Turn Off the Tap When You Brush Your Teeth
Depending on your commitment to dental health, most individuals spend 2-4 minutes in front of the sink brushing their teeth each day. Letting the faucet run as you clean your pearly whites may not seem like a big deal, and chances are you don’t even realize the water is on during this time, but just one minute of brushing with the faucet turned on uses more than a gallon of water.
In fact, over the course of the year, this equals out to more than 1400 gallons of water, enough to fill your bathtub roughly 30 times. Being mindful of how long and how often you run the water is a simple task that can have a substantial impact on your energy bill.
Only Wash Full Loads in the Dishwasher and Washing Machine
When it comes to washing linens and clothes, make sure that you are running full loads of laundry only. With the average top loading washing machine using 40 gallons of water per cycle, running your washing machine for half loads or single items contributes to hundreds of gallons of water and money wasted.
One way to lower your water bill when doing laundry is to skip the extra rinse cycle. Most washing machines have an option for an extra rinse but using the right amount of soap can give you the same results without using excess water. If your home has hard water, your appliances may be working harder than they need to. Installing a water softener can also help give you cleaner clothes with less water used.
Cutting down on the number of laundry loads each week can also help you save on water and money. Reusing your bath and dish towels for multiple washes and waiting until your laundry basket is full to run a load are great ways to minimize water waste. In addition, cutting down on the number of loads washed each week may free up some time normally spent on household chores.
Reuse Water When Possible
Just like reusing dish and bath towels helps lower your energy use, collecting and using water from rainfalls can translate to big savings on your energy and utility bills each month. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), just one rain barrel can save homeowners as much as 1,300 gallons of water in the summer months. In particularly rainy climates, you may even collect enough water to feed your indoor and outdoor plants throughout the spring and summer.
Water Your Lawn Sparingly
When it comes to watering your lawn, many homeowners believe more is better. You may be surprised to learn your lawn doesn’t need to be watered as often as you think. In fact, nearly 50% of water used outdoors is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation systems. Watering too often for too long can lead to a higher monthly utility bill and is a welcome mat for diseases in plants, insect infestations, and thatch problems.
Even a brief sprinkling every day is ineffective because water evaporates quickly and can lead to shallow root systems in the ground. Instead, you should water your lawn deeply once a week for roughly an hour or so, just long enough for it to soak down into the roots where moisture is needed most.
One simple way to tell when your lawn has been watered well enough is to place an empty tuna can on your lawn prior to turning on your hose or sprinkler. When the can is full, you’ve given your lawn about an inch of water, which is the amount needed to reach the roots.
Another trick to cut down on water usage is to water your lawn at the time of day when the temperature is lowest – typically in the early morning or late evening. This reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation.