An In-Depth Look at Home Water Conservation
Want to live an eco-friendly life? The best way to reduce your footprint on the world starts with habits at home. Water consumption often gets overlooked, but big changes to our everyday water habits are needed to confront society’s growing water demand.
Now that we’re all spending more time at home thanks to COVID-19, water usage is surging. But there are plenty of easy ways to cut down on your water use, and many of them actually put money back in your pocket too.
Check out our room-by-room water guide below to learn how you can cut down on water consumption at home.
Cooking is a process that uses a lot of water. From washing the vegetables off to rinsing plates clean, almost every step of preparing a meal features H20. In order to cut down on water waste, there are two things to remember when you’re in the kitchen: a lot of the water can be reused, and some appliances actually save water.
Opting to steam rather than boil vegetables saves water and makes your dishes taste better, because steaming keeps more nutrients in your produce. The water you use to wash said produce can be caught and reused on indoor plants or in your garden. You can also compost, rather than garbage disposal, vegetable scraps to avoid getting the faucet involved.
Cooking water can also be reused on plants — or in other recipes. Many chefs recommend reusing pasta water to cook more pasta!
During cleanup, hand washing actually wastes a lot more water than dishwashing. Newer dishwashers also require less (if any) pre-rinsing, so make your life easier by sending plates and bowls straight to the appliance rather than hand rinsing first. For pots and pans that can’t fit in the dishwasher or have too much residue left behind, soak them overnight with soap and water rather than furiously rinsing them clean the night of. All of these cleanup habits will save you time, energy and water.
Most households use the majority of water in the bathroom. But you can cut down that waste with better bathroom habits.
Soaking in a tub might feel good, but it’s bad for the environment. You can save 315 gallons per week by opting for a 10 minute (or less) shower instead. Train your kids early on to skip baths and replace them with showers.
Maintaining appliances in the bathroom is also key. Over 900 billion gallons of water is lost to household leaks annually. Check your pipes and appliances for leaking water twice a month. You should also install a high-efficiency toilet, which will save up to 490 gallons of water per week.
The laundry is another home activity requiring a lot of water and electricity to run. By making a few changes to your routine, you can save a ton of time, water and money.
Only running full laundry loads is key to limiting water waste. If you do have to run a small laundry load for any reason, make sure to use the appropriate water level button on your machine. Also run loads on cold when you can — half the energy used during the wash process goes to heating the water.
Also, not every item needs to go to the hamper after single use. Towels and jeans are two examples of cloth that can be reused 2-3 times without washing. Ditch the dryer when you can and hang clothes on a drying rack. This will cut down on clothing shrinkage and electricity waste.
Water is essential for a fruitful and lush lawn, but that doesn’t mean you have to be wasteful to attain curb appeal. There’s a reason why many cities limit irrigation use during a drought — a lot of water waste happens outdoors, too.
Design your lawn with water conservation in mind. Using certain mulches helps catch and conserve water by reducing evaporation. You can also purchase drought-resistant plants, which by nature require less water to survive, such as aloe and geranium. Plants native to your area will also require less maintenance since they’re already adapted to the local weather conditions.
When clearing off your driveway, sweep with a broom rather than rinse with a hose. You should also check in on your irrigation system monthly and make sure the watering reflects seasonal recommendations. After all, you don’t need to water your lawn nearly as much in the winter as in the summer.
These actions are simple, yet extremely effective at helping you reduce your home water consumption. Do these and you’ll not only save money on water and energy costs, but you’ll help the environment as well.
Author bio: Karlyn McKell is a writer who specializes in the eco-living and home insurance spaces. She believes the best ingredients for fruitful living are passion, purpose and a commitment to sustainability.