Summer means hot weather, and hot weather means green lawns, fun in the pool, and a strong need to stay hydrated. You’ll probably use far more water during the summer months than you do the rest of the year, so water conservation is essential to keeping your bills down. Fortunately, there are several ways to do just that.
Check Your Water Meter
If you have pipes leaking anywhere in your home, one of the telltale signs is if your water meter tracks usage when none of your faucets are on. Early on in the season, take a moment to check your water meter outside your home, making sure all faucets are completely off first. Note the reading on the meter, then avoid using any water at all for the next couple hours.
When two hours have passed, check your meter again. If it has changed at all, you’ve probably got a leak somewhere and will want to get the plumbing checked.
Take Care of Outstanding Plumbing Work
A major component of water conservation is making sure your plumbing works the way it’s supposed to. If you have a leaking faucet, running toilet, or dripping pipe, make sure to get that resolved as promptly as possible.
For example, a faucet dripping once per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water every year. With a simple fix, you could save hundreds on your bills throughout the year, and more especially during the summer.
Upgrade to High Efficiency Toilets and Shower Heads
Water conservation is much easier when you use high-efficiency fixtures. Old toilets use much more water than modern models, and new low-flow shower heads could reduce water usage by roughly 2,000 gallons per person per year.
Older faucets may need replacement too. In fact, if you have a dripping faucet, upgrading to a new one or replacing the aerator could be a good move.
Fully Load Washing Appliances
Dishwashers and clothes washing machines both use tons of water, so in order to minimize your usage, try to limit your washing cycles to times when you can fully load the appliance. This makes maximum use of the gallons of water they use.
With respect to clothes washers, here’s another tip: avoid using the permanent press cycle since it could add up to five gallons of water to each usage.
Water the Yard Out of the Sun
Water conservation is a bit more difficult if you have a large lawn with lots of grass, but it’s doable. One tip is to water the yard during hours when the sun isn’t out. The reason for this is sunlight will evaporate water as you spray it, so to get the most mileage out of every gallon, spray only during the early morning or at night when the sun isn’t out.
Raise Your Mower Deck
Letting your grass grow a little longer can also help you conserve water used for your lawn. Longer grass has deeper roots and provides a little more shade for the soil, allowing for greater moisture retention. The end result is less need for frequent watering and healthier grass over time.
To keep your grass a little longer, simply raise the deck on your lawnmower to three inches.
As you mow, consider saving the grass clippings and using them to mulch your other plants. A couple inches of organic material around your trees and gardens can prevent runoff and evaporation, all while keeping weeds under control.
Collect Warm-Up Water
Whenever you shower or run the faucet to get hot water going, consider saving the water you don’t use rather than just letting it run down the drain. That water can be used for cooking, washing vegetables, shaving, drinking, or creating emergency water storage. The end result is long-term water conservation.
Run the Pool Filter at Night
If you have a pool, try to avoid running the filter during the day. Doing so at night prevents evaporation and conserves water. At the same time, it could save electricity costs as you run it during off-peak hours.
The pump won’t run as hot either, which can help in terms of prolonging its life.
Water Conservation Benefits
For homeowners, water conservation means lower water bills, but it also helps in areas with water shortages, such as California and some areas around Miami. During the summer, help both your own budget as well as your community by trying out a few of these tips.