Saving Water Equals Saving Money
As summer heats up, water becomes a much more valuable commodity, especially in drier or drought-burdened locales. That alone should give us incentive to save water in every way we can. But of course, saving water means saving money, and what could be better than that? Here are some ways you and your family can save water all year round, but especially during the “dog days” of summer.
• If you suspect you have a water leak, ask the water company to inspect it just to be sure. If you find you do have a leak outside that has affected your water bill, ask for a credit. The water company will often comply.
• Never use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. The safest method for defrosting foods is overnight in the refrigerator.
• Never let the water run while shaving, washing your face or brushing your teeth. You can easily brush your teeth while you’re waiting for water to get hot enough to shave or wash your face. And always fill the basin for these tasks to save the most water.
• Be sure your toilet tank isn’t leaking. Add a drop of food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, the water in the toilet bowl will change color in about a half hour. If you do have a leak, flush the toilet so the food coloring doesn’t stain, then check for worn out or malfunctioning parts. Fixing a toilet is relatively inexpensive and easy and can save considerable amounts of money over time.
• If you have an older toilet with a large tank, place a brick in the tank to displace some of the water. It will use less water for each flush, but you’ll never know the difference in the way it works. Also be sure to replace or adjust the handle if it sticks allowing the water to run.
• Don’t flush unless you need to. While I can’t advocate disposing of toilet paper anywhere other than the toilet as I’ve seen some people do, it does make sense to not flush facial tissues, bugs or other trash down the commode unless you were flushing anyway.
• Reuse dish water and other “brown water” by pouring it on your garden or outside plants.
• Run your dishwasher or washing machine with a full load only. If you must clean a smaller load, be sure to adjust the water level and temperature correctly.
• Dripping faucets are not only annoying, they cost money. But changing a washer on a leaky faucet is a very inexpensive fix that can save thousands of gallons of water every year.
• Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator. It saves having to run the tap to cool the water every time you want a drink.
• Take shorter showers and eliminate baths if at all possible. Change out your showerhead to one that uses less water, or one with a cut-off valve that lets you shut off the water while you lather.
• If you have children who are too young for showers, fill the tub only one-third full and put the stopper in the tub before you turn on the water. Once the water gets hot, it will quickly heat up the cold that pours out first.
• Water your lawn only when absolutely needed. Set out a barrel to collect rain water and use this free resource to irrigate plants when you can.
• Rather than fully washing your car, rinse off the dust. This saves a lot of water, and it’s often all that’s required to keep your car looking shiny.
• Be sure your water heater is insulated so it runs as little as possible. Some people are satisfied with slightly hot water, while others want it practically scalding. Whatever your preference, set the hot water temperature at the lowest setting needed for your comfort.
• Install an aerator on your kitchen and bathroom faucets if you don’t have them already. Less flow saves water.
• Choose water-wise plants when landscaping to minimize the amount of water needed to keep your plants healthy. Consider cacti and succulents, as well as pine trees and a variety of hardy grasses and ground covers.
• Use a broom rather than the hose to clean driveways and sidewalks
There are many, many more ways to save money by saving water. Develop the habit of using less water and not only will your budget benefit, but the environment will be improved as well.