Water Wisdom for your Home

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patty blog water use In: Water Wisdom for your Home | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

Wise Water Words

By Patty Street

There are many ways to conserve water in your home, and most won’t cost you much in time or money—and think of the reward!

Did you know that your toilet was the biggest water user in your home?  Think of how many times you flush your toilet each day, how many you have, how many people live in your home.  That’s a lot of water down the drain!  Toilets use 3 to 5 gallons when flushed.  Here’s what you can do:

  • Buy or make a toilet tank bank, a plastic container that can save almost a gallon of water each time you flush.
  • Buy an adjustable toilet flapper.  You can make a big old toilet more efficient by limiting how much water is released for each use.
  • Check your toilets for leaks.  Put a little food coloring in the tank.  If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak!  (Those toilet flappers mentioned earlier are under $15.)
  • If getting or replacing a toilet, consider a  “low flush” model, which uses 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5.  Replacing an 18 liter per flush toilet with an ultra-low volume (ULV) 6 liter flush model represents 70% savings in water flushed and cuts indoor water use by about 30%.
  • Don’t flush after every use.  (An example: Designate a “pee only” toilet and use 2 or 3 times before flushing.)

Other ways to conserve water follow:

  • In the shower:
    • Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators.
    • A 4 minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water
    • Limit your shower to the time it takes to soap up, wash down, and rinse off
    • Low-flow means less than 2.5 gallons per minute
  • All faucets should be fitted with aerators: a good and cheap way to conserve water
  • Use dishwasher and clothes washer for FULL loads only.  Avoid permanent press cycle; it uses an added 5 gallons of water for the extra rinse.  Frontload washers use less water.
    • If you are in the market for a new washer, New Energy Star rated washers use 35%-50% less water and 50% less energy per load.
  • Turn off water after you wet your toothbrush.
  • Rinse your razor in a sink with a few inches of water.  This will rinse your razor as well as running water.
  • Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units.  These require lots of water to operate properly and also add considerably to the volume of solids in your septic tank (see article on septic tank maintenance).
    • Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave water running for rinsing.  Fill the sink or a pan with soapy water and put dishes in a rack and rinse with a spray device or a pan of hot water.  Dual swivel aerators are available to make this easier.
  • If using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes.
  • Don’t allow faucet to run while you clean vegetables.  Just rinse in a stoppered sink or pan of water.  Spray all at once as you do dishes. Reuse this water on your houseplants!
  • Insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation.  You’ll get hot water faster and avoid water waste while it heats up.

All these ideas are on sites on the internet.  Browse around, you may find more ideas that are more to your liking. Don’t do nothing!


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