Water. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Do you imagine a cool drink to quench your thirst? A warm, relaxing bath or shower, or maybe a dip in your pool on a hot summer afternoon? If you stop to think about it, you’ll realize just how important water is to every aspect of your life.
But have you ever stopped to consider what you’d do if your fresh, clean water wasn’t as close as your faucet or outdoor spigot? Most people probably haven’t. Did you know that the average family of four uses up to 100,000 gallons of water per year? Your family can help reduce water usage at home by making some simple adjustments and changing your water use habits.
Reducing water consumption at home helps ensure this life-sustaining substance is available now and for future generations. For this reason, you need to understand why it’s important to reduce water usage indoors and out, as well as the benefits of practicing water conservation methods at home.
Why Worry About Water Conservation?
In countries like the United States, conserving water may not be a top priority for many people. But you should never take a resource like water for granted. Even though you have safe clean water that seems to magically appear when you turn on the faucet, if you don’t think about the future, you could be wasting precious water for upcoming generations.
At this time, water seems in endless supply, but as the population grows, so does our demand for water. Farmers need more water for crops and livestock, and a growing population needs clean water to drink and use for bathing. When you consider the increasing needs and the importance of water, you can better understand why it is important to begin conserving now to ensure water isn’t scarce in the future.
You may be surprised by the amount of water your family uses when you stop to think about it. What’s your family’s water footprint? It’s determined by the amount of water your family uses, among other factors:
- Tap water you use directly
- Water used to produce the food you eat
- Appliances and products that use water
- Water used for recreation
- Water you use when you recycle
- Energy you consume
You may not drink, see or even feel all the water you use, but it all adds up to determine your water footprint. You can save water by recycling. When you choose to recycle products, this action helps reduce the materials from virgin sources, which reduces the need to produce and process new materials. This means less water and other resources are used in the manufacturing process to produce products for consumers.
Along with saving you money on your water bill, there are other beneficial reasons to conserve water:
- You and every living thing on earth need water to live. Without it, you would die within a few days.
- Water conservation helps conserve energy.
- Conserving helps preserve this precious resource for the next generation and beyond.
Since water is vital to our existence, it’s important to do your part to conserve water. Some tasks are simple, while other may be more complex and require help. Either way, these tips can get you started on reducing your water footprint.
Simple Tips to Reducing Water Usage Indoors
The average household uses about 260 gallons of water per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You can reduce the daily water usage in your home by taking a few simple steps in each room.
In the Kitchen
The kitchen is a place of high water usage for most families. In this one room, you wash dishes by hand or have a dishwasher. You also use water when cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Here’s how to save water in the kitchen:
- Place a gallon jug of water in your refrigerator for drinking; that way, you don’t have to let water run to get a cool drink.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Have a basin of soapy water for washing and clear water for rinsing when washing dishes by hand.
- Consider starting a compost heap outside. Then, you can use the garbage disposal less often.
- Plan ahead and defrost food in the refrigerator instead of running it under hot water.
- Choose the right size of pan for boiling water and cooking; larger pans use more water.
- If you drop ice on the floor, place it in your plant pots to water plants.
- While waiting for water to warm up, catch running tap water in a container and use it to water your plants or wash vegetables.
- Don’t wash fruits and vegetables under running tap water, wash them in a bowl of water and use that water for thirsty plants.
- When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for energy efficient options.
- Don’t pre-rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.
- Soak pots and pans instead of running tap water over them to loosen stuck on foods.
In the Bathroom
The bathroom is also a source of high water usage. Flushing the toilet alone can use 20 gallons of water per day, according to National Geographic’s water conservation tips. The shower is another big water user in your bathroom, using up to 80 gallons of water for an 8 minute shower.
Here are some tips to reducing water consumption in the bathroom:
- Keep showers under five minutes.
- Turn off water while washing your hair or brushing your teeth.
- Turn water off while washing your hands or use foaming hand soap, so you only have to use water to rinse.
- For reducing water usage in toilets, upgrade older toilets with newer water-saving models.
- Install water-saving shower heads.
- Throw tissues in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet.
- Consider installing dual flush toilets; they use less water to flush liquid wastes.
- Choose a shower over a bath; it takes up to 70 gallons of water to fill the tub.
- Install float boosters in your toilet tank.
- Fill the sink with water to rinse your razor as you shave instead of holding it under running water.
In the Laundry Room
A little over 20 percent of your home water is used washing clothes and other linens. You can reduce this amount with a few simple tips.
Here are some ways to reduce your water consumption in the laundry room:
- Only wash full loads or adjust your water level for each size load of laundry.
- Wash dark-colored clothes in cold water.
- Consider upgrading to a high efficiency washing machine.
- Don’t wash just one garment in the washing machine; instead, wash it by hand and hang it to dry.
- Hang up the towel you dry off with after a shower and reuse it next time.
Simple Tips to Reducing Water Usage Outdoors
Over half of your home water use and waste goes to caring for your lawn and garden. You can have a nice lawn and garden, while reducing your home water consumption by following a few simple tips.
Here’s how to save and still have a healthy lawn:
- Use fertilizer sparingly; the more fertilizer you use, the more water the lawn needs.
- Aerate you lawn a few times a year so it more readily absorbs rainwater.
- Leave lawn clippings on your lawn to help conserve moisture and keep your grass cool.
- Keep your lawn as weed-free as possible; weeds compete with grass for water.
- Keep your grass height at about 2 inches tall; taller grass shades roots and holds moisture better than shorter grass. This can save you up to 500 gallons of water per month.
- Allow your grass to go dormant in winter, and it’ll get the moisture it needs from normal rainfall.
Here are some ways to reduce water usage and still have healthy outdoor plants:
- Prune plants properly, and they’ll use water more efficiently.
- Harvest rainwater in a barrel and use it to water outdoor plants when needed.
- Water your garden early in the morning while it’s cool outside to minimize water evaporation.
- Consider using drip irrigation around trees and shrubs so water goes straight to the root zone.
Here are some tips for enjoying your swimming pool while conserving water:
- Don’t overfill the pool. Less water in the pool means less water splashing out.
- Use a pool cover to reduce water loss through evaporation.
More Simple Tips for Conserving Water Outdoors
Little things you do can add up to a lot of water waste, so here are a few more useful tips to conserve water outdoors:
- Clean patios, sidewalks, or decks with a broom instead of a blast from the water hose.
- Use old water from your fish tank to water outdoor plants.
- Give your pets a bath outdoors in an area where the lawn could use some water.
- Avoid buying children’s outdoor toys that require a steady flow of water.
- Group plants with the same watering needs together in your garden.
- Use mulch around plants to help conserve moisture so they need supplemental water less often.
- Don’t prune lower branches and leaves off trees and shrubs; this helps keep the area around the plants shaded to conserve moisture.
The tips covered so far are simple things you and your family can do, but you can also enlist the help of a plumber or landscaper to ensure more complex issues that lead to water waste are taken care of.
How a Plumber Can Help?
Leaks are a common cause of water waste in homes. Whether it’s a small drip under the sink or a leaky toilet, every little drip can add up to a lot of wasted water. Fixing leaks can save up to 4 gallons of water per day. If just one faucet in your home is dripping one drop of water per second, you are wasted up to 3,000 gallons annually, according to the EPA.
The difficulty with detecting leaks is that you may not know you have one unless your water bill starts to rise. If you have leaks, call a plumbing company, like Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse, to inspect your home’s plumbing system and fix them.
The EPA recommends using water-saving appliances, toilets, showerheads, and water heaters. Your plumber can make sure these products are installed properly so they do work efficiently.
Here are some other ways a plumber can help with more complex water conservation methods for your home:
- Replace old plumbing and upgrade it so it works properly and doesn’t leak.
- Install insulation around your pipes to prevent freezing, which can lead to cracks or burst pipes that leak.
- Install sprinkler systems and drip irrigation that allows you to water your landscape more efficiently.
- Help with installation of timers for irrigation systems.
- Reroute grey water from your washing machine so you can use it to water non-edible plants and trees; grey water usually runs into the sewer system.
- Install an instant water heater near the kitchen so you don’t have to let the faucet run to get the water warm.
- Install a water meter so you can see just how much water your family is using.
- Answer questions you may have about conserving water in your home.
How Can a Landscaper Help?
If you don’t have a green thumb when it comes to gardening, you can benefit from talking to your local nursery or landscaper about plants that are well adapted to your area. Experts can help educate you about how to water your landscape plants efficiently and choose low-water plants when planning new landscape projects.
Choosing plants wisely can help you reduce the amount of water you use to keep your landscape healthy. If you mix plants that require little or no irrigation with those that require regular moisture, you’ll be wasting water by giving too much to the undemanding plants, and maybe even harming them.
To conserve water and make sure you don’t over-water plants, group plants with similar watering needs into different hydrozones. Using hydrozones simplifies your irrigation and makes sure all your plants only get the water they need.
A nursery or landscaper can help you choose plants native to your area, so you can create a garden that thrives on annual rainfall for your region.
Xeriscaping is also a good method of conserving water. It’s the practice of landscaping to reduce or eliminate water use. This means your garden will need little or no water other than what your climate provides. To be successful, xeriscaping involves planning, adding in soil amendments, mulching, and choosing drought tolerant plants for your garden.
Xeriscaping offers several advantages:
- Uses up to two-thirds less water than regular gardens.
- Requires less maintenance.
- Costs less to maintain.
- Reduces waste and pollution.
Xeriscaping may also include reducing the size of your lawn area and retaining only enough grass for your needs. You can replace the other areas with landscape plants that require less water, including ground covers, perennials, shrubs, and trees that have low-water needs.
You can also improve the moisture retention of your soil by adding in organic matter. When planning a low-water use garden, you can apply compost, shredded leaves, aged manure, bark, seed hulls, or other organic materials over the soil and around plants to aid in water retention.
You can do part to conserve water, even if you only take on the simple tasks. You can start small and work your way up to making your entire home, indoors and out, less wasteful when it comes to water use. Your plumber is a good source to turn to in the beginning. A licensed plumber can give you advice and start by inspecting your home’s current plumbing.
You can contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing and schedule an appointment for a checkup and diagnosis of your plumbing system. If necessary, a licensed plumber can begin upgrades and installation to make your home more water friendly.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing offers a variety of residential services:
- Sewer and drain services
- Bathroom plumbing
- Kitchen plumbing
- Laundry room plumbing
- Pump systems
Mr. Rooter’s licensed plumbers are certified by Onondaga County for plumbing leak detection or any plumbing related project and can offer homeowners advice about water conservation. A licensed plumber can help you save on your utility bills, while also helping the environment.
Upgrading and installing new plumbing may be costly at first, but it is an investment. The cost of a small leak or drip can also add up, so it’s a good idea to have your plumbing checked, especially if you noticed your water bill creeping up over the last few months or so.
Upgrading to new appliances, toilets, and water heaters can also be a big investment, but they do pay off in the long run. You can ask your plumber more about choosing appliances that use less water.
Together, you and your plumber can discuss ways you can make changes in your home to save water. Discuss what steps you can take that are within your budget. These simple steps begin good habits.
It All Starts With You
The answer to the question “how can I save water at home?” is quite simple. Each time you decide to follow one of the many simple steps of water conservation, you save water for future generations. Don’t doubt that your water conservation makes a difference because it does. And if you pass these tips on to your children and teach them the importance of saving water for future generations, it is more likely that they will carry on these good habits and pass them along as well.
Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse to learn more about how you and your family can begin conserving life-sustaining water for future generations.