Many people wonder why it’s necessary to prevent water waste. More than 70% of the planet is covered with water, so shouldn’t there be enough to go around? While there is abundant water, there isn’t that much for people to use safely. Over 96% of all water is salt water, which you can’t drink. Of the available fresh water, less than 1% is actually available for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing. Most freshwater is locked into the ground, glaciers, and ice caps, or even the atmosphere. As the population of the world continues to grow and weather patterns make water scarce in some areas or seasons, the importance of preventing water waste grows over time. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do at home to help prevent water from being wasted on your property.
1. Run Only Full Loads
Whenever you run your dishwasher or washing machine, make sure they’re full before you start them. In both cases, with full loads, your home uses less water, and detergent is put to more effective use. Unless you have dishes with something truly caked on, it’s best to avoid pre-rinsing. Dishwashers actually use less water than if you do it by hand. Separating laundry loads into colors and hot or cold loads still makes sense, but you should only wash each load when it’s full or close to it. Fortunately, this should mean fewer chores for you and your family since full loads wash everything faster.
2. Take Showers, but Keep Them Short
One very effective way to prevent water waste in your home is to take showers instead of baths. One bath might use as much as 40 gallons of water. A shower might take half that much. You can reduce your water use in a shower with a low-flow shower head. This is one strategy you can adopt as a homeowner or a renter. You can find them through home improvement stores, but your local plumber might also have options and can even do the installation for you. The right flow restrictor can reduce shower flow from 5 – 10 gallons a minute to just 3 gallons a minute, but that’s still more than enough to get clean and feel refreshed in your shower.
3. Use These Toilet Tricks
Your home’s toilets might be the biggest source of water use in your home, but you can do lots of things to keep down the overall amount. For starters, check for leaks in every toilet you own. Take the cover off your toilet tank, and grab some food coloring. Put just a few drops into the tank. If the coloring starts showing up in your bowl without any flushing, then you’ve probably got a leak present. That might waste several gallons of water every single day.
Another way to save water going through your toilet is to avoid using the toilet as a trash basket or ashtray. Every time you toss in a tissue, cigarette butt, or other item and then flush, you use 5 – 7 gallons of water unless you have a low-flow toilet. Even then, you’re still wasting water that didn’t need to be used in the first place.
One interesting trick is a very simple one. Get some sand or pebbles and a 1-liter bottle. Weight the bottle at the bottom with 1 or 2 inches of your material, and then place it into a corner of the toilet tank away from the physical operating mechanism. This will mean the toilet tank doesn’t need as much water to fill up, and you can save 5 gallons of water daily or even more.
4. Make Turning the Water Off a Habit Everyone Follows
Everyone in your home might use more water than they realize while just doing basic things on a daily basis. Instead of running water while brushing your teeth, wet the brush in advance and fill up a glass to rinse out your mouth. If you shave manually, fill up the sink bottom with several inches of hot water for rinsing out your razor. Use a sink or bowl full of clean water to rinse fruits and veggies instead of doing it under a constantly running faucet. Keep a bottle or pitcher of drinking water in your fridge instead of running the faucet long enough to get cooler water.
5. Manage Your Yard Right
When the time comes to change the landscape around your home, try to utilize plants appropriate to your climate. You can create quite a stunning landscape with plants that are visually attractive but also drought-resistant. There are many trees, shrubs, plants, and grasses that don’t need much water to thrive or survive. Just planting these can reduce the amount of water your landscape needs by half.
When you do water, consider giving the plants only what they need. Automated irrigation systems use a lot of water. If you have one, adjust the irrigation controller on a monthly basis to account for any weather changes and rain patterns. You can even find irrigation controllers that identify landscape conditions and weather patterns to manage water levels appropriately. You can implement even more technology to manage your irrigation, such as humidity sensors, soil moisture sensors, and rain shutoff devices.
If you just use sprinklers, make sure that their water lands on the actual garden or lawn. Sprinkler water that lands on pavement, vehicles, or your home isn’t an efficient use of the resource. Also, try not to do watering on windy days when the air might carry the water away. A layer of mulch around plants and trees can help prevent moisture in the soil from evaporating into the air. That makes it more likely plants can get it out of the ground when they need it.
Why Is Preventing Water Waste Important?
Preventing water waste is crucial for many reasons. An obvious one should be keeping your water bill down. It might not be the biggest bill you get every month, but every dollar counts these days. Safely maintaining the local water supply also means you can continue to enjoy certain services that need water to operate. That includes everything from fire departments to local community swimming pools. It also helps the environment since 3% of all national energy use goes directly to water preparation and treatment.
Professional Options Are Available
Aside from the air you breathe, water is the most crucial element in supporting human life. However, it’s a limited commodity. Shortages already happen in many areas, and there will be more in the future if this important resource isn’t managed properly. Doing your part to prevent water waste can help us get through times when supplies might be limited or restricted. These five steps will make your home a place where water is preserved, but there are also things that professionals can help you with. If you live in the San Jose, CA area, consult with our experts at Plumbtree Plumbing & Rooter about water heaters and plumbing fixtures. We handle a full range of water, gas, and sewer services. For any of these options, contact us at Plumbtree Plumbing & Rooter today.