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7 Ways to Conserve Water In Your Home

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

Friday, June 12th, 2020 @ 10:35am
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Water wastage from leaky faucets, running toilets or non-essential exterior use is one of the least green things you can do. It’s easy to save water—and save money—by being aware of what you are using. It’s not rocket science – use less and you’ll save more. 

Here are some tips for water conservation in your home:

Fix Leaks


A dripping tap is more than just annoying—it sends your money down the drain. If yours is leaking one drop per second, you are wasting over 2,500 gallons of water per year.

Usually a tap drip can be fixed by replacing a simple washer, but even if you have to change the entire tap it’ll cost less than what you’re wasting.

Install a low-flo toilet


According to Environment Canada, toilets use one-third of a household’s total water consumption. That’s 33% of your water bill—and it adds up to a lot of money. And, the older the toilet, the more it’ll use. 20 years ago, all toilets used at least a 16-20 litre flush. More recent models use a 6-litre or, with ultra low-flo as little as 3 litres of water per flush—a big difference.

“Usually a tap drip can be fixed by replacing a simple washer, but even if you have to change the entire tap it’ll cost less than what you’re wasting.”

Install Tap Aerators


Installing low-flow aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets can save water and money. An aerator reduces the water flow by up to 50%–and, in the case of hot water, you are also saving on the energy cost of heating the water. 

When it comes to doing the washing up, standard kitchen faucets have an average flow rate of 13.5 litres of water per minute. A low flow aerator can be installed to limit the water flow to about 8 litres a minute.

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Fix a Leaky Toilet


Even if you don’t hear it running on, your toilet might be leaking too. You can check for a leak in your toilet by adding a few drops of food colouring to the tank. If within half an hour you see coloured water in the bowl, you know you’ve got a leak.

Again, not an expensive fix, and even if you have to change the toilet you’ll save money.

In fact, if you take the chance to install a low-flo toilet at that time, you can save big time.

Low Flo Shower heads


Standard shower heads have flow rates around 20 litres per minute, and an average five minute shower uses more than 100 litres of water. If you have a low flow shower head installed, you can save half of that water without really compromising your shower quality. Or you can take shorter showers.

Energy Star Appliances


Energy Star rated washers use half the water and energy per load of older models. If you’re in the market for new washing machine, the frontload washing systems have a much larger capacity and save significantly on water and energy.

I know it sounds wrong, but washing your dishes by hand in your sink uses more water than running an Energy Star rated dishwasher. Hand washing your dishes twice daily uses about 70 litres of water. If you run the dishwasher, filled to the max, you’ll use only 30 litres. That’s a small amount of water. 

Look Into Greywater systems


Grey Water is ‘used’ water that comes from sinks and drains—as well as reclaimed rainwater—that has been treated and filtered. It is reused to flush toilets and water lawns and do laundry. It’s non-potable–not for drinking –or for showering or bathing. 

You and your builder or contractor will have to work with your local building authority and plumbing inspector if you are interested in going the grey water route. You’ll need a special permit and plumbing inspection.

A grey water system in a house, used to flush toilets and water lawns, could save about 150 litres of drinking water per day, per household.

I made sure to include a greywater system when I was building my Ultimate Garage.

It holds 3500 gallons of water, and the water can be used for washing vehicles, irrigation and so much more.

Landscaping and Water Consumption


Your lawn and garden is one of the biggest water wasters—next to washing your car. Summertime peak period for water usage is between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. when everyone is home from work, cooking dinner, watering the lawn or hosing down the driveway.

The average suburban Canadian garden needs about 100,000 litres of water to thrive in a growing season. That’s a lot of expensive water that’s been processed and treated and made fit for consumption, that’s just going on a lawn, or to a non-potable use. 

If you’re smart, you can collect rainwater for use on your lawn and garden. If you’re really smart and green you’ll look into a grey-water recycling system that allows you to use harvested rainwater to flush toilets as well as for exterior use.

Read next: Landscaping plays an important role, and not just for curb appeal. Read Landscaping Tips From A Contractor.

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