Whether your goal is to save water and save the planet or to save water and save your pocket book, have I got an idea for you! My friend told me about this years ago, and I've never considered trying it until now. Why not? Because it's downright sneaky, but so effective! (Don't worry. If this idea's not for you, I have lots of other practical ways to save water and save money on your water bill later in the post.)
The Simple Way to Save Water and Money Today
Because we recently moved into a home with a pool, it has made a significant impact on our water bill. We researched before we bought, but still -- talk about sticker shock! We will definitely be taking steps to reduce our water usage and our water bill. While researching ways to save water, I remembered my Florida friend's brilliant way to save water, and I'm ready to let you in on the secret.
If you have little kids or no kids, this might not work for you. If you have kids who shower themselves, get ready to have your mind blown. Here's how my friend saved water and money:
First, she taught her daughters that they were allotted ten minutes for showers. No more. Just ten minutes. Then, she timed them. When the timer hit ten minutes, she simply went into the garage and shut off the hot water.
Yep. You heard me right. She literally turned off the hot water. Instant cold shower for the kids. It sounds super harsh, but how many showers do you think it took them before they learned to speed up their showers? I'm guessing not many.
I'll admit that at the time I heard this story, I only had babies, and I thought my friend was crazy. Now that I have teens and tweenagers who think the shower is their own personal think tank, I'm beginning to understand her madness. I think I'm ready to try this.
What about you? Would you do this?
I think I might buy some sort of timer to stick in the bathroom so that they know when their time is almost up and they won't be stuck with a soapy head and freezing cold water.
Now, for those of you who don't have kids taking marathon showers, I've got more great tips to save water and money that you can implement today. (These ideas are straight from my local water company, so they're legit.)
Quick and Inexpensive Indoor Water Saving Tips
Install Faucet Aerators
About 20% of the water used in your home comes out of the kitchen and bathroom faucets. Installing faucet aerators trims your water use by 50% and saves 1000 gallons of water per year per faucet! They cost anywhere from $2-$10 each (depending on the features you want), and they easily screw onto your existing faucets. No plumber necessary. Aerators change your water flow from 2.2 gallons per minute to 1.5 gallons per minute. You'll also reduce the cost of heating the saved water by up to 50%. Those aerators will pay for themselves in just a few months!
*When shopping, look for the water sense mark and the 1.5 gallons per minute logo. That will ensure that your aerator is a low-flow aerator.
Repair Leaky Toilets
About 25% of your in-home water use comes from your toilets, and a leaky toilet can cost you 100's of gallons of water every day. You're probably thinking, "My toilet doesn't leak. I never see water on the floor." That's not the kind of leak I mean. I'm talking about a toilet that constantly runs because the flapper inside of your toilet is worn out or the wrong size.
When your flapper (that's the rubber piece inside the toilet tank that flaps up and down when the toilet gets flushed) gets worn out, it doesn't work properly and your toilet leaks inside. The tank keeps filling when it should stop after every flush.
Flappers only cost a few dollars each, and they do deteriorate after time. They need to be replaced every few years. You can replace them yourself. Just don't forget to turn off the water to your toilet first. If you aren't sure what type of flapper you need, be sure you know your toilet's brand or remove the old flapper and take it with you to the hardware store. They also sell universal flappers to fit any toilet.
Replacing worn flappers will save you ½ to 1 ½ gallons of water per flush.
*If the repair costs on your old leaky toilet are too high, consider starting fresh with new toilets. Be sure to choose high efficiency toilets and check for the water sense label.
Install Low-Flow Shower Heads
Low-flow shower heads sometimes get a bad wrap because people are worried they'll be showering in just a trickle of water. The new low-flow shower heads are very good and provide a satisfying spray of water. They shower you with only 2 ½ gallons of water per minute instead of the standard 6 gallons per minute from a regular shower head. That's quite a savings!
*Remember that in addition to saving water when you shower, you'll also save on your energy bill by heating much less water for every shower.
Use Your Dishwasher
Great news! You don't have to wash your dishes by hand. Running your dishwasher actually uses less water than washing all of your dishes by hand. Just be sure to only run your dishwasher when it's full, and use an energy-efficient model. (This is the hardest thing for me. I love to run my dishwasher every night -- whether it's full or not -- to keep a routine and have the dishes ready when I need them. Guess I need to do better.)
Bigger Investments that Payoff Over Time
These last ideas are more expensive, but they will save you money in the long run.
Install a Hot Water Recirculating System
In our new home I watch gallons and gallons of water go down the drain every day while I wait for it to get hot. It drives me crazy! It takes a ridiculous amount of time to heat water in my kitchen sink. On my wish list is a hot water recirculating system. They providing instant hot water to any faucet or shower in your home regardless of it's distance from the water heater. (That would be A-ma-zing!)
They aren't cheap. The ones I see on Amazon are from $200-$250, and they are tricky to install, so you'll probably have to call a professional.
Upgrade your Appliances
The bottom line is that Energy Star qualified appliances use less water and less energy. Purchasing new appliances will cost you, but the savings will add up. (Up to 50% savings on water and energy.) To get more details on energy saving appliances, check out the US Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Star.
So, are you ready to start saving water and money in your home? I'd love to hear your success stories from implementing these tips.
Here they are in review:
- Take shorter showers (Use my friend's tip to get your kids out of the shower faster)
- Install faucet aerators
- Repair leaky toilets
- Install low-flow shower heads
- Use the dishwasher instead of hand washing dishes
- Consider bigger investments that pay off over time
That's it! I hope you save lots of money! Thanks for stopping by today.
Before you go, be sure to check out more money-saving tips by visiting the posts below. The images are linked to posts, so click on them.