells, you can stop watering altogether and the lawn will go brown and dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, the morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn back to its usual vigor. This may result in a brown summer lawn, but it saves a lot of water.
20. Deep-soak your lawn
When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn – when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount.
21. Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it’s windy
Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when it’s windy – wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation.
22. Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns
Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be ‘top dressed’ with compost or organic matter.
You can greatly reduce the amount of water used for shrubs, beds and lawns by:
– the strategic placement of soaker hoses
– installing a rain barrel
– installing a simple drip irrigation system
Avoid over-watering plants and shrubs, as this can actually diminish plant health and cause yellowing of the leaves.
23. Don’t run the hose while washing your car
Clean the car using a bucket of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing – this simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car. Use a spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water. Better yet, use a waterless car washing system; there are several brands on the market.
24. Use a broom, or leaf blower not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks
25. Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings
Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they’re not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.
Water conservation comes naturally when everyone in the family is aware of its importance, and parents take the time to teach children some of the simple water-saving methods around the home which can make a big difference.
Water Conservation Summary
In 1990, 30 states in the US reported ‘water-stress’ conditions. In 2000, the number of states reporting water-stress rose to 40. In 2009, the number rose to 45. There is a worsening trend in water supply nationwide. Taking measures at home to conserve water not only saves you money, it also is of benefit to the greater community.
Saving water at home does not require any significant cost outlay. Although there are water-saving appliances and water conservation systems such as rain barrels, drip irrigation and on-demand water heaters which are more expensive, the bulk of water saving methods can be achieved at little cost. For example, 75% of water used indoors is in the bathroom, and 25% of this is for the toilet. The average toilet uses 4 gallons per flush (gpf). You can invest in a ULF (ultra-low flush) toilet which will use only 1.28 gpf. By using water-saving features you can reduce your in-home water use by 35%. This means the average household, which uses 130,000 gallons per year, could save 44,00 gallons of water per year. On a daily basis, the average household, using 350 gallons per day, could save 125 gallons of water per day. The average individual, currently using 70 gallons per day, could save 25 gallons of water per day.
When buying low-flow aerators, be sure to read the label for the actual ‘gpm’ (gallons per minute) rating. Often, the big box retailers promote “low-flow” which are rated at 2.5 gpm, which is at the top of the low-flow spectrum. This may be needed for the kitchen sink, but we find that a 1.5 gpm aerator works fine for the bathroom sink and most water outlets, delivering the same spray force in a comfortable, soft stream. Finally, it should be noted that installing low-flow aerators, showerheads, and other water-saving devices usually is a very simple operation which can be done by the homeowner and does not even require the use of tools. Water conservation at home is one of the easiest measures to put in place, and saving water should become part of everyday family practice.
For more information call your friends at ABT Plumbing, Electric, Heat & Air Toll FREE 855-272-9120