We don’t turn off the tap when brushing our teeth; we leave the cold water tap running while looking in the fridge for the cat food; or we keep meaning to fix the dripping bathtub faucet but never seem to get around to it. Conserving water is not only good for the environment but also can help reduce your utility bills. The most important reason to conserve water is to preserve this vital resource for future generations. Here are some useful tips for conserving water indoors.
Know how much water you use.
If you don’t know approximately how much water you use in a month or a year, finding out is a good place to start. Conduct a water usage audit using the tools and suggestions that can be found on websites such as the Alliance for Water Efficiency or the Water Conservation Calculator. Once you know where you’re using water the most and how high your carbon footprint is, you can come up with a plan to reduce your water consumption.
Know where the master shut-off valve is located.
A lot of water can escape in the time it takes to try to locate a shut-off valve. If a toilet does overflow or the washing machine starts spewing water all over the place, knowing where the master shut-off valve is located can prevent the situation from becoming worse. Ensure everyone in the household knows where the shut-off valves are including the ones close to the source such as in the bathroom next to the tub or under the sink.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances.
Toilets manufactured before 1992 can use up to four times the amount of water per flush than energy-efficient ones. When replacing old toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers or ones that aren’t working competently any more select new energy-efficient appliances. Replacing facets and showerheads with water-saving models can help cut water usage and conserve water.
Don’t run water continuously.
Another way to reduce how much water you use indoors is to be aware of when and how long you allow water to run from a tap. You can reduce water usage by:
- Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your face, or hand-washing
- Turning off the tap when washing dishes
- Reducing the length of a shower by two minutes
- Keeping a container of water in the fridge instead of running the cold water faucet
- Using a bowl of water rather than allowing water to run while cleaning and preparing vegetables
- Thawing foods in the refrigerator (don’t use running hot water)
Recycle unused fresh water.
Instead of allowing water to run down the drain when you’re running the tap to get the right temperature, for example, a shower or making gravy, capture the water and use it as drinking water for pets or to water plants around the house.
Wash only full loads.
Run the dishwasher or the washing machine only when they’re full. It doesn’t matter how many dishes, the dishwasher utilizes the same amount of water per load. Wash clothes using the appropriate water/load size settings.
Keep pipes and faucets leak-free.
Inspect toilets, faucets, and pipes regularly for leaks.
Check the toilet for leaks by putting a few drops of food colouring in the tank. Wait 10 minutes and then look in the toilet bowl – if you see coloured water in the bowl, the toilet is leaking.
To check if sinks have sprung a leak, turn on the tap and then watch underneath the sink while the water is running. Look for any leakage or a ring of moisture around where pipes connect.
A leaking pipe might not be easily detected. A major clue is your utility bill – when the water bill is consistently high and then spikes remaining high, there’s probably a leaking pipe somewhere in the system. Follow the length of each exposed pipe to find the source of the leak. Mold, a musty smell, and stained walls or floors are also signs that a leak is present.