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How-To: 10 Easy Ways to Save Water at Home

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.
  • Want to know the rest? Then


  • 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.

Have more suggestions? Leave them in the comments!

greenapples1987 greenapples1987 8 years
I'd NEVER wash dishes by hand, GROSS!! I could not live with out my dishwasher!!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Love these tips. I already do most of them but now I'll do all of them.
emalove emalove 9 years
Thanks, Casa...all very useful(and easy)tips!
wakeupandora wakeupandora 9 years
awesome suggestions and very cool picture in the post!
thelorax thelorax 9 years
Casa I am going home and checking for leaks!!! My husband is going to be so proud of me, usually HE is the handy one :-) Thank you!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
good tips! i think people should only water plants with grey water, if possible - when we wash our hands etc the water isn't really very dirty and it seems like such a waste!
nancita nancita 9 years
Wow, awesome tips. The food coloring toilet suggestion is great; never heard that before. Also I'm totally using my pasta water for plants now...lord knows my plants could use some help.
mudnessa mudnessa 9 years
adding to lynne's suggestion caught warm up water can be used for almost anything. i use it to water my plants. sometimes dump it in the sink for dishwashing purposes. i did read something recently about collecting rain water something about checking what surface your roof is if its catching water off roofs or other surfaces. i dont have specifics but some one didnt install a rain barrel because they were planning on watering their food plants and it was not recommended because of the surface of their roof and it would be sitting for a bit. ok that was really not informative sorry.
Home Home 9 years
RoseDilla--the water bottles will fool your toilet tank into thinking it's full. By having those heavy bottles in the toilet tank, you're using less water per flush to fill the toilet bowl back up. You all have some great tips for reducing water use. Nice work!
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
Great tips! One thing i do is when i empty the dehumidifier from the basement is instead of dumping that water down the drain, I use it to water my plants.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
Thanks Casa. Also, some of these tips are constant reminders during commercial breaks on the new GREEN Channel that I simply love to watch. I'm a bit confused about the plastic bottles in the toilet tank. What exactly does it do?
cmd0610 cmd0610 9 years
Casa- Don't forget the product that you showed us a week or so ago- My Sky My Water My Garden- granted that might not be the most cost-efficient method, maybe someone very crafty/savvy could come up with a homemade or DIY version of that product???? Maybe just collecting rain water in a simple pail or bucket to water plants that don't get the rain exposure?
Lynne Lynne 9 years
Adding to the full-load in the clothes washer, use cold water. It won't make a difference from hot. A suggestion that I've heard before is for those with pets. When running water in the sink waiting for it to heat up, fill up a milk jug or other bottle and stick it in the fridge. Once it's cold, use that to fill your pets water dish.
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