Home Water Conservation: Save the Earth and Save Money

Reader Contribution by Meggie Haneckow
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“Water conservation is an important issue — and not just because we want to be environmentally responsible and because we want to keep our water bill as low as possible,” explains Sujoy Bhattacharya, Founder and CEO of Falls River Soap Company, a natural soap company based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Photo by Pixabay.com.

Large appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, consume the most water in your home, so they are important places to start any water-conservation efforts. Set the water level on your washing machine to match the size of your load. Try to avoid doing frequent small loads; whenever possible, run the machine only when you have a full load.

Did you know: You don’t need to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher! No, really. Hand rinsing dishes under the faucet uses 15-18 gallons of water per load. If your dishwasher has a pre-rinse cycle, try using it instead of hand rinsing. If a dish or two isn’t completely clean after the dishwasher cycle, finish the job by hand. Like the washing machine, only run the dishwasher when it’s full. If you have only a few dishes, you should try washing them by hand in the sink, rather than under a running faucet.

After you conquer savings with these major appliances, the bathroom offers the next biggest opportunity.

Make sure your toilets are all working efficiently. According to the American Water Works Association, the average American home loses 14 percent of all water used to leaks. While you are at it, it is important to remember, the toilet is not a garbage can.

When it’s time to get yourself clean, keep your showers as short as possible or turn the water off while shaving or scrubbing. Consider installing water-saver showerheads and faucets.

When taking a bath, close the drain while the water warms up then adjust the temperature. Watch the tub as it fills, and turn the water off.

Its summertime and I totally get that nothing is as refreshing as a cold glass of water, but don’t let the faucet run unnecessarily to get it. Put a container of water in the refrigerator instead; this way, you can have chilled water anytime you want.

Avoid running hot tap water over frozen food to defrost it; put it in the refrigerator the night before. Rethink any of the various activities you usually perform under running water—like washing vegetables or brushing your teeth. (A gallon of water a minute flows through a tap that’s only half open.) Use a dishpan or bowl of water instead of letting the tap run. Then pour the water from the bowl when watering your houseplants or garden.

Before pouring that half-filled glass of water down the sink, ask yourself where it could be put to good use? How about pouring it in the bowl for your favorite pet?

Each of us can make a big impact when it comes to water conservation. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home. Roughly 70 percent of this use occurs indoors. If everyone can make a few basic adjustments in household water consumption, you can save gallons of water and lots of dollars each year.

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