Did you know that saving water is saving energy, not only in your home, but in your community? As a matter of fact, the Western Virginia Water Authority alone spends nearly $2 million a year on energy costs to treat and pump water your home, and to treat the resulting wastewater. So upgrade your water heater, plug up those leaky faucets, and check some ways to see your savings heat up:
Your home is probably full of opportunities to reduce water usage simply by checking faucets, toilets, and other areas for leaks. Even a harmless looking drip will cost you big if you let it go for too long. In fact, a single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water.
- Put some food coloring in your toilet tank. If it shows up in the bowl, you have a leak. Toilet leaks can waste up to 200 gallons a day!
- Make sure to monitor all your faucets, not just the obvious ones: outdoor hoses and basement utility sinks might be wasting a ton of water while you're not even watching.
- Turn off the faucet while you're washing your hands and brushing your teeth to save up to 2 gallons of water each time.
- Water your garden or lawn before 10 am or after 7 pm when temperatures are cooler. Watering during the hottest parts of the day can result in much of the water evaporating off the surface before it has a chance to absorb into the soil where your plants really need it.
- Set the water heater thermostat at 120 degrees (Low) or less, unless you have a dishwasher that requires 140 degrees.
Investing a little in water savings devices can save you gallons of cash, and reusing water that might otherwise have been wasted is basically free money!
- Upgrade showerheads, faucets and toilets to low-flow devices. Never use a hose to do a broom's job!
- If you can't invest in a low-flow toilet, fill a two-liter bottle with water and put it in your toilet tank. That will keep the tank from filling up and save you water with each flush.
- Now here's a surprising one: Instead of washing your car at home, take it to a commercial car wash that recycles its water!
- Take old water from the dog's bowl or water left over from rinsing vegetables and water your houseplants.
- Tankless water heaters can provide instant hot water, on demand. This Department of Energy page provides a bunch of great info on in-demand systems.