By Katie Houdek
With many parts of the country in some level of drought, it’s a good idea to conserve water wherever possible. When it comes to residential water usage there are numerous ways that we can all cutback. Some just require changes of habit but some might very well be your next home or landscaping project!
Fix the Leaks
Did you know that a leaky house can drip away up to 90 gallons a day? Common types of leaks can include dripping faucets, leaky valves. and worn out toilet flappers. Most leak problems can be remedied without breaking the bank. Often all that may be required is the replacement of some washers and gaskets or possibly the entire fixture. When you’ve fixed the problems you’re aware of, check the water meter. The meter should read the same after a few hours of no water usage. If it isn’t you can continue to check faucets, shower heads and toilets.
Perhaps your problem is a bit bigger than simply replaces some gaskets. It may be that you have a toilet that’s seen better days. It might be time to actually replace the whole thing. Look for a water-efficent model to further cut down your water usage. The right toilet can save more water that you could even imagine.
Low Water Landscaping
Americans use an average of 100 gallons of water a day at their place of residence. You might see that number and scoff at it wondering how that could possibly be possible. When you start thinking of showers, dish washers, and laundry you might start to see the gallons tick upward. But even factoring in those activities most residential water usage occurs outside. Your lawn, your flowers… they’re water beasts.
You can tackle this problem by degrees. If a complete overhaul of your landscaping isn’t an option start by making sure that you actually make the most water -efficient decisions you possibly can.
- Water between the hours of 4am and 9am
- This makes sure that you lose less water to evaporation but that you also give your plants the whole day to dry so they don’t rot or develop fungus.
- Additionally, the night before it would be smart to run your hose for a few minutes to run out what can be very hot water that has developed because of a sun-baked hose.
- Water your grass, not the street.
- This should seem like a no-brainer but pay attention to how many people are not only watering their lawn but their driveway, sidewalk, and street. Adjust your sprinkler(s) to ensure that you are being as efficient with your water as you possibly can be.
- Avoid runoff.
- If you see water beginning to run off onto the street or sidewalk it might want to consider changing the way you’re watering. Maybe it would work better for you to run your irrigation system at 4am for 10 minutes and then again at 5am for another 10 minutes. This would give your lawn a chance to absorb that water which will result in less waste.
- Rain barrels
- Rain barrels can be a great way to collect and use “free” water! They can also be a great way of creating less runoff that ends up bringing polluted water (fertilizer, pesticides, oils) to our waterways. They’re a great way to collect water that can be used for container plants, etc…
- Aerate your lawn
- Aerating your lawn periodically can help your soil absorb water more efficiently and reduce water runoff.
If you really want a great landscaping job to tackle you may be a great candidate for sustainable landscaping. A sustainable landscape is designed to be attractive and in accordance with the local climate and environment. A sustainable landscape in Houston will look dramatically different from one in Iowa and a sustainable landscape in Austin might look dramatically different from that one back down in Houston. The benefits of a sustainable landscape will directly impact the homeowners aw we’ll as their local communities.
It is possible to dramatically cut back on your water waste. Some of these methods require virtually no investment and actually pay themselves back quickly when it comes to water bill savings. Further, you’ll be saving on other utilities, such as gas, that are used to heat that water that drips right on out of that leaky faucet.
Have you started evaluating how you and your family uses water? Have you found any areas that you can cut back on water waste? Tell us what you’ve been up to and how you’ve addressed the problem in your home.