Our use of water rises with the temperature. Our lawns are thirstier and all those summertime activities amount to more showers and laundry. Here are some easy steps to conserve our most precious natural resource and trim your water bills during what will no doubt be another sweltering Indiana summer.
Curb water waste outside
Determined to maintain greenest turf in the neighborhood, many people use entirely too much water on their lawns and landscaping. Much of it ends down storm drains or evaporates before has a chance to properly soak the ground. Here’s how to keep it green with minimal water:
- Aim your sprinklers so that they’re only spraying grass and plants. There’s no sense watering the sidewalk, street or driveway.
- Water your lawn early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Is your irrigation system on a timer? Pay attention to the local weather report and turn it off before it rains. Better yet, upgrade to a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller, which has a sensor to determine when your lawn needs watering, saving the average home nearly 8,800 gallons annually.
- Place barrels under your downspouts to capture rainwater. Use it to irrigate trees and shrubs.
- Mulch it up. Mulch not only acts as an effective weed-blocker, it retains moisture.
Use water wiser inside
Faucets flow during summertime. Hosting family and guests puts more demand on your water supply. The washing machine barely gets a break from kids’ clothes soiled from outside playtime. And those extra showers to rinse off the sticky humidity-induced sweat can add up. Here’s how to reduce your usage indoors.
- Shave a couple minutes off your showers. A 5-minute shower will save about 1,750 gallons of water per person in the house. And give baths a break. Taking a bath requires 70 gallons as opposed to a shower, which only uses 20 to 25.
- Inspect your plumbing. Just one drip per second equals 2,700 gallons a year, so get that leaky faucet fixed. Tackle toilets, too. That mysterious flushing sound you hear when no one is in the bathroom is a sign that your tank is losing water. A professional plumber can fix these problems and give your plumbing system a thorough once-over to see if there are any other red flags.
- Upgrade plumbing fixtures. Old toilets use 5 gallons per flush. Because flushing accounts for most of the water used in our homes, it would pay to upgrade to water-efficient models. Modern commodes use only 2 gallons per flush. Likewise, WaterSense-labeled faucets can save the average family up to 700 gallons a year.
- Use the dishwasher. Washing by hand wastes nearly 30 gallons, whereas an Energy Star dishwasher needs only 3.
- Try to wash only full loads. Even better, upgrade to an Energy Star washer. Efficient washers use around 14 gallons compared to older units, which use 20 or more.