Becoming more water-wise can help you save money and help the environment. That’s a win-win. And the best part is that some of the easiest ways to save water often require only a slight change in our daily habits. Here are five ways to get started.
1. Consider composting
Kitchen sink disposals usually need lots of water to run smoothly. In addition, garbage disposals can add up to 50 percent of the solids in a septic tank, which in turn can cause them to malfunction and add to maintenance costs. Instead of using the garbage disposal, consider starting a composting bin for your leftover food.
2. Set your lawn mower to the right height
Raising the blade on your lawn mower to a minimum of three inches or to its highest setting may help your lawn grow deeper roots and shade the root system. This holds in moisture and requires less frequent watering than lawns with really short grass.
3. Check for leaks
Water leaks mean money down the drain. Check your indoor appliances (the ones that use water) for leaks by monitoring your meter over a two-hour period. Begin by noting your current meter reading, then stop all water use and check your meter again two hours later. If the reading isn't the same, you've got a leak. You may also want to consider fixing any irrigation system leaks. Keep an eye out for unusually high water bills that might alert you to these potential leaks.
4. Use a pan instead of running the tap
Rinsing your food doesn't require much water, but using the tap may waste more water than what you need. Instead of rinsing food and vegetables using a steady stream, consider collecting water in a shallow pan and rinsing all the food in it. Another option, if you don't want to rinse all of your food in the same water, is to collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables and use it to water your plants.
5. Replacing (or displacing!) older toilets
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toilets use more water than anything else in our homes (30 percent).1 If you have an older toilet, you can take a plastic bag or bottle weighted with pebbles and water and place it in the tank. By displacing the water in this way, you use less water with each flush. That said, if your toilet was installed before 1992, chances are you may need to go beyond the displacement route and it may be time for an upgrade. Newer, water-efficient models use only 1.6 gallons per flush. Now you are saving water instead of flushing it down the drain.