Around the House
- Of the total household water use, the washing machine constitutes about 14 percent.
- When using an automatic washing machine (32 to 59-gallons are required per cycle), wash only a full load.
- If your machine has several load settings, use the one for light loads whenever you can.
- Use cold water as often as possible to save energy and to conserve the hot water for uses which cold water cannot serve. (This is also better for clothing made of today's synthetic fabrics.)
In the Bathroom
- About 75 percent of the water in the home is used in the bathroom. Put these conservation tips to work.
- Showers usually use less water than tub baths. Do this the next time you shower: Plug the drain and compare the water level with the level you would use for a tub bath. This will give you a good idea as to how much water you save with a shower.
- Install a showerhead that restricts the amount of flow. You can reduce the amount of water used from about five gallons per minute to approximately two-and-a-half gallons per minute and the new, or modified, shower head will pay for itself in a short time.
- Take shorter showers. Turn the water off while soaping and back on again only to rinse.
- Don't use hot water when cold will do. Save water and energy by washing hands with soap and cold water; add hot water only when hands are especially dirty.
- If you have no shower and must take tub baths, reduce the level of the water you have been using by one or two inches.
- When brushing your teeth, turn off the water until you need to rinse your mouth.
- Even when washing hands, don't let the water run. Wet hands, turn off the water while soaping and scrubbing, and turn it on again to rinse.
- Shampoo your hair in the shower. It takes little more water than for the bath, and much less than a separate shampoo will use.
- When shaving, pond hot water in the basin instead of letting the faucet run.
- Your commode could be leaking without your knowing it. Do this: Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the tank, but do not flush. Now watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl within a few minutes. If it does, the fixture needs adjustment or repair.
- Weight two one-quart plastic bottles with stones or fill with water and replace caps, and lower them into the tank of the commode. This will reduce the amount of water in the tank but still provide enough for flushing. (Bricks, which some people use for this purpose, are not recommended since they crumble eventually and could damage the working mechanism, necessitating a call to the plumber.)
- Install faucet aerators to cut water consumption.
- Never use the commode to dispose of cleansing tissues, cigarette butts or other trash. This can waste a great deal of water and also places an unnecessary load on your sewage treatment plant.
- If you are building a new home or remodeling a bathroom, install a new 3 1/2-gallon commode rather than the conventional 5 to 6 gallon fixture.
In the Kitchen
- About 11 percent of in-home water use takes place in the kitchen, much of it wasted. Here are some tips for saving:
- When cooking, use a pan of water (or stopper the sink) for rinsing pots and pans and cooking implements rather than turning on the water faucet each time a rinse is needed.
- Never run your dishwasher without a full load. In addition to saving water, you'll find that your expensive detergent goes a lot further, and a significant energy saving will show up on the utility bill.
- Use your sink disposal sparingly, and never for just a few scraps.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water from the tap until it is cool is a waste. Better yet, save both water and energy by keeping cold water in a picnic jug on a kitchen counter to avoid needlessly opening the refrigerator door.
- When cleaning vegetables, use a small pan of cold water rather than letting the faucet run.
- For cooking most food, use only a little water in the pot and put a lid on it. Not only does this method save water, but also food is more nutritious since you don't pour vitamins and minerals down the drain with the extra cooking water.
- If you hand wash dishes, use a pan of water for rinsing rather than a running faucet. Keep water conservation in mind always and think of other ways you can save in the kitchen. Do you make too much coffee or tea and pour the excess down the drain? Are ice cubes left to melt in the sink? Even small kitchen savings like those can add up in a year's time.
- In the State of Texas the average homeowner over waters their yard by approximately 50%. This calculates to about 8,500 gallons per month. This not only wastes water, but also causes the consumer to pay a larger water bill than is necessary. Water is a finite resource so it is critical that we at Garland Water Utilities know and understand how our citizens need and use water. As we review the use of water by our customers we find the most prevalent use of water is outdoor watering and water used on landscaping. We would like to encourage our customers to become educated consumers and save money on their water bill by using these tips:
- Water your lawn early in the morning during the hot months. Much of the water used on the lawn can simply evaporate between the sprinkler and the grass. (Watering late in the day to avoid evaporation can invite plant disease.
- Use a sprinkler that produces drops of water rather than a fine mist, to avoid evaporation.
- If you use a soaker hose, turn it so the holes are on the bottom to avoid evaporation.
- Water slowly for better absorption, and never on windy days.
- Forget about watering the streets or walks or driveways. They won't grow a thing.
- Condition the soil with compost before planting grass or flowerbeds so that water will soak in rather than running off.
- Fertilize lawns at least twice a year for root stimulation. Grass with good root systems make better use of less water.
- Learn to know when your grass needs watering. If it has turned a dull gray-green and when footprints remain visible as you walk across it, it's time to water. Don't water too frequently. Too much water can overload the soil so that air cannot get to the roots, and can encourage plant diseases.
- Don't over-water. Soil can absorb only so much moisture and the rest simply runs off. A timer will help, and either your kitchen timer or an alarm clock will do. An inch-and-a-half of water applied once a week will keep most Texas grasses alive and happy.
- Automatic sprinkler systems should be operated only when the demand on your town's water supply is lowest. Set the system to operate between four and six a.m.
- Don't scalp your lawn during hot weather. Taller grass holds moisture better. Grass cut fairly often, so that only 1/2 to 3/4 inch is trimmed off will produce a better-looking lawn.
- If small areas in your yard need more frequent watering (those near walks or driveways or in especially hot, sunny spots), use watering can or hand water with the hose only in those areas.
- Learn what types of grass, shrubbery and plants do best in your area, and in which parts of your yard, and then plant accordingly. If you have a heavily shaded yard, no amount of water will make the roses bloom. In especially dry sections of the state, consider attractive arrangements of plants that like arid or semi-arid climates.
- You don't have to be a horticulturist to have an attractive yard, but do learn about the plants you have so that you can water just enough to keep them healthy, and not enough to waste water and injure the plants.
- Consider decorating areas of your yard with rocks, gravel, wood chips, or other materials which are now available and which require no water at all.
- Never "sweep" your walks and driveways with the hose. Use a broom or rake.
- When washing the car, use a bucket of soapy water and use the hose only for rinsing.
- Remember that saving water also saves energy. About 50 percent of the water used in a home is hot water. Providing energy to fuel your hot water heater is a major drain on your utility bill. So save water and you save energy and money at the same time.
More Household Tips
- If you are considering the purchase of any new appliance that uses water, check water requirements of various models and brands. Some use less water than others.
- Check all water line connections and faucets for leaks. If you pay $2.48 per 1,000 gallons of water, you could be paying a rather hefty sum for water that simply goes down the drain because of leakage. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water EACH DAY, or 5,000 gallons per month and can add as much as $12.40 per month extra to your water bill.
- Learn to replace faucet washers so that drips can be corrected promptly. It is easy to do, costs very little, and can represent a substantial sum saved in plumbing and water bills.
- You may have a water leakage of which you are entirely unaware - a leak between the water meter and the house, for example. It's easy to check. Turn off all faucets, indoors and out, and then check your water meter. If it continues to run, you need to check for a leak.
- Insulate all hot water pipes (especially if you are building a new house) to avoid long delays (and wasted water) while you wait for the water to "run hot."
- Be sure your hot water heater thermostat isn't set too high. Extremely hot settings waste water and energy when the water has to be cooled with cold water before you can use it.
- Use a moisture meter to determine when your houseplants need a drink. More plants die from over-watering than from being on the dry side.