Quick & Easy Indoor Water Saving Tips
Water is essential to each of us every day. But it’s a limited resource, so we all need to rethink the way we use water on a daily basis. By following these water-saving tips inside your home, you can help save water every day:
- Check for drippy faucets: Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. Drips add up. Just one drop per second adds up 2,700 gallons a year wasted!
- Showering: Take shorter showers and install low-flow shower heads. Look for the models that allow you to cut-off the flow without adjusting the temperature knobs. A lot of water is wasted when you are trying to get just the right temperature.
- Taking a bath: Close the drain prior to turning on and adjusting the temperature. Only fill tub 1/3 full.
- Washing dishes: Only use the dishwasher when fully loaded.
- Using the bathroom sink: Brush teeth while water heats up for shaving or washing face.
- Hand washing dishes: Fill one sink with soapy water and quickly rinse under a slow-moving steam of water from the faucet.
- Washing produce: Wash produce in a bowl of water rather than under running water.
- Steaming vegetables: Use water left-over from steaming vegetables as a soup base, or let it cool and pour on plants in your garden as they can use the nutrients, too!
- Thawing frozen foods: Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or if needed the same day, in a microwave or in a bowl of water, not under running water.
- Cooking: Never use any pan than is larger than necessary for the meal you are cooking.
- Ice cubes: If you accidentally drop an ice cube, don’t throw it in the sink, put it in a houseplant.
- Washing: Consider reuse towels or other items prior to washing.
- Water temperature: When adjusting water temperature, keep the flow of water as low as possible to balance the temperature.
- Making use of extra water: Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or for cleaning.
- Garbage disposal: Make minimum use of a garbage disposal, and put non-meat food scraps into a composter. Your city may have a program in place to provide you with a low cost composting system.
Big Indoor Water Saving Fixes
- Look for hidden water leaks: Read your water meter before and after a two hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
- Hot water: Consider installing an instant water heater for your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let water run while it heats up.
- Pipes: Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.
- Water softening systems: Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
- Toilets: replace handles if they tend stick in the running position. Install a low-flow or dual-flush toilet. Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
- Greywater: Have a plumber re-route your “greywater” (leftover water from washing machines, shower and baths) into the garden where plants will appreciate it. Check city and county codes first in case they have specific rules to follow.
Take Control of your Sprinklers!
In California, landscaping can take up as much as 50% of water use in commercial spaces and as much as 70% of the water used by homeowners.
Learn Your Controller:
- Look up your controller’s manual online if you do not have one.
- Note how many programs and start times are available.
- Determine which stations are active by manually running each station.
- Look for leaks, broken heads and/or runoff.
- Start with a one-weekly schedule in the spring.
- Short runtimes, with repeats, are most effective as it gives soil and plants a chance to absorb water.
- Determine best interval for watering based on one-inch of dry topsoil between waterings.
Learn About Your Zones and Group Plant Types
- If possible, assign a heavier watering schedule (or zone program) to water loving plants and a lighter watering schedule to drought tolerant plants.
- Utilize 3 minute start times in the early morning with an hour in-between for soaking.
- Lawns generally need watering two days a week in spring, and three days a week in summer.
- Shrubs generally need one day a week in spring and slightly more in summer.
- If plants seem to need more water, increase schedule by one day per week.
Keep your sprinkler system up-to-date
- Create a custom watering achedule and regularly adjust your sprinkler timer to a budget suggested by the published water index.
- Install a smart sprinkler timer that will adjust to changing conditions.
- Use rotating sprinkler nozzles for lawn and groundcovers.
- Convert from spray watering to drop, bubblers, and microsprays for your shrub and flower beds.
- Install a rain sensor to automatically shut off sprinklers
- Change or cap sprinkler heads in areas converted from lawn to shrub and flower beds
- Repair sprinkler leaks and adjust for blocked spray and runoff to avoid water waste.
Quick tips for a water-saving garden
Choose the right plants for a dry climate
- Select plants with moderate to low water needs.
- Match your plant’s sun and water needs with like plants to avoid over or underwatering.
- Reserve any favorite water loving plants for accents and place in areas protected from heat and wind.
- Encourage healthy roots with deep, less frequent watering.
- Raise the lawnmover blade to mow higher and help the lawn grow deeper roots.
- Consider reducing total lawn areas by adding beds with drought tolerant plants.
- Aerate lawn and add moisture retaining crystals such as “Solid Rain.”
- Reduce lawn watering needs entirely by replacing with realistic and evergreen imitation lawn cover.
- Prior to planting, amend your soil to keep it healthy and able to both absorb and hold water.
- Explore techniques to best retain water in soil, from layering cardboard or burlap to adding peat or moist crystals.
- Keep a 2″-3″ layer of mulch in planting beds to limit evaporation and help control weeds.
Rocks and Gravel
- Consider adding decorative boulders to add variety and interest.
- Create gravel or paving stone, or crushed granite pathways.
- Utilize gravel for problem areas that are out-of-reach of sprinklers or are continually too wet or dry