Water conservation is a pretty big deal, but it has the bonus of saving you money in the process. As water usage and costs inevitably rise during the summer months, there are easy ways to conserve water and cut the bill at home. Here are five summer-specific tips and fifteen more everyday ideas for conserving water at home. Plus, a bonus tip, for Mother Nature’s sake.
1. Let Your Grass Grow
Raise your mower deck so your grass is never lower than 3 inches. The roots will grow deeper, the blades will shade the root system and it’s an easy way to improve the soil’s ability to retain moisture.
2. Heave the Hose
Your lawn only needs about 1 inch of water each week. Heavy rainfall eliminates the need to water for as long as 2 weeks. Here are some easy ways to water your lawn without a wasteful hose:
• Collect rainwater
• Collect "warm-up" water in a bucket whenever you wait for the shower to be body-ready
• Wash your car on—or close to—your lawn
• Washing veggies? Use a bucket; pour the waste water on your lawn or plants
• Same thing goes for pasta water
• Check out your downspouts: direct the flow where you want water to go
3. Maximize with Mulch
Mulch is doubly useful to trees and plants because it slows evaporation and discourages weed growth. Add 2-4 inches of organic material around your plants, pressing down around the drip line to prevent water run-off.
4. Protect Your Pipes
Check your water bill: if it’s rising, water is leaking. Replace any leaking pipes, faucets, spigots and loose washers.
Did You Know? a drip of one drop per second will waste 2,700 gallons of water in a year.
5. Avoid Running Your Pool Filter
For many reasons, you should avoid running your pool filter when the sun is shining. Running your filter at night will prevent water—and chlorine—from evaporating. (If you have a pool full of kids, though, run the filter while they’re shaking things up. That’ll help cut down on vacuuming.)
6. Turn the water off while you brush your teeth and save up to 50 gallons of water per week—per person.
7. Use a cup of warm water to rinse your razor.
8. Put a brick (or 2-liter filled with rocks) in your toilet’s tank for an easy DIY low-flow upgrade.
9. If you plan to be quick, take a shower; if you’re going to be a while, take a bath.
10. Cut showers shorter by skipping the rinse and repeat: try a dry shampoo.
11. Use the dishwasher—it’s more efficient than elbow grease.
12. Only do full loads—clothes, dishes, doesn’t matter.
13. To flush or not to flush? If it’s just a nose-blow, throw it in the trash.
14. Ditch the garbage disposal; try a compost bin.
15. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean off your driveway, sidewalks and garage floor.
16. Drink a lot of water, but only use one glass each day.
17. Thaw food in the fridge—not under running water.
18. Consider a rain garden: lower beds with native plants.
19. Ice on the floor? Your pets won’t care! No pets? Your plants won’t mind, either. Feed it to them instead of the drain!
20. Boiling and steaming veggies can sap some of the nutrients, leaving them in the water instead of your meal. Keep those nutrients for yourself by turning the drained water into the base of a soup.
21. Finally, this won’t affect your wallet but it does affect the earth, consider observing Meatless Mondays. It takes almost eighteen-hundred gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. If you skip meat every Monday, you’ll conserve 65,000 gallons of water in a year.