From severe droughts to massive flooding this year, Americans seem to understand the value of water. What they might not realize is the connection between saving water and saving energy. 

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with water conservation groups worldwide, offers a host of online advice for easy ways to save water at home. Not to mention how it will help consumers cut their utility bills.

 

“We turn on the bathroom lights and the shower without realizing how closely related water and electricity are to each other,” the EPA reports in one of its WaterSense publications. “One of the best ways to save energy across the country and in our own home is to use water more efficiently,” according to “Saving Water Saves Energy: Make the Drops-to-Watts Connection.”

 

Here are some of the less common tips for preserving this natural resource in your home among the “100 Ways to Conserve.” Most refer to landscaping uses because they account for between 30 and 70 percent of water used daily in American homes, depending on the region and season.

 

Rain barrelLandscaping:

 

  • Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates. Also note: trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
  • To prevent water from being wasted by running off sloping lawns, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • Water your plants deeply, but less frequently, to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance. Remember: more plants die from over-watering than under-watering. Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop or redirect the water. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons a minute.
  • Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering using a spade, trowel or soil probe. If it’s still moist two to three inches under the soil surface you still have enough water. Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining. Use a rain gauge, or empty tuna can, to track rainfall on your lawn. Then reduce your watering accordingly. A can of tuna also measures sprinkler output. One inch of water on one square foot of grass is two-thirds of a gallon of water.
  • Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant for year-round landscape color, and save up to 550 gallons a year
  • Direct water from your roof’s rain gutters or HVAC systems, perhaps into a rain barrel, to water your garden.
 

Bathroom (toilets account for 19 percent of water in U.S. homes, showers, 12 percent):

 

  • Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model
 

Loading a dishwasherKitchen (Faucets account for 11 percent of household use)

 

  • Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food, instead, in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle to cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up.
  • If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
 

Recycling

 

  • Reuse water from rinsing fruits and vegetables to water houseplants
  • Leftover water from cooked or steamed food can help start a soup
  • When giving your pet fresh water, use the old water for your trees or shrubs
 

Miscellaneous

 

  • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.
  • Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water
  • Setting cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills saves both water and chemicals.
 

For other easy ways to save water, check out the graphic home tour navigator at www.H2ouse.net to target room-specific conservation ideas.

 

And, use this tool on the EPA’s website to calculate the savings you would achieve by using water saving products.

 

Photos: roger_mommaerts/Flickr; saaby/Flickr

 

See also:

How to save water

20 ways to conserve water at home

Ways to save water