Reducing Your Water Consumption Saves You Money.
The rainy season of 2016-17 has ended, and California now has some relief from the severe water shortage we have been experiencing for the past few years. The snowpack in California’s mountains was above average this past winter. Groundwater regulations enacted in 2015 to reduce California’s water consumption have been somewhat eased.
A lot of water is wasted in American residential homes. Each American family uses an average of 300 gallons of water every day: in contrast, the average African or Asian family gets by on less than three gallons per day.
But there is lots of room for reduction of water consumption in the home. We don’t have to use – and waste – so much water. Here are some useful ideas for reducing the water consumption in your home. Using less water is not only favorable for the environment, it will also save you money.
Start By Talking To A Qualified Plumber.
Go through your entire plumbing system with your plumber. A good plumber can help you reduce your water consumption by helping you to identify places where your family may be using too much water.
- Check Every Faucet For Leaks. A leaky faucet wastes a lot of water. These are easy to fix. Check every faucet in your home to see if there are any leaks. A simple washer often resolves the issue. If the faucet is broken, cracked, or defective in any way, have your plumber repair it, If it can’t be repaired, replace it. In addition to checking your faucets for leaks, also check your showerheads.
- Checks All Pipes For Leakage or Damage..Check plumbing system through your entire home. Leaky pipes cost you money. And if you don’t fix a defective pipe, it will only get worse. Leaky or broken pipes – including your sewer line – must immediately be repaired or replaced. Talk to your plumber about selecting the best type of piping for your particular area. You have many choices, for example between copper piping, PEX plastic piping or pipes made from other materials.
- Your Water Meter Can Identify Hidden Leaks. Is your water meter running overnight when no-one is using any appliances? If so, you have a hidden leak somewhere on your property. A good plumbing service will have all the tools needed to locate the source of a leak. There are very cool new electronic leak detection devices which can locate any water or gas leak, even if it’s located behind a wall, or is underground, or even beneath a concrete slab.
- Install “Low-Flow” Faucets. New low-flow faucets are now on the market. These faucets are fitted with a steel mesh strainer, which reduces the amount of water flowing from that faucet. If you don’t want to incur the expense of replacing every faucet in your home, have your plumber attach a mesh strainer to each of the faucets currently in your home. You can add these mesh strainers to most older models of faucet.
- Check Those Hoses. You (or your plumber) should check every hose that goes into and out of all your home appliances. Make sure to check your dishwasher, washing machine, garbage disposal unit, and any other water fixtures in your home, such as drinking fountains and ice-makers. Tighten the connections of all loose hoses. If a hose is defective or damaged, it must be replaced.
- Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances. Your plumber can advise you on the best appliances that use less energy. Make sure you buy dishwashers, garbage disposal units, and washing machines that are certified with the “Energy Star” label from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Invest in a “Low-Flow” Toilet. Your plumber can advise you about the new low-flow toilets, which use far less water than older models. The newest low-flow toilets are flushed one way for liquid waste and paper, and a second way for solid waste. You can save up to three gallons per flush with a new low-flow toilet.
- Install a Dishwasher. Many homes still don’t have a dishwasher installed in the home. People think they save water by washing dishes by hand. Unless you hand wash your dishes in a basin or tub and do not keep the faucet running, you actually use far more water washing dishes by hand than you would with a dishwasher. Ask your plumber to install an energy efficient dishwasher, and always wait until it is fully loaded before you run it.
- Reduce Running Water. Every time you run water for a long time, you waste water. Always remember to turn off the faucet when involved with activities including brushing your teeth or shaving. And encourage all your family members to take showers instead of using the bathtub: just doing this can save you big-time on water consumption.
- Recycle Your Gray Water. In certain situations, some of your waste water can be used again. Sewer water cannot be re-used, but your gray water can: “gray water” is water from bathtubs, showers and sinks. More and more homeowners are installing “dual plumbing” systems, which save, store, and treat gray water for re-use, particularly in the garden. Separate pipes must be installed so that your gray water can be stored rather than wasted. Talk to your plumber. Some new homes in California are being built from the ground up with two plumbing systems to automatically capture, store, filter and reuse gray water.
- Conduct a Full Home Energy Audit. Ask your plumber or local gas company to recommend a reputable company to conduct a full energy audit in your home. You can uses the Residential Energy Services Network to find a reliable company to conduct your home energy audit. http://www.resnet.us/directory/search. After your home energy audit, work with your plumber to resolve every issue identified by the home energy audit. Repair or replace every fixture identified in your audit as defective or wasteful.
- Check All Outdoor Faucets and Hoses. Check every faucet in your yard. Also check all hoses, sprinklers, and any other attachments. Replace faulty washers, and have your plumber repair or replace any defective faucets and hoses.
- Start a Compost Heap. Save your food waste. Rather than throwing food waste into your garbage disposal or into the garbage, start a compost heap. Put all food scraps, including peels and leftovers, into your compost heap and use the compost to fertilize your lawn.
- Replace That Water-Guzzling Lawn. A grass lawn uses more water than anything else in your yard. Many Californians are now ripping out their thirsty lawns and replacing them with materials that uses less water or no water at all. Tree bark, sand, or pebbles.are the most preferred materials to replace lawns in California today.
- Sweep Your Yard, Don’t Hose. Hosing down your yard or driveway wastes a huge amount of water. Switch to sweeping your yard or driveway with a good outdoor broom: you will save a significant amount of water.
- Don’t Wash Your Cars at Home. Washing your car/s in your yard is also very wasteful. The best thing to do is to find a local car-wash that recycles their water, and take your cars there to be washed. Use a soft cloth like a “shammy” to keep your car clean, so you won’t need to wash it as often.
- Water Your Garden Only at Appropriate Times. Watering your plants, flowers of lawn during the hottest part of the day can be extremely wasteful and therefore expensive. Most of the water evaporates and ends up costing you a fortune. Water only in the early morning or early evening, when temperatures are cooler and there will be less evaporation of water.
Other Ways To Reduce Your Water Footprint:
Okay, so you’ve followed this advice and have addressed all the issues and resolved them. But if you want to do more to save water (and money) there are still many other ways you can reduce your water consumption.
- Change Your Diet. Some foods we eat use a lot more water than others. Raising a pound of beef requires 2,400 gallons of water. Raising a pound of bacon requires 1,600 gallons. But raising a salad requires fewer than 100 gallons. Consider changing your diet to save water and maybe even save the world: beef and poultry require far more water to raise than growing fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce Your Energy Consumption. Running a 100 Watt light bulb for ten hours requires the use of 100 gallons of water. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. And always turn off the lights except when necessary. You can also consider switching to solar power. Nuclear energy consumes 250 gallons a day to power the average American home. Powering the same home with solar energy uses only 25 gallons of water per day. There’s a big opportunity to save on energy costs here.
20. Consider the Products You Buy. You can drastically reduce water consumption by considering the manufactured products you purchase. It takes 100 gallons of water to grow a single pound of cotton. Recycle your clothes, buy clothes made from recycled fabrics, and give away your unwanted clothes rather than throw them away. And manufacturing your car consumed 40,000 gallons of water. Do you really need that new car? And think about the paper you use. It takes about 6 gallons of water to make $1 worth of paper. So recycle your paper and buy recycled paper. Every pound of paper recycled saves 4 gallons of water.