Indoor Water Conservation Techniques
Though wise use of water in summer is essential, conservation needs to become a year-round habit. Because we take water for granted, much of the water we use inside our homes is wasted. On average, a Lincoln family of four uses 300 to 400 gallons of water each day.
There are good reasons why we should conserve water year-round. By conserving water, you will also conserve energy--energy used to heat water and run appliances that use water. Your wastewater bill is calculated on the average amount of water usage for domestic purposes during the winter. So, by conserving water, you will reduce your energy, water and wastewater bills.
Basic Tips for Indoor Conservation
Lincoln's Water Conservation Task Force offers these tips to help you use water wisely inside your home.
- Install water-conserving devices in your bathroom. Flow restrictors and other water-saving devices are inexpensive and easy to install. Low-flow shower heads reduce the flow rate but maintain the velocity of the spray. You can find them at plumbing and hardware stores.
- Gurgling sounds coming from a toilet mean water is being wasted. The sound indicates the flush ball needs to be adjusted.
- A plastic jug weighted with sand or stones can befilled with water and placed in the toilet tank. This can save five or more gallons per day for a family of four. Make sure that it doesn't interefere with the mechanism in the toilet tank.
- Avoid using your toilet as a wastebasket or ashtray. Extra flushes cost money and the items can cause expensive damage or clog your plumbing.
- Try to limit your showers to five minutes. You can save more water by turning off the water while lathering your hair and soaping up. Each minute subtracted from your showering time could save up to ten gallons of water.
- Run your dishwasher only with a full load. Automatic dishwashers use about 15 gallons of water, regardless of the number of dishes in a load.
- When washing dishes by hand, don't let the tap run freely to rinse. Instead, plug the second side of your sink and let it fill. Even if the water needs to be changed two or three times to keep water soap-free, you will use considerably less water.
- When washing dishes by hand, use low-sudsing detergents because they require less rinsing.
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in your refrigerator. It's money down the drain if you let the faucet run to get cold water.
- Clothes washers are more water efficient if run only when they are full.
- If your washer has a variable load control, adjust water levels to fit the size of the load.
- When washing clothes by hand, don't let the water run, or; instead, plug the laundry tub and reuse wash and rinse water.
Check for Leaks
- Even a leak the size of a pinhole wastes 170 gallons a day. A trickle may add up to 250 gallons a day. So one leak could cost you at least $15 a month or $180 a year.
- Periodically check your toilet for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl without the toilet being flushed, you have a leak. The plunger ball probably needs to be cleaned or replaced.
- Another way to test for leaks is while you are sleeping. Night time is the best time to turn off the tap. Before going to bed, shut off all water use in the house. Then, read the meter at the inside meter. The key is to have several hours without water use. Check the meter again in the morning. If your house is leak-free, the meter will not move. If it does, start searching. If you can't find the leak yourself, contact a qualified plumber. The savings from fixing the leaks will eventually pay for the plumber.