Water usage always seems to spike in the summertime, but there are some easy ways to keep costs low even during the busy months. These top five tips (for using both outdoor and indoor water) can help homeowners curb water waste for good. So you can start feeling good about saving water—and your bank account—for the long haul!
Saving Water Outdoors
You don’t have to overwater just to keep your grass green. A few high-tech and old-world tricks can help you cut water waste without sacrificing your lush lawn.
1. Review your sprinklers
If you have an automatic system, make sure it isn’t spraying water on the driveway or other paved areas. You don’t want to end up paying for water that just goes down the drain, so be sure to adjust the sprinkler heads as needed and turn the system off during downpours.
2. Look for a WaterSense label
Old clock timers can get a seriously smart upgrade with WaterSense irrigation controllers. These gadgets actually monitor your plants’ needs and local weather data so you never have to wonder whether you’re accidentally overwatering. They only turn on when your lawn and plants need it—saving the average homeowner about 8,800 gallons of water every year!
3. Try a drip system
This irrigation setup is great for gardens and flowerbeds because it puts the water right at the roots and eliminates water waste from runoff and evaporation. Compared to traditional sprinklers, drip irrigation can save up to 50% of watering costs. It’s a quick install with big rewards.
4. Use mulch
When used properly, mulch can do double-duty for weed control and water retention. A layer of 2- to 3-inches around trees and plants will help them hold moisture so you won’t have to water as often. Just don’t make the pile too big. You can damage root systems and accelerate rot when you apply mulch in thick layers or get too close to the tree trunks.
5. Get a rain barrel
There’s nothing like a rain barrel for perpetuating your backyard’s water cycle! Collecting rainwater is truly the ultimate water conservation technique. By keeping water runoff from your roof, you can basically water your garden for free, even on dry days, with a stash of refreshing rainwater.
Saving Water Indoors
While most of our summer water costs are related to outdoor usage, there’s still plenty
of ways to reduce waste indoors. The good news about these areas is that the savings will last year-round.
1. Check for leaks—even minor ones
A silently-leaking toilet bowl can waste up to 100 gallons of water every day. Run a quick check on each commode by putting a couple drops of food coloring into the tank. You’ll know you have a leak if the color shows in the bowl a couple minutes later. Add a new rubber to keep it plugged.
2. Replace outdated showerheads
Older homes tend to suffer from inefficient fixtures. According to one finance article, showerheads made before 1992 have flow rates that can more than double today’s standards. If you really want to cut high water costs, opt for showerheads that have flow rates of 1.5 gallons per minute.
3. Choose other efficient appliances
Your dishwasher, laundry machine, water heater and water softener tend to use more water than your showerheads on any given week. Check out the ENERGY STAR ratings on newer, high-efficiency models to cut water and energy costs on all your daily chores.
4. Service your water softener
Problems with your water pressure are likely to occur when your home’s water systems aren’t regularly checked. If you really want to cut back on your water bill and other expenses, see if your softener needs maintenance. Hard water can damage the efficiency on your appliances, fixtures, and pipes. An efficient softener helps keep water-using units working at their best.
5. Go bottle-free
Last but not least—ditch those plastic water bottles! Probably the easiest way to save on water costs is to stop paying for expensive bottled water. It’s a lot cheaper to filter water at home with a zero water waste system. (Plus the filtered water tastes a lot better than chlorinated tap water!)
Whether you’re cutting water usage outdoors or indoors, every gallon counts with water conservation. Taking inspiration from these tips is sure to help lower your costs in every season!