23 March 2010

12 Easy ways to save water at home

Yesterday, March 22nd, was World Water Day, an international initiative created by the United Nations to spur awareness of the 2.6 billion people who lack basic sanitation. Most of us take for granted that when we turn on a tap, clean water instantly emerges. It has for as long as most of us have been alive. We clean ourselves, our homes, our laundry and our cars with it. We cook with it. We water our lawns with it. And, most important of all, we drink it. I'm not sure we know how very lucky we are.

That doesn't mean our luck will last forever. The purpose of this post isn't to make you feel guilty. It's to help you save water for your future and ours. A happy short-term outcome is lower water bills, which isn't a bad thing at all. In the long run, conservation will help ensure that the next generation can enjoy clean water, too.

Some of these12 steps are free and easy, though they may require some of you to change long-held habits. Others involve an investment in your home. This can potentially increase its value to future owners, also not a bad thing.

In order of ease and cost...

  • Don't run the tap while you're brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Lather and rinse, but don't repeat when you shampoo. (Your hair will thank you, too.)
  • Don't run the water while you condition your hair.
  • Take showers, not baths.
  • Water your lawn one day less per week, and not at all in the rainy season.
  • Don't rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Switch to a detergent like Cascade Complete that works better on dirtier contents.

When I started using this product a few years ago, it saved me time, aggravation and the expense of replacing my dishwasher... It's the detergent, stupid!

  • Pay close attention to the water settings on your clothes washer; small loads need less water, but some machines require you to adjust the water level manually.

Low cost, high returns
  • Repair or replace any leaking or dripping faucets.
  • Replace your existing faucets with hands-free models. These are available now for both kitchen and bath.

Ryohan EcoPower Bathroom Sink Faucet by Toto offers sleek style and water savings, too

Brizo's Pascal offers hands-free functionality and hot looks for your kitchen

You'll also benefit from hands-free AKA sensor faucets with less germ transfer between family members.

Larger investment, greater returns
  • Consider replacing your existing toilets with dual flush models.

Kohler's Reve stints on water use with its Dual Flush technology, but definitely not on aesthetics

  • Consider replacing your existing top-load washing machine with a front load model. Most use less water.

This WM2010C Washer by LG is one of the most water-efficient models on the market

  • Consider adding a tankless water heater for bathrooms far from your main water heater. You'll run less water waiting for it to get hot.

Rinnai makes some of the industry's best-selling tankless water heaters.

If you have additional ideas to share, please post them in the comments section. When each of us saves water, everyone wins!


  1. Great post, Jamie! Here's a freebie I like. If you haven't invested in a tankless water heater yet, and still have to run the water for awhile to get it warm, collect the cold water in a large watering can. Use that water in your garden or on your house plants.

  2. Fantastic tips, I'm trying to implement as many of them as I can around the house.

  3. If you have one water heater that covers all the faucets in your home, but it is too far for some taps use the point-of-use water heaters which are usually installed under the sink, in the kitchen or bathroom.

    Point of use heater can be tankless or tank type and they are mainly electric.

    Use water restrictors on shower heads.

    For more info: http://www.hot-water-heaters-reviews.com/water-heater-reviews.html

  4. good post and timely jamie! I will say...be warned about HET toilets...we use the Toto aquia 2 often but the complaint is the water is too low in the bowl..and one client..who had a small child being potty trained...well, you get the picture! And, other prob I have encountered is in remodeling, you do not know the quality and care of the existing pipes..so, if you do use a HET, sometimes they can have more problems if the existing pipes are not good....below ground..and how would you know??


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