We’re willing to bet that you don’t go out of your way to waste water. Even with the best of intentions, however, more than 10,000 gallons of water per family is squandered each year (due to things like small household leaks). Since water is one of our most valuable resources, it’s in everyone’s best interest to look into ways to use it wisely.
There are steps you can take to implement lower water usage. If you are serious about going green, you might look into high-tech irrigation systems and super-low-flow toilets and shower heads. Even if you don’t want to shell out the money to replace or upgrade existing systems, there are numerous simple steps that can make a dramatic difference (and reduce your monthly water bill).
Small leaks, being small, can be difficult to catch. You might leak dozens of gallons of water a week before anyone notices. The good news is a few tools and a trip to your local hardware store can do wonders to cap the water waste.
…find a time when no one will be using water for a couple hours…
Your water meter is one of your best resources in determining whether or not you have a leak, especially if the leak happens to be small enough to evade immediate notice. Find a time when no one will be using water for a couple hours, say right before you pack the kids into the car to take them to day camp. When you return—after a period in which no one should have been in the home to use water—take another look at the water meter and see if there has been a change. If there has, then odds are you have a leak somewhere.
…drop of food coloring into the tank and wait ten minutes…
A common source of leaks is the toilet flapper. These weren’t built to last forever, and one that has outlived its usefulness might have the same effect as leaving a faucet running. If you suspect a leaky flapper, put a drop of food coloring into the tank and wait ten minutes. If the color leaks into your toilet bowl, you’ve diagnosed your problem—one that’s easy to fix with a new flapper.
When you think about it, we use water a lot—between needing it to survive, clean ourselves, and in our morning and/or evening rituals, such as shaving or brushing teeth. An easy way to conserve water is to only run the faucet when you need to—shutting it off during the periods when water would otherwise just be going down the drain. This can help save anywhere from eight to ten gallons a day. If you have kids, teach them to do the same—you’ll notice a difference on your water bill.
…filling your dishwasher to capacity…
It might seem wasteful to run the dishwasher, but handwashing even a few dishes and pans takes up the same amount of water as your appliance. Filling your dishwasher to capacity and relying on it rather than handwashing can save you both gallons and dollars in the long run.
The Ozarks is known for its rain, but we have had summers of drought in the past. If your lawn is looking a little dehydrated, there are ways to maintain the healthy green look, while being mindful of water usage. For instance, grass needs less water to look lush if you set the mower blade higher. This actually helps your grass become more drought-resistant by promoting root growth. Clippings should likewise be left on the lawn, as they act as a fertilizer, giving your lawn the nutrients it needs without increasing the need for water.
Fortunately, the plants and grasses in our area adapt to the local conditions. Excepting extreme cases, rain should be all your grass needs to remain healthy. Mulching around garden plants and trees can also help retain moisture, and combat the need to provide either with more water.
If a lawn absolutely needs to be watered, make sure that the water is going to the ground itself and not down the driveway. Since sunshine and wind like to hijack water, aim to water your lawn either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid losing water to the sun. Set spray levels as low as possible to give the wind fewer chances to make the water evaporate.
If you do have an irrigation system, be sure to check for leaks or refer to an HBA Home Pro for an inspection. Any hoses or sprinklers should be regularly checked, to ensure that the connection to the faucet is secure and the rubber washers are doing their job.
…reduce the amount of water consumption and the dollar figure…
These are just some of the steps you can take to help reduce the amount of water consumption in your house and the dollar figure on your bill. For more tips on water conservation, or to improve your home’s overall efficiency, visit HBAHomePros.com. There, you’ll find our comprehensive list of trusted local experts.