Summer is here. Time for outdoor fun like pool parties, cookouts, baseball, gardening or just relaxing in the backyard with a good book and a tall glass of lemonade. Ahhhhhhh summertime!
Now imagine yourself doing those activities without enough water. No ice to keep your potato salad cold and safe to eat, instant dried flowers and dirty, smelly clothes. Not to mention you’d look pretty silly jumping around in an empty pool.
Summer recreation is a good reason for conserving water, but what about another incentive concerning homeowners? How about saving money?
The old adage, “Less is more,” can be applied to water usage. For well and septic system owners, the more water used lessens the life of your pump and drain field. You also can factor in the electric and maintenance costs into the total.
Take this quick quiz to see where you stand when it comes to conserving water and learn a few tricks to help you save some money in the process! Give yourself one point for each measure you use.
The average American uses 80 gallons of water a day, about 32 of those gallons go straight down the drain. Do you….
- Not let water run when doing dishes, brushing teeth, shaving, and washing hands and face.
- Refrigerate a bottle of water instead of letting water run to get cold.
- Skip pre-rinsing dishes for the dishwasher unless it is absolutely necessary. Only run dishwasher when full.
- Use proper water level settings for the washing machine and only run when full.
- Take short showers. Five to seven gallons can be saved for every minute. Turn off water while you lather and shampoo. Turn on again to rinse.
- Install low-flow shower heads and aerators on household faucets.
- Sometimes use a wrapped towelette or instant hand sanitizer to wash up. On average, daily personal hygiene uses about 15 gallons of water per person.
- Use spray taps for rinsing dishes and vegetables. It flows only while it is squeezed. Spray taps use anywhere from 50% to 90% less water while rinsing than what the faucet would have used.
Let’s go outside. Do you…
- Wash your car at a public car wash facility where the water is recycled.
- Cover your pool when not in use to prevent evaporation.
- Water plants only when necessary. Watering lawns and gardens can double the water usage in your household during the summer months. Avoid watering between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Most lawns need only one inch of water every five to seven days in the summer. When mowing, raise the blade on your lawn mower to at least three inches high or to the highest level.
- Landscape with less grass and more native and drought-resistant plants. This can help reduce your need for extra water, as well as time spent mowing, weeding and fertilizing.
- Install rain barrels or redirect downspouts towards lawns or flowerbeds.
- Sweep paved surfaces such as driveways, streets, sidewalks, garages, and patios instead of hosing it down.
- Mulch shrubs and plants to reduce evaporation.
How did you score?
15 to 10 points. You are a good water steward and set a great example for all of us!
9 to 5 points. You are aware of water conservation and save some money in the process. Great job!
4 to 0 points. It is never too late to adopt water conservation practices and save money! Take advantage of the links below to get started!
Conservation guides on the web:
For information on clothes washers rated under the USEPA and Department of Energy Energy Star program, see the Energy Star webpage at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=clotheswash.pr_clothes_washers
For an extended web-based course in home toilet maintenance, see the website Toiletology 101 at http://www.toiletology.com/index.shtml.
Source: Purdue Research Foundation © 2001