Water is both our most precious resource and, sadly, one of the most commonly wasted. With Australian households ranking as the most wasteful users of water in the world, it’s important we all learn how to conserve water in our daily life — for both our environment and our wallet. Here are some simple ways to conserve water at home, from your hot water services, to upgrading appliances, and adopting more environmentally-friendly habits.
Simple ways to conserve water at home
Cut down on hot water
One of the simplest strategies to reduce water usage in the home is to cut down on the amount of hot water you use. Since water heating is one of the largest energy expenses in the average household, using warm water rather than boiling hot water for daily tasks like showering and doing the dishes can make a big difference in the long run. You can also save water by:
Switching on the hot water heater only when needed (such as the early morning and early evening)
Setting it to a maximum of 70 degrees.
Installing a hot water circulator (it could also save you an estimated 17,000 litres of water per year!)
Those with an old water heater can lower their energy costs by having it insulated to prevent heat escaping. If you’ve noticed a sudden unexplained increase in your energy bills, the culprit might be an inefficient or out-dated hot water service, which a licensed professional plumber can easily fix for you.
Upgrade your appliances
Opting for energy-efficient models of household appliances can also save us hundreds of litres of water per year – and, by extension, hundreds of dollars. When buying appliances, research various brands and their energy ranking to make sure you’re getting the most energy-efficient option your budget allows. Look for AAA ratings in your household appliances wherever possible. Upgrading your washing machine to a newer, more environmentally-friendly model, and washing your clothes in cold water, could help you save up to two-thirds of your current water usage. Similarly, having an AAA-rated dual flush toilet will use 60% less water than a standard single flush toilet. A three-star WELS-rated shower head can help save more than 50 litres every time you shower. It’s well worth doing your homework when it comes to energy-efficient appliances — the potential savings are mind-blowing.
Fix those leaky taps
Leaky taps are a common nuisance in the household – but did you know that the amount of water wasted by these seemingly harmless annoyances each year equates to the same amount of water needed for 270 loads of washing? The causes often include a loose part, worn out seal, corroded valve or a washer that needs replacing. The truth is leaky taps and other frequent household plumbing issues are typically a straightforward fix for a professional. Arranging to have a licensed plumber examine those pesky, ongoing problems and maintain your home’s plumbing sooner rather than later can lead to significant savings of water and money over time.
Since most water is used in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen, it’s important to take on a more eco-friendly routine as we’re showering, cooking, washing up, and doing the laundry. Here are a few starting points for the budget and environment conscious home:
- Consider how much water you actually need. Adjust the load size on the washing machine if you’re not doing a full load of laundry, for instance, and only use the dishwasher when it’s full.
- When preparing meals, wash your vegetables in a partially-filled sink rather than under running water.
- Think about the size of the pan in relation to the food, so that you don’t overfill the pan with water for only a small quantity of food. Opting to heat up your veggies in a steamer, pressure cooker, microwave or pots with lids will also conserve more energy.
- Aim to cut your daily shower by half. Limiting your showers to four minutes or less can save around 24 litres of water every day.
- Make sure everyone in the home turns off the tap when brushing their teeth.
- Collect greywater or drain-waste from your shower, spa and other appliances (not including toilets!) for re-use in your garden or lawn. For example, when you’re waiting for the shower water to get to a comfortable temperature before hopping in, collect this excess water in a bucket.
Of course, water conservation shouldn’t be limited to indoors. Some simple tips to help you save water in your backyard include:
- Use a broom or rake to clean your driveway, deck and other outdoor areas rather than a hose.
- Only water the garden when necessary, and early in the day; if it’s damp two centimetres below the surface, it doesn’t need watering.
- Adjust how much water you give your plants according to the seasons.
- Wherever possible, opt for Australian natives, which require less water.
- Wash the car on the lawn as it waters the grass as you go, and use a bucket rather than a hose.
- If you have a pool, using a pool cover will help you save money by cutting down on water lost through evaporation.
For more tips on reducing your water usage – and, by extension, your household bills – give us a call at Tai Irwin Plumbing today.