* Shorten the Shower – Yes, many of us love long, hot showers – but they use more water than you may realize. The average shower uses between 5-10 gallons of water a minute. Try setting a timer to keep your showers at 10 minutes or less. You could also install low-flow shower heads to further reduce the water flow.
* Check for Leaks – Water leaks around the home can be subtle. Your toilet, for example, may have a “silent leak” that is quietly using gallons of water a day and costing you money. A silent leak is caused by the toilet’s flapper not forming a tight enough seal.
To test for this type of leak, make sure your toilet is not filling or running. Then put a few drops of food coloring into your toilet’s tank (you can also use color tablets made for this purpose, or tablets from an Easter egg coloring kit). Wait about 15 minutes (do not flush) and see if any color appears in the bowl. If so, your toilet’s flapper will need to be replaced or re-sealed. Luckily, toilet flappers are not expensive or hard to replace and the parts are easily found at your local hardware store. Just make sure you have the right size and type.
Check your sink faucets for leaks, too. Worn washers are the most common culprit of leaky faucets, and one of the easiest plumbing problems to fix. Washers are also inexpensive and widely available – just make sure you have the right size. While you’re at it, you could install low-flow aerators in the faucets.
* Turn It Off – Turn your faucets off whenever possible. For example, when you get in the shower and wet your skin, turn off the water while you lather up with soap. Then turn the water back on to rinse. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, too, and rinse your razor in a bowl or sink filled with a little water.
* Dishwashing – Don’t pre-rinse your dishes if you use an automatic dishwasher. If your dishwasher won’t get dishes clean unless you pre-rinse, put your dirty dishes into a sink partly full of water. Use a dish brush to get solid matter off the dishes before loading the dishwasher.
Only run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded.
If hand-washing dishes, fill one side of your sink with soapy water and the other side with rinse water. If you have a single sink, use a rubber dish bin for your rinse or wash water. While you’re washing, boil a kettle of water (a modest amount!) and pour it over your rinsed dishes to kill germs and help them dry quickly.
* Boiling Water – If you are making a hot drink, pre-measure the water before pouring it into the kettle. (This will also save electricity, since smaller amounts of water boil faster.) You could also use a microwave and just heat the water in the cup.
* Clothes Washing – Like the dishwasher, only run the clothes washer when it’s a full load.
* Drinking Water – Keep drinking water in your refrigerator rather than running the tap waiting for the water to cool.
We hope that these easy ways to reduce water consumption in and around the house helps you reduce your water use.