Tuesday, March 19, 2013

5 Simple Ways To Save Water

      One discovery that is made when you move frequently is that rates for utility services are not the same everywhere. I was rather shocked when I received our first water bill in our current home. I initially thought that perhaps we had gotten into poor habits of greater water consumption. However, after comparing our current usage with our usage at our previous residence I learned that despite the gallons consumed being the same our bill is 60% higher now than before. Ouch! I then determined to try to make some simple changes that would better conserve water usage in our home.

      Conserving water isn't just a matter of financial concern. It's also a matter of preserving the environment. Environmental concern can become pushed to the side when supply is seemingly abundantly available. However, the truth is that the supply is relatively small and the processes for purifying and transporting it are complex. According to the EPA:

      less than 1% of all the water on Earth can be used by people .. The rest is salt water (the

      kind you find in the ocean) or is frozen. Communities across the country are starting to
      face challenges in maintaining healthy and affordable water supplies; that's why it's more
      important than ever to use our water wisely and not waste it. In addition, it takes large 
      amounts of energy to produce and transport clean water and to process waste water.

      It's so easy to simply turn on the faucet and let the water run unnecessarily. Or, perhaps enjoy that hot shower a bit too long. These expenditures come at a cost. Interestingly, many times when an issue is unsustainable to the environment it is also unsustainable for my family budget. And so, my husband and I determined five very simple ways that we could begin to conserve water in our home.

5 Simple Ways to Conserve Water
1. Place a bottle of water in the toilet tank
      We used a 1 Liter water bottle. The water in the bottle displaces the water stored in the tank. The tank then uses 1 L. less water with each flush. 

2. Replace shower head with a water conservation/low flow head
     This was the one area that I was really hesitant to change. I was dreading having to shower with a low flow shower head that left me cold and with suds in my hair. But, we looked carefully at the various models available and purchased a multi-setting shower head that permits 2.0 gal/min. flow. It even has a drip setting for when you're not needing full water flow. Yet, we've found that this setting is sufficient to keep it on at all times. 
     Waterpik has a great calculator that can be used to determine the savings produced by investing in an "eco flow" shower head. According to the calculator, we're now saving  9,855 gallons of water! Hooray!

3.Shorten showers
     I will admit that I'm notorious for taking long hot showers. Nevertheless, we've set a goal to limit showers to 10-15 minutes. 

4. Rinse dishes in filled sink instead of running water
     I habitually rise my dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, which lessens the workload placed on my dishwasher. A lot of water is wasted by leaving the water running while rinsing each dish. Instead, I plug the sink to fill with a small amount of water. Since the dishes are merely being rinsed and then loaded into the dishwasher, I'm not overly concerned if the water gets a little dirty. Periodically, I let the water drain out and then refill. I actually save quite a bit of water this way.

5. Thaw frozen foods overnight instead of under running water
      The ideal method of thawing frozen foods like meat is placing it in a dish and then in the refrigerator for a period of time (typically overnight). When in a time pinch, an alternate method is to place the food under running water. Some foods, like fish, can take up to 15 minutes using this method. Yikes, the waste of water! A little thinking ahead and planning early for meals can prevent needing to resort to this unnecessarily consumptive method. 

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