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4 Easy Ways to Start Saving Water at Home

Saving Water
Saving Water

The slow, annoyingly loud drip of water edging itself out of the faucet isn’t the only cause of water-waste in the home. Showerheads, the toilet, and even the water hose are playing a lead role in the drama of H2O misuse. Thankfully, with a few DIY projects and the will to conserve, there are four easy ways to start saving water at home.

Showerheads

That new showerhead – the one with different massage levels and an FM radio attached – seemed like a good idea at the time, until you realized the water going down the drain was carrying your money with it. Modern showerheads dispense as much as 2.5 gallons of water (GPM) per minute. Earth showerheads use only 1.5 GPM, saving you a whole gallon of water per minute. With energy efficient showerheads, you:

  • Use less water
  • Use less energy
  • Won’t have to sacrifice comfort

Many earth showerheads come with massage settings, Flow Control Technology (enables consistent water pressure), and non-aerating consistency which allows water to flow fast and long.

Installing earth showerheads can increase your water savings by as much as 30%.

Faucet Aerators

Faucet aerators are like the nozzle on a hose, they control the evenness and consistency of water flow and how much of it comes out the faucet. Aerators are a great investment because they are super cheap (as little as $1.15 per unit), and installing them along with energy efficient showerheads can reduce water waste by as much as 50%.

Toilet

Saving water through the toilet seems odd, but one flush could take with it 5-7 gallons of water! According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 30% of the water used in your home is dedicated to the toilet alone; if they leak, that could be anywhere from 30-500 gallons of water daily.

Solution? Install a tank bank. Just fill it up with water then hang it on the inside of the tank. This simple install could save 10 or more gallons per flush each day.

Outdoor Watering Tools

Gardening enthusiasts especially will see the benefits in a low-flow hose nozzle, rain gauge, and soil moisture meter. These items allow you to control and measure how much water is used outside the home.

Low-flow Nozzle
Just like earth showerheads, low-flow nozzles control the water flow coming out of the hose. Many offer multiple spray settings and they are an inexpensive way to control outdoor water use.

Rain Gauge
A rain gauge is a way to measure how much rain has fallen. It’s like a measuring cup for rain; the rain falls through it and the measurements are labeled on the outside, allowing you to see exactly how much rain has met your garden/lawn/soil for the day.

Soil Moisture Meter
A soil moisture meter does just that: it measures how much moisture is in the soil. This is especially useful for gardening and lawn care, as it allows you to know whether or not watering is needed.

 

Saving water doesn’t have to be time consuming, overly technical, and impossible to install by yourself. These four simple water conservation tools are easy to install, take little time out of your day, and you’ll see the difference on your energy and water bills by the next billing or two.

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5 Simple Home Water Saving Products

Home Water Saving Products
Home Water Saving Products

Sometimes it’s the simplest changes that can have the biggest effect on water consumption in the home. Water saving products are low-cost but have a long-lasting effect on home energy usage and the utility bill. To make this easy change, here are 5 simple home water saving products that you can install today.

Showerheads
If your showerhead can fill a bucket with 1-gallon of water in under 20 seconds, it’s time to change to an earth-friendly model.

Savings
For under $10, you could purchase a Niagara Earth showerhead that saves up to 5,475 gallons of water annually. Low-flow showerheads also decrease energy usage, so showerheads that release 1.5 gpm (gallons per minute) save around $70 – $105 per year on the electric and gas bill.

Features
Niagara Earth Showerheads have many varying features:

  • Massage – settings range from a soft spray to an intense massage
  • “Pause” option – slows or stops the water from flowing and is especially handy when you don’t need the water to run, like while soaping up or shaving
  • Flow Control Technology – gives you consistent, even water pressure regardless of the pressure from your water system

Faucet Aerators
Faucet aerators are like caps on the tip of faucets. However, unlike caps, faucet aerators help water flow out evenly and consistently while cutting down on water and energy usage.

Savings
Faucet aerators are one of the cheapest home water saving products on the market. For an investment as low as $2, faucet aerators and earth showerheads can reduce hot water usage by up to 50%.

Kitchen
It’s recommended that kitchen faucets use aerators with a flow rate of no less than 1.5 gpm, since kitchen faucets usually need high flow rates.

Bathroom
Bathroom faucets don’t need a high flow rate and will still maintain water pressure with a .5 – 1 gpm aerator.

Toilet Tank Bank
Fill the toilet tank bank with water and hang it on the inside of the tank wall. With just that simple install you’ll save 0.8 gallons of water per flush. There is nothing to maintain, it never needs re-filling, and it even prevents odors. The product doesn’t change how your toilet functions in any way; it just saves water.

Shower Timer
As much as 25 gallons of water can be used on a 15-minute shower. Curtail the water waste with shower timers. These home water saving products are a fun, smart, and cheap way to keep everyone in the household in line with water usage.

Types
There are different types of shower timers, ranging in price from super cheap to super expensive.

  • Sand Timer – These timers can be attached to the shower wall. Some are like a hourglass and some are digital. They’re usually made to keep track of 5-10 minutes and cost as little as $3.
  • Digital Shower Timer – An digital timer measures shower time in five-minute intervals. It is installed either with a suction cup or adhesive backing. At the beginning of a shower, a blue LED light appears, and at the 4.5 minute mark, the LED light changes to red. For the last 30 seconds, the red light on the LED shower timer flashes red as a reminder. The cost of this timer is approximately $7.
  •  Digital Shower Timer with Water Consumption Calculator – Costing about $15, a digital shower timer and water calculator displays the amount of time spent as well as the amount of water consumed during the shower. It allows you to set the target amount of water to be used, and an alarm sounds once that target has been reached. This timer also can be installed with a suction cup, or hung with a lanyard.

Soil Moisture Meter
For aspiring and expert gardeners alike, the name is self-explanatory; the meters measure soil for adequate moisture. Soil moisture meters are analog-style, and read the moisture levels in the soil to prevent over-watering, a leading cause in plant death.

Most of these water saving products pay for themselves in under a year, but save you money and decrease energy usage for much longer.

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What You Need to Know About Faucet Aerators

Faucet Aerators
Faucet Aerators

There are many ways to conserve water around the home, besides cutting back on shower time. You could shave as much as 50% off your water bill by installing low-flow showerheads and aerators. But before making this simple but effective change in your home, here are a few details you need to know about faucet aerators.

What is an aerator?
Named because of their ability to mix air with water, aerators are fixtures on the end of faucets with a mesh screen attached to the bottom. The mesh screen stops water from coming out as a full stream and instead splits it into smaller streams mixed with air to create an even, consistent flow of water coming out of the faucet.

Spray/Stream Type
There are two common types of low-flow aerators to consider: bubble spray and needle spray. Both types provide high water pressure while using lower energy and water but come with a few differences.

Bubble Spray
The bubble spray model releases water as small bubbles that are then passed though the flowing water.

Needle Spray
Needle spray aerators have 18 individual streams but still provide a high level of water pressure.
Tamper-proof or not?
Tamper-proof faucet aerators are made so that they cannot be easily taken out, played with, etc. These types of aerators are especially helpful in commercial settings, such as restaurants or hotels.
Threading
Threading refers to how you will install the aerator to the outset of the faucet, or more specifically, the sprout. To determine which threading you need, the male or female, look at the edges (threading) that go around or on the inside of the aerator. The threads on the outside mean the aerator is a male and will install on the inside of a sprout, while the female aerator has threads on the inside and will install on the outside of a sprout.
Savings
Money
Low-flow faucet aerators are a very inexpensive investment, costing as little as $0.99 per unit, and can pay for themselves in under a week.

Water
To get the maximum savings from low-flow aerators, make sure you purchase one that uses 0.5-1.5 GPM, or gallons per minute. Older, non-aerated faucets can use as much as 2.5-3.0 gallons of water, causing an average use of 15% more water than necessary.

Sometimes it takes a shockingly high water bill to wake us up to the benefits and ease of water conservation. Fortunately in just a few minutes, and minimal investment, you can add or change out old aerators and reduce your energy and water consumption and monthly bill.

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The Benefits of Using an Earth Showerhead

Earth Showerhead
Earth Showerhead

This time of the year brings the water enthusiast out in all of us. Sticky summer days call for long, refreshing showers without homeowners being aware of how much water and money is being wasted by their showerhead alone. Beat the summer heat and water waste by installing an earth showerhead; this is one of the most cost-saving and earth-friendly changes to make in your home

Water Waste vs. Savings

Pay attention to the gallons of water your showerhead dispenses per minute; this little number can translate to increased costs in utilities.

2.5 GMP vs. 1.5 GPM

Modern showerheads release 2.5 gallons of water per minute, or GPM. By comparison, an energy efficient showerheads use only 1.5 gallons, saving you an entire gallon of water per minute.

Use less energy, save more money

Simply put, with earth showerheads you use less water and less heat. So by making the switch to an energy efficient showerhead, you can gain up to 30% in water savings while decreasing the cost of utilities.

The Technology

Against a modern showerhead, its earth equivalent boosts technology that is just at impressive. Features include:

Flow Control Technology

Regardless of the low force in your water system, Flow Control Technology gives you a consistent flow of even water pressure.

Super Massages

There’s no need to sacrifice comfort for energy efficiency. The adjustable 9-jet turbo massages in an earth showerhead give you soft soothing sprays to an intense, therapeutic massage.

Non-aerating consistency

It sucks the air out of your water stream, not literally, but you get air-free water as you shower. This means your showerhead delivers hotter water sooner and longer than modern models.

 

Whether hosing down after a sticky summer day or relaxing during the cold winter months, making the change to more energy and water efficient, cost-effective showerhead will bring you comfort in your home and your wallet.

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Choosing a Shower Timer for Saving Water at Home

It can be very easy to hop into the shower and lose all track of time. As relaxing as a shower is, it also contributes significantly to both water and water heating costs. Being aware of how much time is being spent in the shower just may motivate you to spend less time in there. Choosing a shower timer can help you do just this, ultimately reducing utility bills as well.

showertimersSand Timer

A five-minute sand shower timer is both water-proof (that would be a good thing) and simple to install. The suction cup should be placed on the shower wall, and that’s it. At the beginning of your shower, rotate the timer so that the sand begins to flow downward. Once the sand has stopped, you know that five minutes have passed. With every rotation, you know that another five minutes have passed.

LED Timer

This next timer measures five-minute intervals as well, but is a bit more technical than the first. It can be installed using either an adhesive backing or with the suction cup that it comes with to the wall of the shower. When your shower starts, press the bottom of the shower timer, lighting up a blue LED. At the four-and-a-half minute mark, the color of the LED will change to red. The red LED light flashes for 30 seconds, acting as a reminder of how much time has passed.

Digital Timer

A digital shower timer allows you to set a target shower time, and the measuring bag included provides knowledge of how much water is being used. The recommended time for usage is 9.25 gallons of water, the equivalent of four minutes. It can hang onto the showerhead with a lanyard, or installed with, you guessed it, a suction cup. Turn the digital timer on at the start of each shower and watch the progress on the screen. Once the target water volume has been reached, an alarm will sound. In the average home, shower water usage accounts for 17 percent of residential indoor water costs, 66 percent of all hot water expenses. Installing any of these timers will help set you on the right track to saving not only water, but the amount of money spent on both water and water heating.

Shop for shower timers>>>

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Saving the Easy Way: Acting Green v. Buying Green

Every day in the United States, thousands of gallons of water are wasted through inefficient use. Likewise, thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide emissions result from wasted energy. In both circumstances, this waste leads to a higher national average of utility costs. There are a number of ways to decrease water and energy use (and bills) at the same time. Acting green can get you started on the right track, with a few comforts being sacrificed. Buying green can help you cross the finish line without even realizing you are being more efficient. The infographic below by eLocal helps illustrate a few differences between “acting green” and “buying green.”

Acting Green vs. Buying Green
Source: eLocal.com

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Quickly Save Water Using a Toilet Tank Bank

Tank Bank
Toilet Tank Bank

The bathroom accounts for the majority of indoor water use in the average home. Of all the water-consuming fixtures in the bathroom, the toilet wastes the most water. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the toilet contributes to approximately 27 percent of all residential water consumption. Installing a toilet tank bank is a fast way to limit the amount of water used by this source.

The toilet tank bank is a cost-effective tool that reduces the amount of water by 0.8 gallons per flush, and can increase savings over time. The device is incredibly simple to install, and can be completed in a few steps:

  1. Fill the tank bank with water.
  2. Close the valve.
  3. Hang the bag inside the toilet tank.

This water saver is durable, as it is produced using non-corrosive materials that resist both fungal growth and microbes. The tank bank has an anti-evaporation snap that locks air in, which curbs odors and makes it unnecessary to refill the bag. In addition, it is placed in a way as to not interfere with flush mechanics. The toilet tank bank is a simple device that can be installed in a few minutes, and will save water through the toilet as long as it is installed. Also keep in mind that once you’ve lowered the amount of water used by the most consuming fixture in the bathroom, a reduction in water and sewer costs is not far behind.

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Low Flow Devices to Save Water at Home

Low Flow Devices
Low Flow Devices

Together, faucets and showers account for approximately 33 percent of residential water use in the average home. Showers represent about 17 percent of water use, and faucets make up about 16 percent. Limiting the amount of water used through showers and faucets greatly affects the home’s water footprint and water costs. Installing low flow devices is a simple way to solve this problem.

Modern showerheads are constructed to deliver no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute (GPM), while showerheads in older homes sometimes use as much as 5 GPM. Replacing your current showerhead (old or new) with a low flow model is a great way to reduce water consumption without sacrificing comfort. The technology in these low flow devices is such that there is no air mixing with the water, which allows the water-efficient showerhead to deliver a satisfying spray. In addition, these water savers often come with multiple spray options. Furthermore, energy savings and a reduction in water heating costs can be expected, as with less water used for showering also equals less hot water used in the home.

Surprising, the average faucet installed in a modern home uses between 2.2 to 2.5 gallons of water per minute. This is very close to the amount of water used by modern showerheads! Low flow faucet aerators use 0.5 to 1.5 gallons of water per minute. These low flow devices significantly reduce the amount of water that goes down the drain at the sink as well as the amount of hot water used here. While consumption at the sink may not seem like much, consider that if each home in the US installed water saving faucet aerators, the nation could save over 60 billion gallons of water every year.

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How to Replace a Shower Head

So by now, you probably understand the benefits of going with a low flow shower head. i.e. one that where the water flow is 2.0 gallons per minute or lower. Yes, not only do you save lots of gallons of water, but also energy that would have heated the water. This in turn lowers your water and energy bill. Yes you get all that. But how do you replace that water guzzling shower head with a water efficient one, say one that is 1.5 gpm or less?

Worry not, it’s a simple process that can be completed by following these few steps:

How to Replace a Shower Head

Optional: small towel/rag and pliers/wrench

  • Twist off the existing showerhead; if you need pliers, first put a small towel over the showerhead for better grip and protection. Wrap teflon tape in a clockwise direction 5 or more times around the shower pipe.
  • Hand tighten your new showerhead onto the shower pipe as tight as possible.
  • Turn the water on and check for leaks; if leaking occurs, hand tightening again.
  • If leaking continues, use pliers to tighten; but first cover the showerhead with a small towel for better grip and protection.
  • Check again for leaks, and repeat above step as necessary.
  • If you need more help, watch Installing a Low-Flow Showerhead: A Sierra Club Green Tip
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Easy Ways to Practice Outdoor Water Conservation

Outdoor Water Conservation
Outdoor Water Conservation

Do your water bills tend to go up in the spring and summer seasons? During the hotter months of the year, water consumption from the average home in the United States nearly doubles. This is mainly due to the increase in water being used outdoors. There are many ways to keep your lawn beautiful, your plants healthy, and your car clean without wasting water. Practicing outdoor water conservation not only makes you feel good about helping the environment, but lowers water and sewer bills too.

Measuring water levels is a great way to save water outdoors. While it is important to provide water to plants, equally important is ensuring that they receive the right amount. Overwatering occurs when too much water is used, and is the most common cause of plant deaths. A soil moisture meter allows you to keep track of the water levels in the soil of your plants so you know when to provide them with water, and how much. Place the meter into the ground, and watch as it provides soil levels using an analog-style interface. Another outdoor water measuring instrument is a rain gauge. The cone end is placed into the ground to measure rainfall. Knowing how much rainfall has been received makes it easier to adjust the lawn sprinklers.

Take outdoor water conservation a step further by using a tool and a resource. A great conservation tool is a spray nozzle has 6 different settings so you can choose a suitable spray option. For example, the water pressure you might need to water the plants in a garden would be different from the amount of pressure necessary to wash a car. Using a conservation nozzle allows only a certain amount of water to be released while still providing ideal water pressure. A great resource for outdoor water conservation is a water conservation wheel. It is full of tips and ideas that will help you save water both outdoors and indoors.

As you can see, reducing water consumption outside is done by simply regulating water usage. Outdoor water conservation, especially during the warmer months of the year, leads to less money being spent on water and sewer bills. Having to spend less on bills during summer just might make the season a little more fun.