Monday, 11 October 2010

Saving tap water indoors

by Francesca

Last week I wrote a post on FuoriBorgo on how my family saves up to 17.5 liters of tap water a day with very little effort, by using a "water saving jug." I was surprised by the interest that the post attracted (it was also republished on Re-Nest). So today I decided to write about the key steps we take to conserve tap water in our house (we don't use tap water for gardening). Using tap water efficiently, even in an area like ours where water is plentiful, saves money on our water bill and electricity bill (by using less hot water), helps reduce pollution in watersheds, and increases the life of our septic system.

The key steps we take:

1) collect the water we use for washing fruit and vegetables, and reuse it to water plants
2) catch the water that runs while we're heating up the water for dish-washing, and use it for cooking
3) use a water saving jug in the shower
4) periodically check our faucets, pipes and toilet for leaks
5) use a low-flow shower aerator
6) use low-flow faucet aerators

low-flow aerator

The above steps are surprisingly easy. Installing low-flow faucet and shower head aerators, for example, only involves the initial, very low cost of the parts (in fact our local grocery store handed them out for free years ago). These aerators, which can reduce the water use by up to 65%, are simple to install (they usually just screw onto the tap) and need minimum maintenance: every so often, depending on your water hardness, you unscrew them, soak them in vinegar to clean out any mineral deposits, rinse and reinstall.

low-flow aerator 1

We find that good water management not only brings immediate savings and benefits, but it also teaches our whole family the values of a sustainable lifestyle: conserving water isn't just a strategy for the immediate future, but seems to us an investment in the long-term well-being of our children and our earth.

What steps do you take to conserve tap water in your home?


Annodear said...

I really enjoyed your blogs about saving water. I live in a semi-arid place, and have tried to put a system or two in place to save the water when waiting for it to get hot, etc., but your ideas have really helped. I notice it takes about a gallon of (previously) wasted water, waiting for it to get hot at both my shower and the kitchen sink. But carting it outside for watering the plants is just too much schlepping! Thanks to you, I can see how using the water, especially in the shower, can be easily accomplished! lol re. the photo of your toilet!

Thank you!!

Joyful said...

Excellent ideas and thanks for sharing. Every time I turn the taps on I'm thinking about water waste. I haven't taken any big steps yet to conserve more water. I just try to turn the tap off as much as I can, use small amounts of water for laundry, take shorter showers, don't run water when brushing teeth. I need to think "bigger" and your post will help me do that.

Sense of Home said...

Though we are conscious about not letting the water run unnecessarily, I must admit we have not been diligent about catching the water while we warm up the shower. Thanks for this important reminder!


louisa @ The Really Good Life said...

We installed tap (faucet) aerators this weekend and have already noticed the difference -- we don't notice the difference while washing our hands etc but it takes considerably longer to fill up a glass so it's clearly cutting the excess flow a lot. Wonderful little things.

We got ours free from our water company. In the UK, many water providers are giving away shower aerators and other related water-saving products --

Jessica said...

Thank you for sharing this, really makes you think about how much water you waste without realizing it! Specifically saving water from washing fruits/veggies and using for watering the plants, what a simple and great idea.
I'm a new "follower" and I look forward to reading more on this blog.

Anonymous said...

We use tap aerators, low flow shower head, installed low flush toilet in main bathroom, currently saving $ to replace two other older toilets- use jars of water in one tank to displace/save water for now, take shorter showers - although my two older kids are not exactly quick in this department, reuse towels and clothing to cut down on washing... I liked your jug idea and did used to do this but got out of the habit. I know we could still be way better at conserving water in our home.