Yes, summer is definitely here. A St. Louis summer, all hot, muggy and dry. Now’s a good time to think green, or in this case, wet. Water conservation. Not only does it save on a natural resource, it can save you money and help prevent pollution.
In 1990, 30 U.S. states reported “water-stress” conditions. In 2009, it had risen to 45. As you can see, the water supply trend is getting worse, that’s why conserving water is so important. Are you ready to save some water? Let’s take a look at some tips for doing just that.
- How are your faucets? If they drip, drip, drip, you could be wasting 20 gallons of water a day. Or more! Yep. Check those faucets and pipes for leaks and get them fixed as quickly as possible. Look at your water meter. Make note of its reading. Check again a few hours later when you know no water has been running. If the meter reading has increased, you likely have a leak somewhere.
- Limit your flushes. If you throw a tissue in the toilet, don’t waste water by flushing it alone. You’ll save five to seven gallons of water every time you don’t flush the toilet. You can also check for leaks by putting food coloring in the tank. If it shows up in the bowl within 30 minutes without flushing, there’s a leak. Most replacement parts are both cheap and easy to install.
- Save some water when you install low-flow shower heads. Regular heads can use 5-10 gallons a minute while the low-flow varieties are rated to use just 2.5 gallons per minute. This is the single best method for saving water in your home!
- And speaking of showers, take shorter ones! Turn off the water when you’re soaping up, then turn it on again when you need to rinse off. The average eight-minute shower uses 20 gallons of water. Over a year, the water used could wash 4,152 loads of laundry. Think you can shorten that shower to three minutes of water use?
- Garbage disposals use a lot of water to operate. Limiting their use can save water and limit solids in the waste system. Look into composting food waste.
- When brushing your teeth, wet your toothbrush, fill a glass with water (for rinsing), and turn off the faucet.
- Insulate your pipes with easy-to-install pre-slit foam pipe insulation. This will help provide hot water a bit more quickly, eliminating wasted water while you wait for it to heat up.
- Conserving water outdoors is much easier if you begin by making use of drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants. Native plants usually use less water and are more resistant to local plant diseases.
- Use about 2-4 inches of organic mulch around your plants to help the soil retain moisture. As an added bonus, it also discourages weed growth.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it. How can you tell? Step on the grass. If it bounces back, it’s all right. If not, it probably needs some water. Letting the grass grow a little longer than usual will help it retain moisture as well. Most lawns require about only about 1 inch of water per week.
- Early-morning watering is usually best as it reduces loss of water due to evaporation and also reduces the risk of fungus growth. Avoid watering on windy days.
Using water-saving items around your house could reduce your water use by 35%. The average household uses 130,000 gallons per year, so you’d be saving 44,000 on a yearly basis. That’s a major contribution to the cause!
So why not whet your appetite for some water conservation? As you can see, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to do!
Did You Know?
- Of all household water use, 75% occurs in the bathroom.
- By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population (5.3 billion people) will suffer from water shortages.
- Running a sprinkler for two hours uses about 500 gallons of water.
- When washing your vehicle, turning off the water between rinsings can save up to 150 gallons of water.
If you’re looking to make some home improvements, such as a bath or kitchen renovation, don’t forget Vantage can help with a number of lending options, including a Home Equity Line-of-Credit (HELOC). Rates are still very low and applying online is easy.