With the approach of summer 2016, we enter another consecutive year of water conservation and region-wide sprinkling regulations that will help us use our drinking water more wisely. In fact, on May 15th we begin Stage 1 of Greater Vancouver’s Water Shortage Response Plan that limits our lawn watering. But how else can you save water (and save money)?
You might think that conserving water requires a significant investment, from installing new ENERGY STAR–rated appliances to using rain barrels and buying new on-demand tankless water heaters. While all these options represent great ways to reduce water consumption (and they often save you a lot of money over time), you can also employ small, simple strategies to conserve your water usage.
While we previously gave you tips for how to get your outdoor plumbing ready for spring, this blog post will give you a checklist of water saving tips (28 in fact!) for both outside and inside your home.
But first….how much water do we use?
The average household uses 26,000 litres of water each month. That’s 326 litres of water per person per day. And 75% of that is coming from the bathroom (and 1/3 of that use is just the toilet!).
On top of this, between now and early fall, our water use will double from the rest of the year due to swimming pools, growing food, maintaining sports fields and other social and community-building uses. At home, we also increase water usage to green our lawns, wash our decks, driveways and cars. All this water adds up…in price.
28 Water Conservation Strategies for Your Home
Here is the checklist of water saving tips—how many of these strategies will you implement this summer?
Kitchen & Laundry
- Kitchen faucet flow: Install a low flow kitchen faucet aerator. This can reduce the flow out of your tap by up to 40 per cent.
- Dishes & laundry: Use your dishwasher and washing machine only for full loads.
- Garbage Disposal: Avoid using the garbage disposal in your sink. Disposals require you to flush the unit with water in order to work properly. They also increase the amount of solids in your pipes. Instead of wasting water and possibly causing buildup in your pipes compost your food.
- Leaks: Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Leaks waste water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Cool drinking water: Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful.
- Washing machine and dishwasher inspection: Check your washing machine and dishwasher hoses for bulges or leaks. If there are any signs of weakness, or if they’re older than 10 years, it is a good idea to replace them.
- Water meter leaks: If you have a water meter, check it for leaks. Check it at a certain time during the day, and then wait two hours without using any water. If the reading is different the second time, you have a leak in your home.
- New toilet: Replace your water-guzzling toilet with a WaterSense labelled model. New toilets use only 4.8 litres per flush while older toilets can use over 20 litres per flush. It can cut your water use by as much as 30%.
- Toilet leaks: Check your toilets for leaks. Put a little food colour or a dye tablet in your toilet tank. If the colour appears in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak.
- Toilet flushes: Install “low flush” toilets. Although the investment may cost more to start with, these toilets use only 1–2 gallons per flush. Normal toilets use 3–5 gallons per flush.
- Trash can: Don’t use the toilet as a trash can. Every time you flush a small piece of trash, you waste between five and seven gallons of water.
- Showerheads: Install WaterSense labelled showerheads. This can reduce the flow up to 40%.
- Bathroom faucet flow: Install low flow bathroom faucet aerators. These too can reduce the flow by up to 40%.
- Tooth brushing: Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush.
- Shower time: Take shorter showers. Long, hot showers can waste 18 to 35 litres of water.
- Leaks: Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 75 or more litres of water a day.
Pools & Spas
- Do regular leak check-ups. A leak in the pool are can waste 3,800 litres or more per day.
- Pool covers: Use a pool/spa cover to cut down on water loss (and heating costs) caused by evaporation.
- Chemical balance: Keep track of the amount of chemicals you use. An increase in chemicals can be a sign of a leak.
- Water level: Lower the pool water level to reduce the amount of water splashed out.
- Don’t water the sidewalk. Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden – not on paved areas.
- Leaky hoses: Check frequently for leaks in hoses and couplings and keep them drip-free.
- Unhook your hose: Unhook your water hose from the spout after each use.
- Check your backyard for wet spots. Walk around your property once a week to look for spongy or mushy ground where broken pipes might be hidden. If it’s not raining then you may have an underground leak from a water or sewer line.
- Plant drought-tolerant grass and plants. To reduce evaporation, lay mulch over any exposed soil and cut your grass to a slightly longer length.
- Car washing: Wash your car with a bucket of water and a sponge. This is much more efficient than using a hose or going to a commercial car wash.
- Sprinkler inspection: Check sprinklers for jammed or malfunctioning heads.
- Sprinkler usage: Use accurate, efficient sprinklers or drip irrigation systems instead of hand watering.
Start Conserving Water Today
Most of these tips don’t cost you anything. By making some small adjustments you can make a big impact on your water consumption, utility bill and the environment. Combine as many of these ideas as possible to ensure you are doing your part. So, what are you waiting for? Start saving today!
For more water conservation tips or to hire a plumber to help you find and fix those water leaks, give Mr. Swirl a ring at 604-435-4664.