Water can be an easy thing to take for granted. With the twist of a handle, it flows freely at your command. It’s a wonderful thing. But, it’s almost too convenient. The average family spends $1,100 every year for home water use1. Not to mention around another $500 every year for water heating, which accounts for 20-25% of home energy use2. As you can see, it takes a considerable amount of energy to deliver and treat the water you use every day. For example, letting a hot faucet run for five minutes uses around as much energy as a 60-watt light bulb does over 22 hours of usage1. Thus, practicing good water efficiency is important.
Using water wisely can cut down on your water bill and electric bill alike. When we use water more efficiently, we reduce the need for costly water treatment investments and delivery systems. And minimizing water waste has a positive impact on the environment in the form of more water in the lakes, rivers and streams—fresh water we use for recreation and wildlife needs to survive. In the end, every living thing is all a part of the same ecosystem.
Homeowners, renters, children—everybody can make a big difference with simple steps. Some may be obvious, others probably not so much. For starters, be sure to stop the water flow while shaving, brushing your teeth and even washing your face. If they’re not too long, showers are more water-efficient than baths. Discarding tissues in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet is another easy water-saver, as is washing only full loads of laundry and dishes. Demonstrating these practices to your children will get them in the habit of water efficiency early on, so show them the ropes.
Leaks are cracks in your financial bucket, so be sure to address any faucet leaks you may have in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, etc. Leaky pipes are less obvious, so take a good look at your pipes as well.
For homeowners with lawns, a huge chunk of water usage takes place outdoors. There are many ways you can help your yard and gardens drink responsibly. For instance, if you water your lawn at night or in the early morning, you’ll keep evaporation to a minimum. Less water will vanish into the air, and more will go toward hydrating your grass. On the topic of grass, the longer it is, the less water it uses. Consider adjusting your mower so that grass isn’t cut too short. Also, look into landscaping techniques that direct rainwater toward your plants.
Here’s a batch of water-saving tips for households with swimming pools: Keeping the water level lower reduces water loss caused by splashing. Meter the water that refills your pool. If you notice a sharp increase, there’s a good chance you have a leak on your hands. And you can curb heat retention and evaporation with the use of a reflective pool cover.
And finally, look into efficient water technologies such as low-pressure showerheads and choose ENERGY STAR® certified dishwashers, clothes washers, water heaters and other appliances. By using a little common sense and commitment, all homeowners can save water, energy and money and help ensure a reliable water supply for generations to come.