4 Easy Ways to Save Water Around the House

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4 Easy Ways to Save Water Around the House

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Cut down on hydro costs by adopting these four easy fixes

Water restrictions are simply a way of life these days. While cities and districts across the country tend to focus restrictions on lawn watering and other cosmetic concerns, the push to conserve our most vital resource has stretched into the home sphere. 

Here are 4 things you can do around the house to conserve water, cut down on your hydro bill, and be a more responsible citizen as we reach the hottest and driest months of the year:

Optimize your dishwasher

When hand-washing or pre-rinsing dishes, we all have the tendency to leave the faucet on for longer than we should. But what most owners don’t realize is that this is wasting inordinate amounts of water. In fact, standard-efficiency kitchen faucets use up to 3 gallons of water per minute when left on full blast – a number that is disproportionate to the efficiency of dishwashers.

Energy Star-rated dishwashers are, on average, 15-20 percent more water efficient than standard models, and cut down significantly on water consumption. In fact, most Energy Star rated models use between 4 to 6 gallons of water per cycle – which covers roughly 2 minutes of faucet running time. And while we all had parents who reminded us to ‘pre-rinse’ dishes before putting them in the dishwasher (or was that just me?), modern dishwashers have sensors that optimize washing cycles for dirty dishes. Pre-rinsing is a thing of the past.

With dishes one of the biggest culprits in the water wasting game, there are simple and easy ways for homeowners to cut down on waste and ensure that dishes come out sparkling dry.

Replace your old faucets and shower head

It’s something we’ve all considered doing at some point or another, but summer is the perfect time to overhaul your bathroom fixtures. Modern shower heads are both far more efficient and far more user-friendly, with gallons-per-minute rates cut down nearly in-half by WaterSense showerheads. Their multitude of spray options also make for a more customized and enjoyable experience, and at what is generally a modest cost.

It would also help to take shorter showers (limiting yours to 5 minutes can save up to 20 gallons of water compared to a 15-minute one), but we’ll leave that lifestyle decision up to you. 

And if you’ve been humming and hawing over replacing your kitchen or bathroom faucet, don’t wait until you see dripping or corrosion on the steel before making the change. Modern faucets cut water usage by nearly 500 gallons of water per year, and are generally made from more durable and wear-resistant material.

If you’re doing laundry, pick the appropriate cycle setting and use the right amount of detergent

It takes a special kind-of person to enjoy doing the laundry, and if you’re like us, you probably just find the cycle option you’re most comfortable with, and hope for the best. But laundry – especially in a larger household with kids and messy clothes – is perhaps the most egregious water culprit in the household.

The first step to prevent laundry water waste is to familiarize yourself with your washer settings, and what your laundry loads require. There is no such thing as ‘underwashing’ when it comes to clothes, so picking a small load setting if you’re washing a few sets of gym clothes or kids uniforms at the last minute won’t lead to a failed wash. If anything, the cycle will finish much quicker.

To that end, most modern laundry machines have automatic load sensors that can sense and adjust for the volume you put in. So if replacing an older washing machine is in the budget, it’s a solid investment.

There is also the matter of detergent levels – and how important it is to measure them out properly. Too much detergent can lead to loads that are heavily soapy, which require a greater quantity of water to fully rinse out. Familiarize yourself with the detergent requirements of your particular brand, and stick to them. Sometimes, less is more.

Hand-water your lawn

Surely we’ve evolved beyond the need for rotating sprinklers that run non-monitored on the lawn for hours at a time? With most cities and districts placing strict watering restrictions on such processes, it’s clear that city planners know that these are some of the most egregious water wasters around. While the easiest way to cut down on water usage on your lawn is to replace grass with less-demanding mulch, rocks, or ornamental grasses, we acknowledge that many homeowners love the look of a freshly-watered green lawn. 

So why not take 10 minutes in the morning, hook up a hose nozzle with adjustable pressure settings and an automatic shut-off, and hand-water the lawn. With a cup of coffee in hand and music or an audiobook playing in your earbuds, it can be extremely therapeutic and calming. Plus, it ensures that the lawn is getting the water it needs, in evenly distributed quantities. Bonus points if you do it in the morning or at dusk, when the water absorbs more and is slower to evaporate.

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