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Five Easy Ways to Conserve Water

Five Easy Ways to Conserve Water

With American culture becoming more environmentally conscious, it is increasingly common to hear people discussing water efficiency and methods of conserving water. Treating water requires a great deal of energy, so water conservation not only cuts down your utility bills, it saves power and contributes to the preservation of natural resources. You can check your own efficiency level by following these five easy steps.

Watch out for leaks!

A little drip goes a long way - toward wasting water! Even a tiny leak will add up fast, as anyone who has ever put a bucket under a leaky roof will know. Keep an eye on all your faucets and report even small leaks immediately. One especially tricky spot is the shower - the gaskets in the switch that changes the tub from faucet to shower head can wear out quickly, leaving the shower dripping for hours after the faucet has been turned off. Getting these replaced when necessary will keep your shower and your water bill low.

Water your plants with rain water

Catching rain water is an environmentally friendly way to water your plants and provide water for washing outdoor items such as porch furniture and even your car. Most large home improvement stores sell rain collection barrels in varying sizes, and even a large pitcher or plastic container can do the job. Be sure to remember that standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes in the summertime, and only collect water you plan to use in the next 24 hours.

Make your toilet more efficient

The toilets installed in most American homes throughout the 20th century were designed when water was considered an unlimited resource. Efficient use of water was not a high priority at the time, so the majority of toilets use around twice as much water as necessary.

Some apartments come with new and improved high efficiency toilets, which work just as well without wasting water. There are tax incentives for replacing older fixtures, so many companies are making the switch.

Check with your leasing agent to find out if your apartment has had an upgrade. If not, there is an easy way to make your older toilet more efficient. Simply take a glass jar and fill it halfway with small rocks. Add water and put the lid on, then place the jar inside the toilet tank and give it a flush. When the tank refills from now on, it will require less water, conserving gallons.

Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth

Old habits are hard to break. Many Americans grew up with the habit of leaving the water running while brushing their teeth, shaving, washing dishes, and so forth, which is extremely wasteful. Turning water on and off as needed rather than running it constantly can save up to a gallon per task. It might take a little getting used to, but it will be worth it.

Check out your appliances

Water and energy efficient appliances are all the rage these days, but even many older appliances are efficient when used properly. Some washing machines are made to use varying quantities of water depending on whether the machine is full, while others use the full amount regardless of what cycle is chosen.

Check with your leasing agent to find out the capacity of your washer, and whether you are better off running only full loads of wash, or if smaller loads can be done efficiently. Most dishwashers offer a "Light Wash" option that is still enough to clean most household dishes. A little information about how your appliances work can save several gallons of water per use, and the difference can be seen in your water bill.

It might not seem as glamorous as recycling, but water conservation can actually make a huge difference environmentally and financially. A few simple steps and a little extra attention are all it takes!