How to Reduce Water in your Home
As promised, here is our post about ways you can reduce water waste inside your home. Stay tuned for a post as we get closer to the summer about reducing water use outside.
According to Environment Canada’s “Wise Water Use” article, the average Canadian uses 329 litres of fresh water every day. We are in second place for the country to use the most water per person. In Sweden they use only 200 litres per person, and in France only 150 litres per person per day.
With just a few changes, it is estimated that most people and businesses can reduce their water consumption by 40%. This puts less stress on the environment, water processing and transportation facilities, the infrastructure, the cleaning facilities, and on our wallets as the taxpayers who pay for those things.
Water-Saving Tips and Tricks
This image, from Environment Canada, shows where water is used in the home. In this article, we will showcase some of the ways that you can reduce your water use in all areas of your household.
We’ll be repeating this tip a lot, but fixing leaks is a huge way to save water. A leak of only one drop per second wastes about 10 000 litres of water per year! Not only will the noise annoy you, the water-bill will too.
A lot of our water use in the kitchen is through washing dishes. If you are buying a new dishwasher, please consider getting an energy- and water-efficient appliance. If you are washing your dishes by hand, a very basic way of saving water is to fill the sink. Most taps use about 16 litres of water every minute, so when you leave the tap running for 10 minutes as you scrub it wastes a lot!
If you have children, you can teach them about saving water as well. Some kids will run the tap to get their drink of water cold, encourage them to keep a juice container or refillable water bottle in the fridge, rather than running the tap. If they take a reusable water bottle to school every day, you can keep one in the fridge as well so they have water when they get home.
We’ll repeat our mantra about leaks for the bathroom, as that drippy tap can be a huge problem. Sometimes our toilet tanks also leak water. You can test for a water leak by putting a few drops of food colouring in your toilet tank. Wait a little while, and see if any of that colour has appeared in the toilet bowl. Most leaky toilets are a fairly quick fix, and well worth the effort.
If you have an old toilet in your home, it can use up to 20 litres per flush (compared to as low as 3 litres with some low-flow toilets). If installing a new toilet isn’t an option, you can put in a device like a toilet dam or toilet tank bank, which either displace or hold water every time you flush, reducing the water used.
A great way to reduce water use in your house is to install tap aerators. These little devices can be attached to taps, and mix air in with the water. They reduce flow while leaving the water pressure the same, so you shouldn’t notice a difference.
There has been some debate between the water use for baths and showers. Most baths use about 200 litres to fill, while showers can use about 20 litres per minute. You can do the math to figure out what is better to fit your needs, but we always want to emphasize conservation. You can install an aerating showerhead to conserve water. Shorter showers are also good, as a 5 minute shower uses 100 litres!
Getting children to brush their teeth can be a challenge, and doing that without wasting water can be even more difficult. If your kids leave the tap running while they brush their teeth, you can explain to them that in 2 minutes it uses over 30 litres! 2 minutes of running the tap wastes enough water to fill 16 pop bottles!
We posted a recent piece about how to reduce water and energy use in the laundry. We actually have a few more tips to add to that.
1) Use cold water – we said it before, and we’ll say it again: 90% of the energy of washing your clothes just goes to heating the water. Try using a cold water detergent and switching to cold water.
2) Only run full loads (but don’t overload it). Some laundry machines will use up to 125 litres of water per load. If you are running laundry, make sure you are filling the machine up to optimize your water use. Just make sure that you follow the instructions on your machine. Most of them have a level that you should not load clothes above, otherwise it may not get your clothes clean or leave a residue.
3) Mix powdered laundry soap with warm water and let it dissolve before adding it to your machine
4) Make sure you are using the correct amount of soap. Most laundry detergents are concentrated, which means you could probably use less than you do. Check the instructions to make sure your soap use matches your load size.
We hope these facts, tips, and tricks were helpful, and that you’re feeling inspired to make water conservation a household priority!
Written By: Victoria Bick