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A lot has been written about reducing our carbon footprints by using green energy resources like solar power and biogas. The way we use water in our homes makes just as important an impact on our environment. The average family of four in our country uses approximately 146,000 gallons of water a year. And we take our access to clean drinking water for granted, even though a large part of the western part of our country has been battling droughts and depleting water supplies for years.
Unless we make conscientious decisions on a household level about conserving water immediately, that situation is sure to worsen. Here are some easy and effective ways to reduce water usage in homes.
Turn faucets off
We often tend to leave our water faucets on unnecessarily while doing day-to-day things. And this is something we often do not even realize. Start making sure you turn off faucets when you shave, brush your teeth, wash dishes by hand, and do other things around the house that do not need the faucet to be running nonstop.
The average bathroom faucet runs around 2 gallons of water a minute. Imagine the amount of water you can save by just turning off the faucet.
Leaking toilets, faucets and bad plumbing can waste upwards of 200 gallons of water a day. Tending to leaks around the house as soon as you notice them will not only save water but will also save you money on your water bills.
Time your showers
We all like to luxuriate under the shower. But remember that a regular shower uses between five to ten gallons of water per minute. So the longer you stay under the shower, the more water is being wasted.
Try and take shorter showers. Time your showers and limit them to under five minutes.
Reuse and repurpose water
A lot of water that can be reused is wasted more often than not. Take for example the water you use to wash fruits and vegetables, or the water that gets wasted while you wait for warm water in the shower.
All of that wastewater can be collected and used for watering plants in your garden.
Upgrade your appliances
Outdated dishwashers and washing machines tend to use a lot more water than newer models do.
Upgrading to newer, more energy-efficient models will reduce the amount of water, power, and detergent used to do your laundry and your dishes.
More than 20% of the water used domestically is used to do laundry, considering the average household washes around 300 loads of laundry a year. So the kind of washing machine you use will play a large role in conserving water.
As a rule, front load machines use less water than top-loading washing machines do. However, irrespective of the type of loading you prefer, make sure you buy an Energy Star certified washing machine. These washing machines use up to 40% less water than conventional models.
A simple way to save water while using dishwashers is to scrape waste food off of plates and dishes instead of rinsing them before putting them in the washer.
If you normally don’t run full loads of dishes regularly, consider buying a smaller dishwasher.
Get WaterSense certified fixtures
The EPA certifies fixtures with improved water efficiency with the WaterSense label. Look out for these labels while buying bathroom fixtures.
For example, a WaterSense certified toilet uses between 1.28 to 1.6 gallons of water per flush as opposed to the 6 gallons of water older toilets use.
Showering is another thing that uses a lot of water: upwards of 40 gallons a day for a family of four. A normal showerhead uses upwards of 2.5 gallons of water per minute. That can be reduced to below 2 gallons a minute by using WaterSense certified showerheads.
Reduce your water usage on your kitchen and bathroom faucets by attaching WaterSense certified faucet aerators to them. These aerators introduce bubbles to the water and give you a smoother, more efficient flow while using considerably less water.
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Get smart about irrigation
Inefficient garden irrigation practices are another major cause of water wastage. Here are some simple ways to reduce that wastage.
You can save a lot of water by watering your garden the old-fashioned way by hand instead of using an automatic irrigation system.
If you are going to use an irrigation system, upgrade to the high-efficiency rotor sprinkler system. This is more efficient than the conventional mist sprinkler system. The rotor system shoots jets of water at a slower pace, increasing penetration and reducing drift.
Harvesting rainwater is one of the smartest ways to irrigate your garden without incurring repeated costs on the water used.