Stop wasting money, start saving water

Experts

Senior Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment

By Kristin Retter on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

water down the drain energy saving

The average family of 4 uses 400 gallons of water every day but you can seriously reduce this amount, and your monthly water bill.

As California struggles through their fourth consecutive year of drought, 40 states say they too expect water shortages in the next 10 years, even if water conditions stay normal. This means water woes will probably affect you soon, if they aren’t already. Making reductions in water use now will help you through future shortages.

Changing you lifestyle and habits and replacing water appliances and fixtures with more efficient models are the top 2 ways to seriously reduce your water use. Luckily, Consumer Reports just published a great guide to saving water, including top ranked, top performing appliances and fixtures to reduce your water bill without reducing performance.

water use chart CR

 

Free things you can do now to start saving water:

  • Find and fix leaks! 10% of the water used in an average household is actually wasted in water leaks. They may not always be easy to find, but regularly inspecting your home for leaks and repairing them quickly can save a lot.
  • Wash only full loads in the laundry and dish washers. You can also further improve efficiency by following the instructions in your owners guide and picking the right settings for the job, which will also improve performance.
  • Take showers, not baths, and don’t let the water flow for more than 5 minutes. You can turn off the water while lathering up to avoid letting it run when you are not using it, the same way you would turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Let the grass grow a little longer by adjusting your mowers, which lets the grass hold more water. If you must water your lawn, do it early in the day to allow more water to be absorbed instead of evaporating.
  • Don’t clean up outside with water. Try sweeping your deck, driveway and steps instead, and when washing the car, use a bucket of water instead of leaving the hose running.

Low-to-moderate cost options you can do yourself:

  • Replace your shower heads with a WaterSense product. WaterSense partners with the EPA to help conserve water in bathroom and kitchen fixtures. A standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water each and every minute, but a WaterSense showerhead uses no more than 2 gallons per minute, a 20% savings.
  • Faucets can be replaced with a WaterSense product to offer big water savings too. Replacing an older or leaky faucet with an aerator WaterSense model can save the average family 500 gallons per year.
  • Consider making a rain barrel to collect the rain, and then use it to water your garden or wash your car.
  • Reduce your lawn size, and replace grass with plants well-suited to your region, since these won’t need additional watering from you.

Larger investments in reducing water use:

  • Replace your toilets. A WaterSense toilet uses 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less without compromising on performance. An older toilet uses as much as 6 gallons per flush.
  • Buy an Energy Star dishwasher- Energy Star has higher efficiency standards for water and electricity, so you will save on both bills.
  • Get a front-loading and/or High Efficiency washing machine that is Energy Star rated. This can use up to 40% less water, and happens to spin faster too, reducing drying time. Be sure to buy HE detergents if you use a HE washing machine.

No one wants higher bills than necessary. Saving water saves you money, reduces the impact of a water shortage, and is good for the environment, so why not start saving today?

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