GREEN Living: Water Conservation in Your Home the Easy Way – Part 2

water research

Let’s continue our appreciation of clean, life sustaining water. Did you know, according to EPA research,  that the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home. Roughly 70 percent of this use occurs indoors while the rest is used outdoors. That’s a lot of water! In Part 1 we looked at conserving water in the bathroom, which accounts for approximately 45% of indoor water usage. In Part 2 we will address ways to conserve in other areas.  Not only will this help the environment, but it will decrease your water bill and sewer tax, saving you money.

The Kitchen

Keep drinking water in the refrigerator. Refreshing cold water does not require running the faucet for minutes. Instead, put a water container in the refrigerator for an instantaneous cold glass of water. 

Use your dishwasher rather than hand wash dishes. Good news! Your dishwasher is the most efficient option for washing dishes, as long as you wash with a full load, run it on the shortest cycle for the task, and don’t pre-rinse. The EPA estimates an efficient dishwasher uses half as much water as hand washing, saving close to 5,000 gallons each year.

If you do hand wash dishes, use this technique.  The trick is not to leave water continually running during the wash and rinse phases. Instead, use a container to rinse washed dishes. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you have only one sink, first gather all your washed dishes in a dish rack, then rinse them quickly with a sprayer or in a pan of water.

Minimize Use of Kitchen Sink Garbage Disposal Units. Garbage disposals use lots of water and energy. A better solution is to compost your green waste and/or recycle your food scraps

Turn Off the Faucet During Tasks. We often leave the water running when it is not needed while performing tasks in the kitchen sink. Make a conscious effort to shut the water off between washing vegetables, fruits, dishes, and your hands. We are washing our hands more during the pandemic, but as we lather up and sing Happy Birthday twice, we don’t need to have the water running. By turning off the water while you are soaping up during a 20-second hand wash you could save a quarter of a gallon of water.  

Save water while cooking. Steam your veggies to use less water than boiling them. When cooking pasta use the smallest pot possible to fit the pasta. Reuse that great pasta water in your sauces. Consider doing double duty and steam vegetables over your boiling pasta pot. Be creative!

The Laundry Room

Run the shortest cycle possible. Many washing machines offer a soak option in the cycle. By soaking your clothes before the washing cycle, you may be able to use a short wash cycle. Don’t use an extra rinse cycle, and save money and reduce your carbon footprint by washing clothes in cold or cool water. The permanent-press cycle on washing machines is often water intensive, so avoid it if you can.

Only run full loads. Save your laundry to run full loads – you’ll save water and energy.

Wash clothes less often. We tend to over wash our clothes, not only wasting water and adding to our carbon footprint, but also adding to the wear and tear on clothes. Be more mindful about when things must be washed. Some items need to be washed after every use, others do not. If clothing has not gathered sweat, dirt or stains after one use (or more) reuse it before putting it into the washing machine. With less washing, folding and putting things away you’ll also have more time on your hands.

Rebates and More Tips on Saving Water

Our water company, Suez Water, offers rebates to homeowners and businesses for water saving appliances and devices. Don’t leave money on the table when making water efficient purchases. 

More tips for saving water at home and within businesses can be found at the EPA WaterSense site.  The WaterSense label will help you identify high-efficiency products, homes, and programs.

Suez Water also offers many water saving tips.

The Ardsley Village Conservation and Environment Advisory Committee

The foregoing is provided as a public service announcement and without promotion, representation, or review by the Village of Ardsley.