While I love to keep Summer style chic and easy, I also like to try to keep it eco-minded as well. The water rationing in the San Francisco Bay Area has encouraged me to redouble my water conservation efforts, and I've been striving to find ways to further cut down on my water use. I have a suspicion that many of you are also trying to minimize your water use as well — after all, it's both an economically and environmentally smart idea. Since my goal is to always make your lives easier, I've found ways to save water that don't involve intensive planning, gizmos, or installations that will also save money on your water bill every month.
- Check for hidden water leaks at your house. Just recently, I realized that the piping for my home's deck spigot was leaky. I cut off the water supply to the deck spigot, moved more of my deck plants down to the patio, and now water the plants by hand. To get an accurate check of your water use, read the house water use before and after two hours, when no water is being used. If the meter does not show the same reading, there is a leak.
- Your toilet may have a leak, too. To check, drop some food coloring into the back of your toilet (the toilet tank). If the color begins to appear in the bowl within half an hour, and you have not flushed then there's a leak. No worries though — in most cases this is a cheap and easy repair.
- Transform your toilet into an economical, no-installation, low-flow toilet by placing plastic bottles in your tank. Take one or two individual-sized plastic bottles, put some sand in them to weigh them down, fill the bottles with water, and then put them in your toilet tank. You can save over 10 gallons of water a day with this simple method.
- Take shorter showers. Try to limit your showers to five minutes or less. A shower timer might help.
- When you brush your teeth, turn the water off, don't let it run down the drain! This seems obvious, but I know plenty of people who practice this bad habit (including one I'm marrying, though he's been cured of that habit by now).
- When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing. If your sink has a double basin, fill one basin with dishsoap and water, and the other with rinse water. Then dip your dishes in the rinse water instead of using the faucet.
- Use the proper amount of water for the job. If you're boiling water for pasta, only use the amount needed; don't fill the pot all the way up with water, which can be a waste of water and energy.
- Conserve water left over from boiling and steaming vegetables and pasta. You can use this water, once it cools, to water your houseplants and garden plants. In fact, the extra nutrients will actually improve your plants' health.
- Only run your dishwasher on full loads. In almost all cases, modern dishwashers do not require dishes to be prerinsed.
- Only run your clotheswasher on full loads.
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