How to Conserve Water at Home: 21 Easy Methods

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Whether you live in an area that’s prone to drought or you just want to protect a vital source, you might be keen to make more effort to conserve your water.

Here, we’ve shared 21 easy methods for conserving water that anyone can try today.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways:

  • Using less water helps you to save money and means that less water needs to be taken from natural resources (many of which are dwindling by the day).
  • Some of the best methods of water conservation are to only flush your toilet when needed, use low-flow aerators and shower heads, use a rain barrel and water filter to collect and treat drinking water, do only full loads in your dishwasher and clothes washer, and don’t keep the faucet running when you don’t need water.

πŸ’§ 21 Methods of Water Conservation At Home

Let’s take a look at 21 of the most effective methods of conserving water at home.

Only Flush When You Need To

How many times do you flush your toilet when it’s not necessary?

If you often flush facial tissues and other bits of waste down your toilet, start putting these in your garbage can instead.

Each time you flush your toilet, you use between 1 and 1.5 gallons of water. You’ll be able to save water by cutting down your number of flushes per day – only flush after you’ve used your toilet for its intended purpose.

This won’t only help you to reduce your water intake, but it’ll also prevent contamination and pollution of natural waters, and problems with your sewage system. Plastics, sanitary items, wet wipes, cigarette butts, and tissues designed for non-flushing purposes may clog your sewage pipes and pollute the rivers and seas where treated wastewater eventually ends up.

Only flushing when needed

Only Wash Full Loads Of Laundry

A typical washing machine uses between 15 and 30 gallons of water per load, depending on its size and efficiency rating. The average family of four does eight to ten loads of laundry per week – that’s a lot of wasted water!

If you always have a load of laundry on the go, make sure to only switch on the washing machine when you have a full load ready.

Washing the odd item of clothing here and there is wasteful. Even if you have to collect your whites over a few weeks, it’s better to do this than to dedicate an entire wash to a few meager pairs of socks or one white shirt.

Use Shorter Wash Cycles

Unless you’re washing heavily soiled clothes, you don’t need to set your washing machine to a 2-3-hour wash.

Most modern washing machines let you adjust the wash setting to your desired time, so you can reduce how much water you use per wash.

Your washing machine might even have a quick wash setting, which is ideal if your clothing is suitable for a quick wash cycle and you want to get the job done in 15-60 minutes, using less water in the process.

Switch To High-Efficiency Appliances

Investing in new appliances for your home is expensive. But if your water-using appliances are reaching the end of their lifespans, consider upgrading to high-efficiency alternatives.

A high-efficiency washing machine uses much less water than a standard washing machine (around 10-15 gallons vs up to 30 gallons per load, depending on the washing machine’s size).

High-efficiency dishwashers can use as little as 3 gallons of water per load, helping you to save thousands of gallons of water per year.

How do you know which water-using appliances are high-efficiency? Look for Energy Star-certified appliances that are advertised to reduce water usage as well as save energy compared to traditional appliances.

Woman using high-efficiency washing machine

Flush Less Water Down The Toilet

Another great way to save water with your toilet habits is to flush less water down the toilet.

Consider buying a toilet flapper, which you can adjust to control the amount of water that flows into the toilet with every flush.

You can experiment to find the right adjustment to flush away the contents of the toilet without wasting unnecessary water.

Only Wash Full Loads In The Dishwasher

We’ve already mentioned only using your washing machine to wash full loads – and the same applies to washing dishes.

Rather than washing a load of dishes after every meal, load the dishwasher gradually throughout the day, then do a single wash in the evening.

If you don’t plan to use a lot of dishes one day (for instance, if you’re making a quick dinner that doesn’t need a lot of kitchenware, or you’re ordering a takeaway), hand-wash your dishes instead. You’ll use less running water if you quickly hand-wash a few plates and items of cutlery versus running a dedicated dishwasher cycle.

Take Shorter Showers

The average shower uses five-to-ten gallons of water per minute. If you want to save water and reduce your water bill, taking short showers is one of the best things you can do.

There are a few ways you can speed up your showers:

  • Focus! Many people use their shower time as an opportunity to meditate, daydream, contemplate the day ahead, or launch into an impromptu karaoke. You can do all of that while you’re towel-drying if you like, but avoid wasting time in the shower. Get in, wash, and get out.
  • If you have a conditioning treatment or hair mask that you need to leave in for longer than a few seconds, switch off the water while you wait.
  • Don’t brush your teeth or shave while you shower. Attempting to multitask will add unnecessary time on to the process.
  • Use a timer or a playlist while you shower. Once the timer beeps or the song ends, you have to get out – no matter what!
  • Don’t wash your hair every day. It’s bad to wash your hair too often, anyway – experts recommend washing your hair every two to three days at most. On non-hair wash days, you can simply jump in the shower, wash your body, and get out within minutes.

Try to limit your shower time to 5-10 minutes. Set yourself a challenge to see how quickly you can shower, then compare your water bill to last month’s. You’ll definitely notice a difference!

Woman taking a short shower

Take Baths

If you hate the idea of speedy showers, consider swapping your showers for a bath.

The average bath uses 35 to 50 gallons of water, while a shower uses up to 100 gallons of water per 10 minutes – especially if you have a high-flow power shower.

If you have infants or young children, give them a bath at the same time. It’ll help you save water and speed up your parenting duties.

Of course, this method will only save water if you usually take very long showers, and it goes without saying that taking a post-bath shower to “wash off all the bath water” will be detrimental to the cause.

Fix Leaking Faucets

Leaking faucets can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. Think how many showers you could have in that!

If you notice that one of your faucets is leaking, fix it as soon as possible. It’s often as simple as replacing the washer (if water is dripping out of the end of the tap) or cleaning/replacing the o-ring (if water is leaking from beneath the handle or the spout).

Can’t fix a dripping faucet straight away? Put a bucket or container underneath the tap to catch the drips. You can at least use them for a purpose around the house, such as watering your plants or cleaning.

Fixing a leaking faucet

Turn Off The Water While You Brush Your Teeth

Another quick, easy water conservation method is to switch off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth.

If you’re an obedient human, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time.

You’ll waste about 4 gallons of water every time you do your teeth if you leave the tap running. That’s 32 gallons of water in a 4-person household!

Install Water-Saving Faucets & Shower Heads

Water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators will help you to limit water waste by limiting the volume of water that leaves the fixture per minute.

You’ll probably find that you can achieve the same outcome (i.e. washing your hands or your hair) in the same amount of time, even with less water.

However, if you’re a fan of power showers, a water-saving shower head probably isn’t for you. It’ll reduce your water flow to 2 gallons of water per minute or lower.

Installing a low-flow faucet aerator

Keep A Jug Of Water In The Fridge

Rather than running tap water until it’s cool every time you’re thirsty, fill a big jug of cold water and leave it to sit in your fridge to cool. Then, when you need a drink, head to the fridge, rather than the faucet.

You might not think this method will save a lot of water, but consider how much water you currently waste by simply letting the faucet run while you wait for the water to cool down – especially in the summer months.

Buy Fewer Water-Based Consumer Products

Many consumer products, like skincare items, wet wipes, hand sanitizers, and makeup, are made with water.

There are other consumer products that don’t necessarily contain water, but have a big water footprint, like leather shoes, smartphones, cotton bed sheets, and paper.

Try to reduce your consumption of consumer goods, and you’ll inadvertently reduce the water usage that you’re responsible for in manufacturing.

Reduce Your Water-Intensive Food Intake

Similarly, many of the foods in the average American diet have massive water footprints.

A 3-ounce serving size of ham or pork needs around 135 gallons to produce, and even a single egg has a 52-gallon water footprint.

Reduce the foods in your diet that require a lot of water to make. Meat, dairy, and animal products typically have the largest water footprints, so try switching to a couple of vegetarian meals per week to do your bit for the environment.

Buying less water-intensive food

Recycle Your Water For Your Plants

There’s no need to water plants with clean, fresh water from your faucet.

Plants should thrive whether you wash them with water from a rain barrel, or water you’ve collected from your shower (as long as it’s not soapy water).

So, if you’re really big on water efficiency, recycle the gray water in your home and use it to hydrate your plants.

Install A Water Meter To Detect Leaks

Leaks aren’t always obvious. To make sure your home’s plumbing system doesn’t have any hidden leaks, check your house water meter while no other water-using appliances and fixtures are running.

Read the water usage on the meter, then wait two hours (don’t use any water during this time). Check the water usage reading again. It should be exactly the same, and if it’s not, you have a leak.

Determining the location of the leak can be a challenge, but there a few tricks you can use. TO check for a leak in your toilet, add food coloring to the toilet tank. If your toilet bowl starts changing color, you have a leaking toilet.

Woman reading a water meter

Hand-Water Your Lawn

Lawn irrigation systems are unnecessary for the most part. Your lawn doesn’t need watering as often as you might think, so if you want to conserve water, ditch the irrigation and hand-water your grass and plants instead.

Your lawn needs about one inch of water per week for healthy growth. You’ll be able to better control how much water is used, and which areas are watered, if you water your garden with a watering can.

If you do have an irrigation system, operate it manually rather than leaving it on an automated setting. That way, you can control how often your lawn is watered, and how much water is used every time.

We recommend placing a small can, such as an empty tuna can, beneath the flow of water from one of your sprinklers. When the depth of the water in the can is about an inch, switch off the sprinklers.

Collect Rainwater For Drinking

Did you know that you can filter your rain water for drinking?

You can buy or make your own rainwater collection system that collects rain water for drinking. This is a great way to reduce your water bill and save money, especially if you live in a rainy region, since you’ll be able to greatly reduce how much water you use from your faucets every day.

To make rain water suitable for drinking water, you’ll need to filter the water to remove sediment, debris, and contaminants. It’s a myth that rain water is suitable to drink straight from the sky!

You can also use rainwater collection barrels as part of efficient watering systems for your plants or lawn.

Rainwater tank

Wash Your Car With A Bucket Of Water

Washing your car with a hose or spray device is unnecessary.

One of the simplest methods of saving water is simply to wash your car with a bucket of water and a sponge.

Once you’ve finished, you can give the car a quick hose-down to remove the soap suds – but there’s no need to spend more than a few seconds on this stage of the job.

Dry-Clean Your Outdoor Spaces

There’s usually no need to clean driveways and other outdoor areas with a hose. Hosing down your drive on a weekly basis will only result in a lot of unnecessary water waste.

Switch to a broom or a rake (depending on what you’re cleaning!) and you’ll achieve similar, if not the same, results.

Plant Drought-Resistant Lawns

If you live in a region that sees hot, dry summers, you’ll end up wasting a lot of water during the summer months if your lawn can’t handle the heat.

Use native plants and grasses in your garden, which require less care and are designed to withstand your local climate.

Lots of trees and plants thrive without the need for constant watering. Choose drought-resistant plants that are tolerant to low water conditions and only require a light sprinkling, even in the hottest season.

You can also add organic matter to your soil, which will help it to better retain moisture and reduce your watering duties.

πŸ”š Final Word

Hopefully, this article has given you some great ideas on how you can conserve water and help to protect this precious resource – and reduce your water bill along the way.

If you have any lesser-known ingenious hacks to conserve water at home, we’d love to know! Send us an email and we’ll edit our list to add in your own tips and recommendations.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

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