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Conservation Tips and Links

Water Conservation Tips for Inside and Outside Your Home1

General

  • Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or for cleaning around your home.
  • Verify that your home is leak free. Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
  • Repair dripping faucets. If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 faucetgallons per year. This adds to the cost of water and sewer utilities and adds to your water bill.
  • Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors to slow the flow of water.
  • Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.
  • If you have a well at home, check your pump periodically. Listen to hear if the pump kicks on and off while water is not being used. If it does, you have a leak.

Bathrooms

  • Inside your house, bathroom facilities claim nearly 75% of the water used.
  • Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easilytoilet installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
  • If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
  • Install a toilet dam or displacement device such as a bag or bottle to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Be sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts.
  • When purchasing new or replacement toilets, consider low-volume units which use less than half the water of older models. In many areas, low-volume units are required by local building codes.
  • Take shorter showers. Replace your showerhead with an ultra-showerheadlow-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs.
  • Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water and use this to water plants. The same technique can be used when washing dishes or vegetables in the sink.
  • In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather up; then turn back on to rinse off. Repeat when washing your hair.
  • Don’t let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
  • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

Kitchens

  • Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only whendishwasher they are fully loaded. Set the water level for the size of load you are using.
  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don’t let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.
  • Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste, instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50 percent to the volume of solids in the sewer system or they can lead to problems with a spetic tank.
  • Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce water heating costs for your household.

Outdoors

  • When washing the car, use soap and water from a bucket. Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle for the final rinse.
  • Use a broom to clean your driveway.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only the lawn is watered and not the house, sprinklerssidewalk, or street.  Check and maintain your sprinkler system regularly.
  • Do not water on windy days.  A heavy rain means you don’t have to water at all. Teach the family how to turn off an automatic sprinkler system in case a storm comes up during the sprinkling cycle.
  • Always water during the coolest time of the day to minimize evaporation. Early morning is best, and the peak water consumption hours (4 p.m. - 9 p.m.) should be avoided.
  • Minimize grass areas in your yard because less grass means less water demand. Replace with low-water use landscaping.
  • Adjust your irrigation schedule to accommodate changes in seasonal water demand. Install an automatic timer.
  • Buy a rain gauge to determine how much rain or irrigation your yard has received.
  • When mowing, raise the blade on your lawn mower to at least three inches high, or to its highest level. Closely-cut grass makes the roots work harder, requiring more water.
  • Drought-tolerant plants are more than just cacti! For landscaping, use native or other low water use plants. Check with your local nursery for the best native or low-water use trees, shrubs and plants.
  • Using a layer of mulch around plants reduces evaporation and promotes plant growth. Water retaining basins also allow water to be concentrated around the plants. xeri
  • Use the principles of Xeriscape (pronounced ZERE-AH-SCAPE). This landscaping method uses native and drought-tolerant plants, mulch to hold in moisture, and grouping plants according to your water and light needs.

 

1. Water Conservation Tips were provided by the Water Information Program, P.O. Box 475, Durango, Colorado 81301.

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