In the Kitchen…
- Scrape the dishes clean instead of rinsing them before washing. There is no need to rinse unless they are heavily soiled.
- Use a pan of water (or place a stopper in the sink) for washing and rinsing pots, pans, dishes, and cooking implements, rather than turning on the water faucet each time a rinse is needed.
- Never run the dishwasher without a full load. This practice will save water, energy, detergent, and money.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly or start a compost pile.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water from the tap until it is cool is wasteful. Better still, both water and energy can be saved by keeping cold water in a picnic jug on a kitchen counter to avoid opening the refrigerator door frequently.
- Use a small pan of cold water when cleaning vegetables, rather than letting the water run over them.
- Use only a little water in the pot and put a lid on it for cooking most food. Not only does this method save water, but food is more nutritious since vitamins and minerals are not poured down the drain with the extra cooking water.
- Always keep water conservation in mind, and think of other ways to save in the kitchen. Small kitchen savings from not making too much coffee or letting ice cubes melt in a sink can add up in a year’s time.
In the Bathroom…
- Install a low-flow showerhead that limits the flow from the shower to less than three gallons per minute.
- Take short showers and install a cutoff valve, or turn the water off while washing and back on again only to rinse.
- Take a shower instead of taking a bath. Showers with low-flow showerheads often use less water than taking a bath.
- Reduce the level of the water being used in a bathtub by one or two inches if a shower is not available.
- Shampoo hair in the shower. Shampooing in the shower takes only a little more water than is used to shampoo hair during a bath and much less than shampooing and bathing separately.
- When remodeling a bathroom, install a new low-volume flush toilet that uses only 1.6 gallons per flush.
- Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet to the water in the tank, but do not flush the toilet. Watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl within a few minutes. If it does, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
- Use a toilet tank displacement device such as a toilet dam or bag. Also, a plastic bottle can be filled with stones or water, recapped, and placed in the toilet tank. These devices will reduce the volume of water in the tank but will still provide enough for flushing. (Bricks are not recommended since they eventually crumble and could damage the working mechanism.) Displacement devices are not recommended with new low-volume flush toilets.
- Never use the toilet to dispose of cleansing tissues, cigarette butts, or other trash. This wastes a great deal of water and also places an unnecessary load on the sewage treatment plant or septic tank.
- Do not use hot water when cold will do. Water and energy can be saved by washing hands with soap and cold water. Hot water should be added only when hands are especially dirty.
- When brushing teeth, turn the water off until it is time to rinse.
- Do not let the water run when washing hands. Water should be turned off while washing and scrubbing and be turned on again to rinse. A cutoff valve may be installed on the faucet.
- When shaving, fill the lavatory basin with hot water instead of letting the water run continuously.
- Install faucet aerators to reduce water consumption.
In the Laundry…
- Wash only a full load when using an automatic washing machine (32 to 59 gallons are required per load).
- Whenever possible, use the lowest water-level setting on the washing machine for light or partial loads.
- Use cold water as often as possible to save energy and to conserve the hot water for uses that cold water cannot serve. (This is also better for clothing made of today’s synthetic fabrics.)
For Appliances and Plumbing…
- Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Some use less water than others.
- Check all waterline connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water EACH DAY, or 5,000 gallons per month, and will add to the water bill.
- Learn to repair faucets so that drips can be corrected promptly. It is easy to do, costs very little, and can mean a substantial savings in plumbing and water bills.
- Check for hidden water leakage such as a leak between the water meter and the house. To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10 to 20 minute intervals. If it continues to run or turn, a leak probably exists and needs to be located.
- Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce the delays (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for the water to “run hot.”
- Be sure the water heater thermostat is not set too high. Extremely hot settings waste water and energy because the water often has to be cooled with cold water before it can be used.
- Use a moisture meter to determine when house plants need water. More plants die from over-watering than from being on the dry side.