25 Ways to conserve Water in the Home and Yard
9/16/2015, 1:32 p.m.
Water conservation has become an essential practice in all regions, even in areas where water seems abundant. In addition to saving money on your utility bill, water conservation helps prevent water pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and local watersheds.
Conserving water can also extend the life of your septic system by reducing soil saturation, and reducing any pollution due to leaks. Overloading municipal sewer systems can also cause untreated sewage to flow to lakes and rivers. The smaller the amount of water flowing through these systems, the lower the likelihood of pollution. In some communities, costly sewage system expansion has been avoided by communitywide household water conservation.
Water conservation in the home...
Check faucets and pipes for leaks. A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.
Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.
Check your toilets for leaks. Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks. Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators. Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. "Low-flow" means it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
Put plastic bottles or float booster in your toilet tank. To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Or, buy an inexpensive tank bank or float booster. This may save ten or more gallons of water per day.
Be sure at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. If there is not enough water to get a proper flush, users will hold the lever down too long or do multiple flushes to get rid of waste. Two flushings at 1.4 gallons is worse than a single 2.0 gallon flush. A better suggestion would be to buy an adjustable toilet flapper that allow for adjustment of their per flush use. Then the user can adjust the flush rate to the minimum per flush setting that achieves a single good flush each time.
For new installations, consider buying "low flush" toilets, which use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5 gallons.