Water conservation: Water wasters – Part 1

Consider changing your family’s water use practices to save money and reduce your environmental impact.

This is the first in a series of articles about water conservation. Several areas have seen water rates rise dramatically in the past year. In some cases, this has led water bills being higher than rent. This series is designed to help homeowners conserve water in their home, save money and reduce the impact on the environment.

There are many small things that have a small impact on your quality of life, but might make a large difference in your water bill.

Michigan State University Extension suggests these tips for water wasters:

  1. Make sure everything that uses water is turned off and go outside to check the meter. If water is still running, you have a leak in your system that should be fixed. This is often the biggest cause of water wasting. The leaks might also be doing water damage to your house. If the meter is still moving, look everywhere for a potential leak.
  2. Set up a competition for your family. See how much water you use in a month, and try to use less the following month. If you are successful, reward yourself with a fun family activity.
  3. Turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth or shaving. A faucet running while brushing your teeth can use 2-5 gallons. Just wetting and rinsing your brush uses less than a half-gallon. Over a month of brushing every evening, this can save over 140 gallons of water in a month.
  4. Fix dripping faucets. A single dripping faucet can use 10 gallons of water a day if it is a fast drip. You can use an online drip calculator to determine how much water is wasted with dripping sinks.
  5. Keep cold water in the fridge rather than letting water run until it gets cold. This can also reduce odors or chlorine taste in your water.
  6. Use a low-flow faucet. This can reduce water usage significantly.
  7. Use partially consumed glass of water or unused ice to water plants in your house.

By using these tips and others from the articles in this series, hopefully you can reduce your water usage. In the city of Flint, Mich., water bills are assessed in “units” of 748 gallons. If you go over 748 gallons by any amount, you have to pay for another “unit.” Contact your local utility to see how water rates are assessed in your area. By keeping your household water usage under control, you can save money and help the planet at the same time.

Related MSU Extension articles:

Other resources of information: