8 ways to conserve water around the house — and lower your bill

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If you collect all the water that you use at home every day in a bucket, you will need a very large bucket. One holds 82 gallons, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And that’s just for yourself. If you live in a family of four, you will need approximately 350 one gallon buckets full of water for your daily household needs.

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But the world’s water supply is not limitless. In a 2019 article, the Pew Charitable Trusts estimated that by 2025, more than half of the world’s population will live in “water-stressed areas”. According to the report, more than two billion people do not have access to safe drinking water in their homes.

However, there are ways to reduce your water consumption. By following these steps—some simple and free, others at relatively little cost—you and your family members can conserve natural resources and lower your bill at the same time.

Try these methods to reduce your water consumption.

Check for leaks

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household can waste 180 gallons of water per week — the equivalent of 9,400 gallons per year — just from leaks. One of the biggest culprits is the toilet, and that can waste 22 gallons a day, or about 8,000 gallons a year, the USGS reports.

Some leaky toilets continue to function; Others drop out in silence. Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet bowl. If the water in the bowl reflects color, this means that there is a leak. Some of the causes of leakage can be a broken float ball or fill valve, or even a damaged fin. All of these devices are sold at a hardware store or home improvement center and are easy to install and inexpensive.

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If another food color test fails after changing the appliance, you may need the help of a plumber to resolve the leak.

replace your toilet

A toilet installed before 1980 wastes about seven gallons of water per flush, and pre-1992 models use 3 to 5 gallons each, according to the website of home improvement guru Bob Villa. Today’s toilets must meet federal water efficiency standards of 1.6 gallons or less, and the Vila website recommends swapping out your old toilet for a new one.

Some government agencies offer discounts or coupons for buying a new toilet. Basic, low-flow models start around $99 at The Home Depot.

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Change the way you brush and shave your teeth

Here are some amazing numbers from the Environmental Protection Agency. If you turn off the water after wetting your toothbrush, you will save eight gallons of water per day. Turn it off while shaving? This is a saving of 10 gallons.

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The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that you would save 5,700 gallons of water per year if you brushed your teeth twice a day and shave five times a week.

Replace the shower head

The Environmental Protection Agency says the average household can reduce their shower water consumption by 2,700 gallons per year if they replace the showerhead with a model bearing the WaterSense label. At the same time, the amount of energy needed to heat the water will be significantly reduced, which will reduce the electric bill at the same time.

WaterSense-certified shower heads start around $35 from Wayfair.

Increase washing efficiency

The Water – Use It Wise campaign recommends running your washer with full amounts of water only. If you only have to run a small load, select this setting on your machine so that less water is used.

When it’s time to buy a new machine, the campaign recommends choosing an efficient model that can save up to 7,000 gallons of water per household at the end of the year. Also, you should always wash your clothes in cold water to save energy.

Rethink your outdoor landscape

Replace some of your lawn area with plants that don’t require much water or even ornamental grasses, which are water-friendly and also add a different look in color and texture to your yard. It is also easy to maintain.

The Portland, Oregon Regional Water Providers Association also recommends grouping plants together in the garden that have similar watering needs. By separating low-water plants from the thirsty, you won’t be wasting water by submerging those that can live without them.

Consider alternatives to grass

If you’re planning to resee your garden this fall, there are options other than traditional weed seeds. They include an alternative mix of seeds, which require less watering and mowing once established, as well as ground covers, shrubs, and trees. Or, you may want to consider turning to solid landscaping, such as a mixture of concrete, wood, and rocks to create a patio where the lawn once was. No need for water.

messing with your mower

If you have a conventional lawn mower and a standard lawn, you will save water simply by setting the lawn mower to a higher setting. By keeping the grass blades longer, the roots will get some shade. That way, your soil will stay moist longer, and your garden won’t need as much water, says the consortium.

If you have a traditional watering lawn, do it in the morning to maximize the water that reaches the roots. Watering at that time will slow evaporation, and water no more than an inch per week. How do you know you watered an inch? Place an empty can on the lawn to catch water and measure.

Some changes in water usage habits, change in fixtures and redesigned landscaping are just some of the ways we can conserve water. It is not only good for the environment, but it also benefits our wallets.

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About the author

Jamie Farkas has a degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, and has worked as a reporter or editor for dailies across the United States. She offers the GOBankingRates experience as a sports editor, business editor, religious editor, digital editor – and more. With a passion for real estate, she passed her state’s real estate licensing exam and is still considering whether to sink into selling homes — or just write about selling homes.

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