I don’t know about you but there are so many reasons for saving water in my home. First, I like that I can use water saving techniques to save the planet. After all, I have no interest in living on Mars anytime soon.
But I also really appreciate that water efficiency saves me money on my bills too. By focusing on energy efficiency, which I show you how to do in another article here, and water saving, I can save quite a lot of money over the course of the year.
To see the power of saving water and energy, just write out your different budgets with lower utility bills. I’ve got a budget template you can use to do this to make it easier.
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General Water Saving Tips
Now look, I am not going to think of suggesting drastic changes in your water usage habits. Instead, I plan on telling you some basic water saving techniques that should help you save just a little at a time.
For instance, if you aren’t actively using the water coming into your home, turn it off. Don’t run the water while you are brushing your teeth. And if you can use a little elbow grease, you don’t have to fill that cooking pot and soak it in order to get it clean.
If you are interested in some intense water saving, you may be interested in how to use “graywater,” or water from your shower or washer, to water your yard. There’s more information on graywater from Graywater Action.
Water Saving In Your Garden
Your garden is a great place to practice saving water since it won’t affect your daily life too much. It’s also a huge water hog, especially in the warm summer months.
Choosing Plants For Water Efficiency
One of the simplest water saving methods is to start by just choosing plants that can thrive with less water. The first plant that comes to most minds is a cactus. However, there are plenty of options for plants that are excellent at saving water.
Water Wise Plant Suggestions
Don’t feel like you need to plant your front yard full of cacti in order to save water. There are a ton of options for you if your planter beds need to be more water efficient.
A good general rule of thumb to save water in your garden is to choose plants that are native to your area. These plants are used to your natural climate so you won’t have to give them a whole bunch of water besides what falls naturally from the sky.
Plants Worth The Extra Water
There is a small group of plants that, to some degree, are worth the extra water that they may require. While vegetables and fruits are not known for their water efficiency, you should still consider them for your garden.
Edible plants are great for your health and give you much more than ornamentals when it comes to the use you get out of them. You can save money on your grocery bill but they also boost your health as well, especially if you use some of the organic gardening tips I can teach.
Setting Up Irrigation For Water Conservation
Of course, your plants can’t be all about saving water. Sometimes, you just have to water them. But there are more and less efficient irrigation methods to water your garden.
Time Of Day
The time of day that you choose to water makes a huge difference in your water efficiency. Think about it for just a minute.
If you water in the middle of the day when it’s hot, your water evaporates faster and less gets to the plants so you end up using more. You should also avoid watering when it’s too windy or the water blows away.
Timers are one of my favorite methods of boosting the water efficiency of a garden. We’ve all set out sprinklers and forgotten to turn them off. Two hours later, as you wade through all the water to the spigot, you feel pretty dumb.
My favorite water saving timer is from Gilmor and it has four spigots so that you can actually set up four independent timers with one master controller. It’s easy to use and only costs around $50. The timer saved me way more money than that though.
A side benefit is that I also didn’t waste as much money on plants that died and my gardens look much better.
As amazing as timers are at saving water, microdrip systems are just as amazing. Check out my how to article on setting up a drip irrigation system if you want in depth knowledge.
Basically, a drip system puts the water directly at the plant you are trying to water. Instead of watering a huge area, you only water the plants. This gives you a massive water savings!!
Not only that but the weeds don’t grow as well either which is a nice side benefit to the water saving aspect of a drip system.
Saving Water In Your Bathroom
Stop and think for just a moment how many water sources are in your bathroom. I promise there are at least three…at least there should be. There is a sink faucet, a bathing area with either a shower or a tub, and a toilet.
You can easily see how your bathroom alone would account for a huge portion or your home’s overall water efficiency.
Low Flow Shower Heads
A standard shower head puts out 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) while a low flow showerhead cannot put out more than 2.0 gpm. While that doesn’t sound like a lot of difference, that is 5 gallons less water over the course of a 10 minute shower.
This magic doesn’t come at a premium anymore and in fact, utility companies sometimes give them out for free. This is a simple way to save money on your energy bills and reduce your water usage.
For help changing your showerhead, check out my step by step post.
Water Saving Toilets
You will see water saving toilets also marketed as “low flow” toilets in most home improvement stores. Toilets are measured in how many gallons of water per flush (gpf) the toilet uses.
In 1994, the EPA decided that toilets should use no more than 1.6 gpf as a standard. That goal has been surpassed however. Now, toilets are commonly found around 1.2 gpf.
If you are even more concerned about water savings, you can find toilets that use less than 1 gpf even. There are dual flush toilets that you can select how many gallons are used, depending on how much waste is in the toilet.
These water savings don’t necessarily come at a premium either. You can afford a water efficient toilet for as little as $50 more than a standard toilet. It’s well worth it for the savings in your energy bills.
Water Efficient Faucets
The third major point of water savings in a bathroom is the faucet. Bathroom faucets usually use somewhere around 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) and that adds up fast.
Water sense faucets use around 1.5 gpm and they don’t show any noticeable difference in functionality. They have clever features and good design styles so that you wouldn’t even know it was a more efficient faucet.
Just changing to one of these water sense faucets can save up to 700 gallons of water each year according to the EPA!
Water Saving Appliances
Considering how much water your use in the rest of your home, your appliances are responsible for one of the largest portions of that. Having a water efficient appliance makes an enormous difference in your overall efforts to save water each month.
Clothes Washing Machine
The washing machines of old used to use up to 40 gallons of water per load. I know, that is shocking to me as well. However, even with all of the technology today, washing machines that use over 20 gallons per load are not unheard of.
Consumer reports gives washing machines that use 13 gallons or less per load an excellent rating on their comparisons. Just using one of these excellent rated washing machines can add up to hundreds of gallons in water savings each year.
Have you ever listened to a dishwasher run? It sprays scalding hot water constantly at your dishes. So it’s no wonder that this is a huge area of opportunity.
Older dishwashers used more than 10 gallons of water per load. And hand washing your dishes, going back to faucets that produce at least 1.5 gpm, use the same amount of water every 7 minutes.
However, some new dishwashers use only 3 or 4 gallons per load! That’s an incredibly saving, even over hand washing. Features like a rinse option can make your dishwasher even better at saving water.
There are tons of opportunities to save water in your home. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet that will instantly make you more efficient. But if you add up a gallon here and there over time, you will be shocked at how much better you are at saving water.
You will save money on your bills but you will also help to preserve the planet that we live on. So, whatever your motivation, don’t hesitate to put some of these water saving techniques into action starting today.