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Conserving Water at Home

Category Water
There are many simple ways to use less water. This guide is about conserving water at home.


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By 25 found this helpful
June 28, 2011

I decided I was tired of standing at the sink running the water down the drain, while I waited on it to change to hot water to use. My goodness what a surprise I had when I used a pitcher to catch the water! I was wasting almost a gallon every time I was waiting on the water to get hot. Now I keep a pitcher nearby, and I save the water to use during the day.


Calculating the savings: 2 gallons a day (AM and PM) = 14 gallons in one week or 14 x 52 weeks = 728 gallons a year I was throwing away. Now I simply use the pitcher of water to make tea, coffee, or to water plants. I cannot imagine how much the gallon of water was costing me while I waited on the water to turn to hot. This is the most simple "going green water" solution I have come across yet, and all you need is a pitcher.

By Marsha from Greenville, NC

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By 16 found this helpful
January 24, 2014

I live in the desert. Water is like gold, but is wasted more times than I care to mention. Here's some insight on how I "repurpose" water. Remember that you are paying for every drop that comes out of your faucet. Why not recycle it? I keep a plastic rectangle container (from the dollar store) on one side of my kitchen sink. When I am waiting for the water to heat, it goes into the container. I wash my hands over the container too. I use this water for everything and anything!


If I'm washing clothes that day, it goes in the washer. If I'm mopping my floor, it goes into the mop bucket. If my plants outside need a drink, it goes into my garden (remember soapy water does not hurt plants). If you keep the container nice and clean (sanitary) you can fill your ice cube trays (if you still use those). You can make drinks that call for water (Kool Aid, frozen juices, etc). You can even flush the toilet with water you have saved. These may not be convenient to do, it does take some effort, but you will notice the reward on your next water bill. Make a conscious effort and you can lower your water bill. I also have ways of cutting down on electric and gas!

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By 7 found this helpful
June 23, 2010

During the stormy season, keep barrels at the ends of the house for water run off. This can be used to water the garden, water the animals and other outside things.


Don't wash that car. Wait to wash your car until you have resources available.

Reuse canning water in the washer instead of having to add water to it.

Only do the wash when you have a full load of clothes. Wash your clothes late at night to save electricity. This is not during peak hours.

Use the dishwasher on a setting that uses less water. If you wash dishes by hand, only put enough water in the sink to wash what you have and leave the rest for the end of the day cleanup when you can add more hot water to it. (If you scrape plates clean it will be easier to accomplish this task.)

Don't allow the water to run when you brush your teeth or wash your face.

Last but not least, be sure you take short showers and that all your water elements are energy savers.


By maphisx7 from Gordonsville, VA

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By 2 found this helpful
December 9, 2011

I hate wasting water trying to wash my slimy, messy hands after mixing ingredients (for example, cookie dough or ground beef recipes, or removing meat off a bird). So just before I turn the water on to wash, I take a paper towel or paper napkins and wipe off as much of the mess from my hands and under my finger nails. You'll be surprised how much you remove from your hands, making it much easier to wash the remaining mess.

By Lisa from New Market, MD

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By 0 found this helpful
March 17, 2006

Practicing water conservation saves you money, protects the health of your family and reduces the risk of damaging your access to quality drinking water. Water conservation also prevents water pollution-which hurts the environment and ultimately costs money to remedy. Here are a few tips for conserving water in your home:

How Residential Water Use Breaks Down

Although water use may vary somewhat from family to family, here is how the typical American family uses water:

The biggest potential for water conservation occurs in the areas that see the greatest use. Examine these areas first. It's also important to verify that your system as a whole is free from leaks. If your water meter doesn't read the same amount at the start and end of any given two hour period where no water is being used, you may have a leak.


Showers and Baths (20%)

  1. Take shorter showers and replace your shower head with an ultra-low-flow head. Low-flow heads use an average of 3.5 gallons per minutes less than regular heads. There are currently units available that allow you to cut down the flow without adjusting the temperature knobs.

  2. It takes about 25 gallons to fill a bathtub up halfway, so use the least amount of water you can when taking a bath. Try filling the tub 1/3 full to start. Close the drain before running the water to get it hot. You'll be able to add additional hot water later if you need it.

  3. Don't let the water run while shaving or brushing your teeth.

  4. When adjusting the water temperature, decrease the water flow instead of increasing it to change the temperature. For example, if you want to increase the amount of hot water, "turn down" the flow of cold water instead of "turning up" the hot water.

  5. Replace worn out water heaters with new hot water-on-demand models and make sure to keep your water pipes insulated.

Toilets (19%)

  1. Test your toilet tank for leaks by adding food coloring to the tank and waiting 15-20 minutes. If your tank is leaking, color will usually appear. Replace any worn out or corroded parts, including sticky flush handles. Most parts are cheap and easy to install yourself. Make sure you flush your toilet after this test to avoid staining your tank.

  2. Don't use your toilet like a trash can. Dispose of tissues and other waste (for quick wipe-ups or catching bugs) in the garbage. Your toilet takes 5 to 7 gallons of water each time you flush.

  3. You can install inexpensive toilet dams to reduce the amount of water used with each flush.

Clothes and Dish Washing (16%)

Water Down the Drain
Dishes washed by hand should be quickly rinsed under a low stream from the faucet, not rinsed in a large basin of water.

  1. Retrofit all high-use household faucets with aerators and flow restrictors.

  2. Use dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set for the proper size load.

  3. Dishes washed by hand should be quickly rinsed under a low stream from the faucet, not rinsed in a large basin of water.

  4. Reduce the use of garbage disposals by composting kitchen waste. For households with septic systems, garbage disposals can also add as much as 50% to the volume of solids in the septic tank.

Potable Uses (9%)

  1. Keep a pitcher of ice water in the fridge rather than letting water run every time you want a cold glass of water.

  2. Thaw meat and other foods in the refrigerator or microwave instead of running them under cold water.

  3. Use dirty fish tank water on houseplants or in the garden.


Lawns & Gardens (36%)

  1. Water your lawn only when you need to (every 5 to 7 days in the summer and every 10-14 days in the winter). Water in the early morning hours when temperatures and winds are lowest to avoid losing water to evaporation.

  2. Install a drip irrigation system or use soaker hoses. They are much more efficient at delivering water than conventional sprinkler systems. Check to make sure systems and timing devices are working properly and that your system is equipped with a rain sensor device that overrides the system when adequate rainfall occurs. Check to see that all hoses and spigots are in good working order.

  3. Landscape with drought tolerant native plant species, including drought resistant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees.

  4. Position your irrigation systems in a way that you are not watering your sidewalks and driveway. Sweep up debris with a broom instead of spraying down sidewalks and driveways with the hose.

  5. If you wash your car, do it on the grass to reduce run off or use a car wash that recycles gray water.

  6. Raise the blades on your lawn mower to a height of three inches or more. This will encourage grass roots to grow deeper and increase your lawns capacity to hold in moisture.

  7. Where appropriate, mulch around garden plants to help them retain moisture. Avoid over-fertilizing the lawn and garden, it increases the need for water.

  8. Use garden fountains and water features that recycle water and locate them away from areas of high wind to avoid evaporation losses.

There are hundreds of other ways to save water-and even if the savings are small, every drop counts. Encourage your friends, neighbors and employers practice water conservation, and support projects that create awareness and promote reuse.

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By 5 found this helpful
June 9, 2011

A friend recently put me onto catching the water that my air conditioning unit produces. Living in Florida, I have been able to recycle at least two gallons of pure water daily.

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June 3, 20045 found this helpful

After you've hand-washed your vehicle, don't pour out the bucket of soapy water solution just yet-there's still a lot of cleaning power in those suds; pour it on dirty spots on your patio, carport/gargage floor, picnic table, you-name-it! Scrub the dirty spots with a stiff broom, then rinse with clean water. Voila! You've gotten double duty from your bucket of detergent! By Becky

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May 8, 20121 found this helpful

This guide is about conserving water in the garden. There are many ways to use less water on your garden, and still have a bountiful harvest.

Watering the Garden

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October 12, 20041 found this helpful

Instead of rinsing dishes under running water when dishwashing, fill a basin with rinse water and a small splash of vinegar (the vinegar neutralizes the dish detergent and leaves the glasses sparkling).

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By 2 found this helpful
July 29, 2014

Almost all toilets can be easily retrofitted to allow a extra low flush by adding some plumbers putty to the inside of a hollow flapper which most 'cheap' toilets have. This makes the flapper heavy and not allow it to float.

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By 2 found this helpful
February 14, 2012

As we run the water to the correct temperature before showering, we gather the cold water in a bucket. We pour that bucket of water into our washing machine, ready to use for the next load of laundry.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 8, 2012

Instead of letting your tap run for a cooler drink of water, save the water that runs as you wait for warmer or cooler water in a clean milk jug or pitcher (glass will keep it even colder). Put the jug into the fridge.

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh0 found this helpful
July 28, 2006

Water conservation is an ecologically responsible choice, but can it also be an economically sound choice? Of course it can! Whether you pay for a city water bill every few months or the electric bill for a well water pump, the less water you use the less money you pay.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 23, 20100 found this helpful

24 Great Water Conservation Tips

  1. Use a water timer for all plants, lawns, trees, and shrubs.

  2. Save water by using a drip system. Check your local yellow pages for landscaping or drip system for installations. Most drip systems are inexpensive and easy to install.

  3. Always water in the early morning hours, especially your lawn. Avoid watering during the mid or late hours. Who knows what you might see!

  4. Watering during the late hours and standing water may promote fungus and diseases. You will save water by watering in the early morning hours.

  5. Check your sprinkler system to make sure you are NOT watering the driveway or your neighbors yard.

  6. Be sure all sprinkler hoses are not leaking, blocked or pinched.

  7. Chose Bermuda sod or grasses over others, as it is drought tolerant and requires less maintenance. Check with your local nursery for other types of low water grasses.

  8. Deep Watering is much better than shallow watering. Make sure water drains well.

  9. Remember that most trees, plants and shrubs need little watering once they are well established. This is usually about 1 year after being planted.

  10. Use a soaker hose for most plants as this provides for less evaporation.

  11. Always use a good mulch for planting trees, shrubs or plants. Mulch will help retain water.

  12. Do NOT use a water hose to spray debris from pavement or sidewalks. Use a push broom instead.

  13. Use a bucket to wash your vehicle. Use a good "Car Wash" detergent that helps prevent streaks. Use a hand held nozzle that will turn off after rinsing your vehicle.

  14. Shut off water sprinklers and drip systems right after a good rainfall.

  15. Avoid watering during windy days. Wind will make water evaporate much faster.

  16. Keep your mower blades sharpened. Dull blades tear grass, making it take more water to recuperate.

  17. Keep your yard maintained on a year round bases. Mow, prune, and weed out. Your neighbors will appreciate it and you will feel better afterwards.

  18. Save the long hot baths for special occasions. Take short showers instead.

  19. Try to use low water or Xeriscaping plants for your garden or landscaping home.

  20. Do not turn your cooler on until it is at least 80-85 degrees. Your evaporative cooler will use much less water.

  21. Be sure to slightly open your window in each room so that warm air will escape.

  22. Water conservation requires that you maintain your evaporative cooler - check for leaks and proper water flow.

  23. Install efficient shower heads. Most are inexpensive and easy to install.

  24. Bathe with your significant other! Yes, take a bath or showers with your spouse, you could almost cut your water bill in half!

By Paul Guzman from Las Cruces, NM


Water Conservation - What You Can Do

I agree with every aspect Paul. I live in Australia where most of our country has a dire water shortage, and my state, Victoria there are now severe water restrictions.. ie, cars must be washed with a bucket(S) of water, no hosing..lawns may not be watered AT ALL, gardens may be watered, at restricted hours and times, no refilling of back yard swimming pools without council permission, and then they have to be filled with a bucket. Makes me wonder just how many people are eager for a swim now!

The good thing is that the majority of people are doing their darndest, obeying the restrictions, utilizing grey water for gardens, installing rain water tanks, etc.

I'm a (rented) second floor apartment dweller, no yard or garden, but do what I can too.. my potted plants are often watered with the water that comes out of my fish tank when I change the fishes water. I wash dishes (handwash) only once a day. I make sure no taps are dripping. I shower only long enough to get my body wet and clean.. I guarantee less than the suggested three minutes.

The environmental warning bells have rung loud and clear, and we ignore them at our peril.

By elliecat

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January 31, 20070 found this helpful

Considering the fact that we are now in a Stage 3 Water Conservation, I was wondering what else could be done to support our city's situation.

I have heard about people who keep extra containers in the kitchen in which to pour the water that is used for rinsing veggies and other light kitchen duties, but not suitable for drinking. I always thought it was a great idea, but never got around to doing it until now.

Today, I watered two very large planters for free by using water from rinsed veggies and running water through the purifier for a couple of minutes, first thing in the morning to clear it out. Not bad for a couple of minutes' worth of work.

By the time I ran the disposal, I was feeling badly that the extra water was going into the sewer instead of in the garden. If you do this, you will be surprised at how much water actually goes down the drain when you quickly fill up double quart pitchers doing routine kitchen maintenance. Once the Water Conservation ends, I think that the water jug from veggie washing will continue.

By Holly from Richardson, TX

Water Conservation - What You Can Do

I keep a square dishpan in my sink that I run water into when I rinse something, wash my hands, etc. I even rinse my dishes over it when I wash by hand and later scoop up the dishwater too. I then empty it into a 3 gallon bucket which I take outside to water my flowers, plants, trees, and garden. All my plants are nice and green.

By susanmajp

Water Conservation - What You Can Do

Why use the disposal? Start a compost pile. If your refuse is too little, maybe the block club could contribute.

By kelleno

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