Easy tips for conserving water at home
With Earth Day approaching and California’s drought-related water restrictions in the news, water efficiency is on many people’s minds. Fortunately, simple changes at home can often result in major water savings. “Most homeowners can take action to reduce their water use in a significant way,” says Bill Christiansen, program manager at the nonprofit Alliance for Water Efficiency. “We’ve seen the marketplace transform, and a lot of the fixtures have become very efficient.”
While older homes tend to have products that guzzle the precious resource, there are plenty of quick and affordable upgrades available. Put your home on the path to sustainable water usage with Christiansen’s top five suggestions for conservation.
- “First and foremost, check for leaks at all toilets, showers, and faucets,” he says. A leaking toilet, where water is perpetually running from the tank down the drain, can go unnoticed and waste hundreds of gallons of water a day.
- Install high-efficiency toilets, if you don’t already have them. Toilets installed after 1994 are limited to a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush, but older toilets use 3.5 gallons or more. “When toilets are inefficient, they typically represent the highest indoor water use in a home,” Christiansen says.
- Take a close look at your washing machine, which may be another water hog. Newer machines certified by Energy Star tend to be much better in terms of water usage. When comparing new machines, he notes, “look at the water factor, which says how much water it uses per cubic foot of laundry.”
- If you have a large lawn, consider new water-efficient landscaping. “You could replace a portion of the lawn with native plants, so it doesn’t need as much watering,” Christiansen says.
- If you have an irrigation system, check it regularly for leaks and install a soil moisture sensor that will prevent it from automatically turning on when the yard is already soaked.
There are also many electronic devices and plumbing fixtures that can help cut down on daily water use.
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