Saving Money

Water Conservation Tips


  • Reduce the number of showers you take or cut back on the time you spend in the shower. The ordinary shower, equipped with a conventional shower head, uses from 5 to 10 gallons of water per minute. Showering accounts for approximately 30 percent of the total water used in the home. If you install a low-flow shower head it can reduce water flow by as much as 40 percent.

  • When bathing, run a small amount of water. Be sure to place the stopper in the drain before turning on the water. Run only as much water as absolutely necessary for your bath.

  • Don't allow the water to run continuously in the sink while you shave or brush your teeth. Running the tap for two minutes while you are brushing your teeth uses roughly 2 to 4 gallons of water.

  • Make sure that the water is not running continuously in the commode. Depending on the severity of a leak, it is possible that up to 100 gallons of water could be wasted each day.

  • Your commode's flush volume of five gallons can be reduced by 15 percent without hindering performance. To do this put one or two tightly closed, plastic water bottles (with rocks inside them to weight them down) inside the commode tank. Be sure to place the bottles in such a position as to not interfere with the flushing mechanism. When you flush the commode, one to three fewer quarts of water will be used. If you must install a new commode, consider a water-saving model. Some new models use around two gallons per flush.

  • Avoid unnecessary rinsing of dishes that go directly from the table into the automatic dishwasher for immediate washing. Scrape off leftover food, place them in your dishwasher, and let it do the rinsing for you. Use your garbage disposer sparingly. Garbage disposers require water for proper operation.

  • Run your dishwasher only when it is full. The same amount of water will be used regardless of the size of the load. Get as much as you can for your water dollar.

  • Use a pan when washing vegetables and fruits. When you have finished, use the water to water plants. Reusing water is like getting double value for your water dollar.

  • Keep a container of water for drinking in the refrigerator or in an insulated container on the counter. This will save your having to run extra water from the cold water tap to get water cool enough for drinking. During hot weather, you could waste one or more gallons of water each time you go to the tap for a drink.

  • Washing clothes in a conventional automatic washer uses approximately 40 to 60 gallons of water per load. Save your laundry until you have enough to load your washing machine to its recommended capacity. Don't wash small or medium loads unless your washer has water level settings for such loads.

  • The permanent press cycle on most automatic clothes washers uses approximately one-third more water than the regular cycle. Therefore, limiting your use of the permanent press cycle will save water.

  • When watering your garden, set a timer. That way you won' forget to shut off the water.

  • Mulch plants in your yard and vegetable garden to help hold moisture in the soil. Spread leaves, cut grass, pieces of bark, plastic, and other appropriate materials around the plants. The longer you can keep the soil moist through mulching, the more money you will save on watering.

  • Whenever possible, water your lawn, yard plants, and the vegetable garden only in the early morning, late afternoon, or evening. you waste a large amount of water through evaporation by watering in the heat of the day.

  • Use a "soaker" hose rather than a sprinkler, where possible. Less water is required when a "soaker" hose is used because the water is concentrated on the soil nearer the roots; and there is, also, less evaporation.

  • Remove weeds from your yard and vegetable garden. Weeds use water which could be used by your vegetables, flowers, shrubs, trees, and grass. A weed-free yard or garden will require less water than one infested with weeds.

  • Turn off water faucets completely and immediately after each use to avoid wasting water and money.

  • If possible, install aerators in the faucets of your bathroom and kitchen. Aerators will reduce the flow of water.

  • Repair dripping faucets. A slow, steady drip (100 drops per minute) wastes 330 gallons of water in a month. That's nearly 4,000 gallons per year.

  • Locate and repair all leaking water pipes detected by visual inspection. For example, you normally can suspect a leak if you find unexplained dark green patches of grass or a permanently damp area of ground on your property. An unexplained jump in your water bill may also indicate a leak in your water mains.

  • Check to see if there are leaks in your plumbing system which are not evident from visual inspection. To do this, first turn off completely all water faucets inside and outside of the house, turn off the automatic icemaker, and don't flush the commode. Watch your water meter for one-half hour. If the dial on the water meter moves, you have a leak somewhere. Locate the leak and repair it as soon as possible. The longer you delay repairs, the more water and money you will spend.

  • Insulate hot water pipes. Insulation will help minimize the cooling down of hot water in the pipes; therefore, less cool water should have to be drawn off before the hot water is available for use at the tap.

  • Cover wading and swimming pools when they are not in use to reduce evaporation. Evaporation necessitates the use of more water to keep the pools filled.

Natural Gas Conservation Tips

  • Tend to your boilers and furnaces. Have a yearly inspection by a professional to ensure top operability. Always change your air filters according to the manufacturer's schedule. Make sure nothing blocks your heat registers to ensure maximum heat penetration, and close vents and shut doors to unused rooms.

  • Purchase a programmable thermostat to control the temperature while you are away from home. Simply set your house's temperature lower while you are away from home and watch your savings multiply. If you go out of town, set your thermostat to a low temperature, yet high enough to keep pipes from freezing.

  • Monitor your hot water usage. Lower your water heater's temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap an insulated blanket around the water heater if the outside is warm to the touch-this means it loses heat. Insulate hot water pipes to avoid losing heat (thus using less natural gas). Fix leaky faucets and install a lower-flow shower head. Always run your washing machine and dishwasher at full capacity.

  • Caulk and insulate areas that might allow heat loss such as windows, doors and attics. Close the damper and doors to your fireplace after use. Air-dry your clothes instead of using that energy-guzzling gas dryer. Purchase Energy Star products when replacing appliances.