Woman washing strawberries in sink (Photo: @learnfern via Twenty20)

6 Simple Ways to Conserve Water at Home

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Woman washing strawberries in sink (Photo: @learnfern via Twenty20)
The average household in the U.S. uses 400 gallons of water each day. While many communities are fortunate to have a steady water supply, more attention than ever is being put on water conservation as drought has plagued many states for several years. Here are six easy-to-implement ways to conserve water at home.

1. Take shorter showers

Many Americans love to take long showers. While daydreaming under a steady stream of hot water may sound appealing, it is a water waster. Taking a 10-minute shower uses about 25 gallons of water. A good way to enjoy your shower, but use less water, is to install a low-flow shower head. This can reduce water consumption to 20 gallons of water for the same time period.
If you do not have instant hot water, place a bucket under your showerhead while you wait for it to heat up. You can use this water for other uses, like watering your plants or mopping the floor. And if you think taking a bath is better, think again. Baths require between 35 to 50 gallons of water.

2. Use your dishwasher

Modern dishwashers are energy efficient and use a lot less water than hand washing dishes. In fact, the average dishwasher only uses between four to six gallons of water a wash, while hand washing can use up to seven times that much. Your water savings will be even greater if you wait to run your dishwasher until it is full. Some dishwashers even tout there is no need to rinse, so consider scraping leftover food off your plates and save even more water.

3. Turn off water

Start a new habit by turning off your water when not using for seemingly short periods of time. An example of this would be brushing your teeth. Instead of leaving the faucet running for the entire two minutes it takes to brush your pearly whites, turn off the water while brushing and then back on to rinse. Another example of this would be shaving or washing your hands. It is easy to turn off water between the time needed to rinse your razor or hands. Since water runs out of the faucet at approximately two gallons per minute, this can conserve a lot of water at home over time.

4. Upgrade your washing machine

Washing your laundry takes up a significant portion of a household’s water use. When it’s time to replace your washing machine, opt for an energy-efficient front-loading model. They tend to use a considerably less water compared to a top-loading washing machine. In fact, some models use as much as 50% less than traditional washers. This can add up to quite a savings.
Other ways to conserve water at home while doing laundry is running full loads, using your pre-settings for load sizes, and skipping the extra rinse cycle by using the correct amount of laundry detergent.

5. Install low-flow toilets

Traditional toilets used to consume nearly four gallons a flush. However, government regulations have required new toilets to use about half that amount. Water conserving low-flow toilets save even more. A good option to consider is a dual-flush toilet. This type of toilet allows you to choose how much water is needed based on the type of waste being flushed.

6. Save water outside, too

There are several ways to save water while still maintaining a vibrant and colorful yard. Capturing rainwater can provide you with a nutrient-rich water supply for your garden. However, check regulations as some drought ridden states forbid residents from tapping into the natural water supply. Even if you can’t catch and store rainwater, you can still use a water-efficient irrigation system.
Modern sprinkler heads release water at a slower rate in steady jets to increase saturation. This method reduces water usage considerably over the older misting methods. Consider using soaker or drip lines for your garden so water is only provided where needed. Also, knowing the best way to water your lawn can eliminate waste.