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Easy Water Conservation Tips

Simple Ways to Conserve Water

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These water conservation tips are simple and practical ways you can conserve water at home.  And for most, conserving water means lower water bills while helping to meet local water conservation targets.  With some of these tips, the savings are two-fold - you can conserve water as well as energy use and that means more money in your pocket.  Whether you need to conserve water to save on the family budget or help with local water conservation efforts, saving water just makes good practical sense.

You can also find helpful information regarding water quality, water filtration, hard water, bottled water and storing water in Water 101.

1. Lower Washer Water Level or Use an HE Washer

If you have a regular toploading washer, use a lower water level to conserve water and a shorter cycle to save energy.  Or upgrade to a high efficiency (he) frontload (or topload) washer, which uses lower water levels and less energy.  When possible, combine short loads to reduce washing cycles or use shorter cycles and pretreat stains prior to washing.  Using cold water will save energy while being gentler on your clothes.

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2. Wash Dishes With Less Water or Use a Dishwasher

If you hand wash dishes, instead of rinsing each dish after washing, either rinse only the area that contacts food, or stagger your washed tableware on the drain board or in the second sink and pour a small quantity of water over them - rather than letting the water run during rinsing. You can also reduce your wash water level by an inch or two, which will not likely be missed.

Many believe that using a dishwasher saves on water (rather than handwashing), but that's not always the case.  But with a dishwasher, you can run it as needed, which for some households might be once or twice a week.  However, if you prefer to handwash pots and pans even though you have a dishwasher, you're likely using the best water saving method of doing dishes - by hand.

If you have a dishwasher, scrape off food residue with a spatula and use a shorter wash cycle - that will reduce the long wash and regular long rinse to save on water.  Shortening the dishwasher cycle will cut operating time and also reduce energy use.  If you want to maximize energy savings, use the econo dry setting (without a heating cycle) to save on electricity.

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3. Upgrade to a Low Water or Dual Flush Toilet

If you have the choice of a low water or dual flush toilet, to avoid frustration with insufficient water levels to effect a good flush, buy a dual flush water closet.  With a dual flush model, you can choose the water level needed each time.  The water savings are enormous when you reduce the water needed for flushing.

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4. Use a Water Saver Shower Head

A water saver shower head maximizes the output to transform a low flow of water to an abundant shower stream to either remedy low water pressure or to conserve water.  There are also shower heads that have a stop function, so you can turn off the stream of water for a few minutes while you lather, then turn it back on to rinse.  This type of flow interrupter keeps your hot/cold settings and merely stops the water flow.  Even those few minutes can add up to substantial water savings over a month.

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5. Banish the Bucket and Use a Steam Mop

If your hard-surfaced floors are sealed, you might want to trade the water bucket for a steam mop.  They use very little water, sometimes no more than a cup of water, to generate steam to clean floors.  Steam mops are big on convenience, most do a good cleaning and there are no chemicals or scents.

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6. Use the Proper Size Cooking Pot

We often tend to reach for a large pot to boil potatoes or pasta when mid-size cookware is sufficient.  Using the size of pot that is adequate for the contents has two benefits.  You'll save on the amount of water to boil those potatoes and the pot will heat up faster, which means you'll also save on energy.  Covering the pot will also help to reduce water evaporation, as well as speed up cooking time.  Consider upgrading your cookware to heavier pots that retain heat and cook faster without hot spots.  Cookware with an encapsulated base or multiple bottom layers, tends to heat up faster and usually requires less water to cook.

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7. Recycle Water and Use Less in the Kitchen

Your plants would love the water you boiled potatoes, pasta or other vegetables in, since it would have composting qualities - but cool it first.  Water from boiled potatoes is also great for gravies - it adds flavor and the starch helps with thickening.  When cleaning vegetables, rather than running water, fill a medium bowl with water and wash vegetables in it.  And don't throw out the water after you clean vegetables, water your plants with it.

8. Shorten the Shower or Lower the Tub Water Level

The kids probably won't even notice a few inches less water in the bathtub, especially if you add bubbles or toys.  And a shorter shower can save lots of water, but cut down gradually to lessen the culture shock, especially with teens.  If you're in the market to replace your water heater, consider downsizing.  A smaller water heater may adequately meet your needs and there's a tendency to use more hot water when a lot is available.  So a smaller water heater could help with your water conservation efforts.

9. Install a Rain Barrel Outside

Rain barrels are regaining popularity as a way for homeowners to collect rain water outside, to use to water the plants and gardens.  They come in all shapes and sizes, and usually are placed where water that collects in the eavestrough can also pour right into the barrel, along with the rainfall.

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