As every homeowner here in the Bay Area now knows after years of drought and intense fire seasons, water is our most precious commodity. It can never be taken for granted. It’s the duty of every homeowner here in Hayward and beyond to take steps to make their home more water-efficient and conserve water. In this article, we’ll review 5 of the best ways you can cut down on your home’s water use.
#1. Install a low-flow showerhead and limit shower times
Most Americans use about 17 gallons of water when they shower. Here in California, that’s a lot, considering our climate and state of drought. By installing a low-flow showerhead, you can cut that number down to 10 gallons per-shower or even less. That’s 7 gallons of water saved with every shower—over the course of the year, a major improvement.
Of course, a low-flow showerhead will not have much of an impact if you and your family still continue taking 20-minute showers. Our recommendation is that you streamline your shower down to 5-7 minutes. This should give you sufficient time to get clean without wasting water and time. The shower is a place for deep shower thoughts—keeping close track of time, not so much! A shower timer or simple 5-minute hourglass can really help keep you moving.
#2. Upgrade to a dual-flush toilet
Older toilets used water without much thought for conservation. If your toilet predates the 1990s, chances are that it uses as much as 3.6 gallons per-flush! We recommend that you have the ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing team install a new dual-flush toilet in your home. Dual-flush toilets are a versatile, alternative option to low-flush toilets in that they have two separate flushes for different purposes. The smaller flush uses only about 1.5 gallons with every flush—less than half that of a standard toilet flush.
Thinking about switching out the toilets in your home? Give us a call. You’ll want a plumbing specialist to take measurements and ensure that your bathroom can fit the toilet—or toilets—you’re thinking about buying.
#3. Avoid automated watering
Yard irrigation makes our lives a lot easier, but it often results in habitual water waste. For example, very few homeowners bother to turn off their irrigation on days where it rains. In many cases, your trees, bushes, plants, and garden are actually getting more water, more frequently, than they need. By switching to watering by-hand with either a hose or a watering can, you’ll cut down on this waste. Of course, your automated irrigation is still nice to have for times when you’re away or at work.
You can reduce the overall watering you need to do by switching the trees, plants, and shrubs in your yard from thirsty imported species to drought-tolerant ones native to the climate of the Bay Area. This is a great change that yields long-term water-saving results for your home. It’s one of the best ways to conserve water for years to come.
#4. Capture and reuse cold water from the shower
Everyone does it: you turn on the shower, set it to hot, and then walk away for a minute while the cold water is flushed out and the hot water arrives. Meanwhile, you’re wasting gallons of otherwise good water. One option is to step into the shower while it’s still cold, but that’s rough to do in the winter. Instead, try this: get a large bucket and position it underneath the showerhead. As the water warms up, the bucket will fill with cold water. You can then move the bucket and take your shower. The next time you need to water indoor plants, clean your floors, wash your car, or fill pet water bowls, use the water from the bucket.
#5. Proactively deal with leaks and water waste
One final way to conserve water: fixing indoor and outdoor leaks. A leaking pipe might not seem like that big of deal, but the cumulative water wasted throughout the calendar year can be mind-boggling. For example, a faucet that drips at a rate of 20-times per-minute will waste 700 gallons of water every year. You can find even more ways to cut down on your water waste with this online calculator.
If you notice that you have a leak or drip in your home’s plumbing, bring in the plumbing professionals at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. We’ll quickly make the fix, helping your home conserve water and avoid future water damage.