Feeling thirsty? Time to wash your hands? Need to cook a pot of pasta? Just turn on any tap in your house, and water flows out.
For most of us, water seems like a nearly limitless resource. But for many people living in isolated areas or drought-prone communities, it’s a precious resource that’s not to be wasted. Plus, using less water saves energy, so it’s a win-win. Fortunately, conserving water at home isn’t too difficult if you just make a few simple changes.
1. Shower with less water.
This is probably the single most effective way to cut your water use. Most of us spend longer than we need to in the shower, and leave the water running the whole time. But we don’t actually need all that water to get ourselves clean; a significant portion of our shower time is spent lathering up. Turn off the water while you’re getting your suds on, and you can cut your water usage way down. This method is commonly called a Navy shower, due to the necessity of conserving water aboard ships.
2. Don’t do a load until it’s full.
Washing machines and dishwashers are two of the most water-intensive household appliances, but they’re even more wasteful when only half-full. Instead of washing just a few dishes or clothing items at a time, wait until you have a full load.
If you really need to wash an article of clothing and have only a partial load of laundry, you can still save water by using the right settings. Many of us just throw our clothes in and hit the default settings, but washing machines typically have controls to conserve water when the load isn’t full. Get familiar with your machine’s settings so you can use it efficiently.
3. Turn off the tap.
It’s a common habit to leave the water running when brushing our teeth or washing our face or hands. But it’s completely unnecessary and only saves us the two seconds or so it takes to turn it back on. Think about how quickly water comes out of your faucet – and how much is wasted if you leave it running each time.
4. Get a new toilet.
If the toilet in your house is more than a few years old, it’s likely wasting water with each flush. Newer, high-efficiency toilets use less than half as much water as some older ones. This is a bigger (and pricier) change, but it’s an extremely effective way to reduce water use.
5. Water plants and lawns in the early morning.
While toilets and showers are the biggest water hogs in your home, they’re miniscule compared to the water required for maintaining a large lawn. Many of us tend to water our lawns and gardens in the middle of the day, but that allows much of the water to evaporate in the heat of the day. Instead, water your plants and grass during the cooler hours of the early morning. You’ll use less water and end up with healthier vegetation.