By John Voket
Whether you live in a drought prone area or are simply environmentally conscious, saving water is important, and you can do so both inside and outside your home.
The non-profit GRACE Communications Foundation (GRACE) developed a free Water Footprint Calculator, so consumers can see how their everyday actions – from washing dishes to watering the lawn to buying groceries – impact water use.
Here are some great ways GRACE says homeowners can conserve water inside their homes:
- Get a dishwasher, especially water- and energy-efficient models. Hand washing one load of dishes can use 20 gallons of water, whereas water- and energy-efficient dishwashers use as little as 4.5 gallons.
- When doing dishes by hand, use a little water to get your sponge soapy, then turn off the faucet until you’re ready to rinse a bunch of dishes at once. Or plug the sink or get a tub to wash dishes in so you don’t need to let water run.
- Use dish and clothes washing machines only when it’s full.
- Choose ENERGY STAR water- and energy-efficient dish- and clothes-washing appliances if you’re in the market.
- Wash denim clothes and jeans less – washing them a lot will wear them out more quickly. Consider airing them out or even putting them in the freezer to freshen them up.
- Dry clothes on a drying rack or a clothes line. When you save energy, you also save water because power plants use a lot of water to produce electricity.
- Put a bucket in the shower while you’re waiting for the water to warm up, and use that water for plants, flushing the toilet, or cleaning.
- Install a low-flow showerhead — conventional showerheads flow at 5 gallons per minute or more, whereas low-flow showerheads typically flow at 2.5 gallons per minute (or less).
- Spend less time in the shower, and turn off the water as you soap up, shave or brush your teeth to save time.
- Avoid baths. The average bath uses 35 to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead only uses 25 gallons.
- EPA New England further advises immediately repairing leaky faucets, indoors and out.