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7 Simple Tips for Conserving Water in Your Home

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

One of the most important things you can do for your home and to help the environment is to conserve water. If everyone took part in water conservation, it would improve environmental health. Conserving water is a positive thing you can do for the planet. It's not always easy but it's doable. Even small changes make a difference.

Water is a resource that we take for granted until it runs out. In the year 2025, it's estimated that 1.8 billion people will live in areas of severe water shortage. So any action is better than ignoring the problem.

Let's look at a few easy steps you can take in your home to save water without sacrificing your lifestyle.

Fix that leak!

Fix that leak!

Fix Water Leaks

Leaking water is a waste, and it adds to your water bill. According to the Portland Water District, 27% of the water you use is from flushing the toilet. Could you be losing water and not know it? Check your toilets to see if the water is running and whether the water is leaking from the base of the tank.

How can you tell if you have a leak? Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank of your toilet and wait 15 minutes. Check the toilet bowl. If the water is colored, there's a leak. Also, check your outside faucets for leaks. If you have a leaky faucet, call a plumber to repair it and stop the waste.

Yeah, it's time for a new toilet.

Yeah, it's time for a new toilet.

Replace Old Toilets

Considering 27% of water usage comes from flushing the toilet, the toilet you have matters. An older toilet uses up to six gallons of water each flush while modern toilets use as little as 1.3 gallons each time you push down the handle. That's a considerable savings for the environment and your water bill. Toilet shopping may not be the most glamorous activity, but it will pay off with less water waste.

Make sure that dishwasher is full.

Make sure that dishwasher is full.

Be Selective about Running Appliances that Use Water

Question how often you use water-generating appliances. Do you really need to load the dishwasher for a few dishes or your washing machine to clean a few pieces of clothing?

Save the wash cycle until you have a full load. Then, set the washer to fill to a lower water level and use cooler water if you can. Stay away from the heavy-duty setting unless you have heavily soiled clothes, since it extends the wash cycle and uses more water.

These small changes can add up to a smaller water and electric bill and you're doing the environment a favor. Also, consider replacing your dishwasher if it's old. Modern, energy-saving dishwashers are more water-efficient. Same with your washing machine. Energy Star washers use up to 40% less water than a standard washing machine.

Turn Off the Water When You Brush Your Teeth

Do you stand in front of the sink with the water running while you brush your teeth? If you're brushing your teeth for a full two minutes, as you should be, lots of water flows past you. Turn off the spigot while you're brushing and turn it back on for the final rinse. Do that every day and you'll lower your total water usage over time.

Convert to Low-Flow Shower Heads

The kitchen and bathroom are the sites where most water waste occurs. After the toilet, showering uses the most water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an average-sized family uses up to 40 gallons of water daily through showering. A single shower with a conventional showerhead can use over 16 gallons of water.

One upgrade you can make to reduce water use is to install a low-flow showerhead or a WaterSense showerhead. These heads reduce water usage but still provide enough spray force to take a satisfying shower.

The Environmental Protection Agency also points out that the average shower takes around 8 minutes. Cut the time back to 5 minutes and make sure you're showering only once per day. Even better, take a bath. Baths use less water unless you jump in and out of the shower.

When washing your car, use a bucket instead of running the hose.

When washing your car, use a bucket instead of running the hose.

Use a Bucket When Washing Your Vehicle

It's a common practice for people to use a hose to wash their car. Don't be one of them. Instead, fill a bucket with water. Another option is to wash your car at a commercial car wash that recycles water. Shockingly, washing your car for 10 minutes with a garden hose can use up to100 gallons.

One way to reduce the impact is to add a nozzle that automatically shuts off the flow of water from your hose. This can drop water usage to as little as 30 gallons. Using a power washer can lower water use even more.

Don't Let the Sink Run

An energy-efficient dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand, but if you must handwash, don't let the water run continuously. Take advantage of the double sink system. Use one side for washing and one for rinsing. Also, keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge so you don't have to keep turning the faucet on and letting it run to cool the water down for drinking.

There Are Many Benefits to Conserving Water

Be conscious of the earth's resources and how you use them. The bonus of conserving water is you'll lower your water and electric bill too.


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.