Friday, January 28, 2011

Frugal Friday: Water

Perhaps none of these will be anything new for you, but one way to make a little wiggle room in your budget is to lower your utility bills by cutting back on your water/electricity/gas use. Today, ideas for reducing water usage.

  • Set a timer when you shower. How long do you think you usually spend in the shower? It's very likely that it's longer than you think. Whether you're aiming for a true 5 min shower, or just wanting to take a couple of minutes off your standard, try a timer!
  • Bathe/shower with company! Seriously, most kids like to take baths together, and I've taken a baby into the shower with me more than a few times. Couples can share showers in both romantic or purely practical ways.
  • If your kids don't like to bathe together (or you have too many to fit into the tub at once), try to get them to take baths back to back, using the same tub (or perhaps just adding a little more hot for round two, but not having to refill the whole tub).
  • Don't wash your hair so often (if your hair is to your shoulders, you can probably make it at least 3-4 days between washes. My hair--to my waist--goes a week pretty easily.)
  • Use the 'short wash' cycle on your dishwasher
  • Use the smaller load size settings on your washing machine if you're running a smaller load.
  • Fill the dishwasher or washing machine full before running a load.
  • If/as things wear out, buy a more efficient washing machine or dishwasher, low-flow toilets, and low-flow showerheads.
  • If you can afford it, consider replacing inefficient things even if they have not worn out yet.
  • Install a toggle switch in your showerhead so that you can turn off the water flow (without turning off the water and losing your temperature settings). Turn it off to apply your soap/shampoo, then turn it back on to rinse... you might be surprised how much water goes straight down the drain in those seconds.
  • Strip cloth diapers with the 'boil them on the stove' method rather than the 'run them through 11 cycles in the washer' method. (I have a front loader washing machine so I have to do it this way, but I have found it faster and more effective as well as saving water. You just have to keep an eye on them so that you don't singe fabric or melt snaps!)
  • Designate specific cups or water bottles for each person (we have color-coding here, one color per family member). If your family is anything like my family, this will save several unidentified half-cupfuls of water several times a day. (We mostly stick with the colored camelbak water bottles for water, and the colored cups for milk or juice.) 
  • If you live in an area where you need to water your garden or lawn, set timers so that you don't water for longer that necessary.
  • Consider collecting rainwater from your roof into a barrel and using that (for watering plants if you don't trust it to be clean).
  • Don't flush every time ("if it's yellow--let it mellow; if it's brown--flush it down") 
  • When you have a bucketful of dirty water (from scrubbing the floor for example), set the bucket by the toilet, and pour it into the bowl to flush next time it needs flushing.
  • If you're building/remodeling, consider installing a grey water recycling system (which uses the water drained from things like your dishwasher to do things like flush the toilets). One of the simplest forms I've seen is the sink-toilet combo.  --->
What water saving ideas do you have?


ashley said...

What great ideas! We need to be more frugal with our water usage. :( I'm pretty good about being good with my resources other than water, but I need to step it up!

Life as a Convert (Khourt) said...

Interesting! Ive never heard of the recycling drained water stuff..

I tend to be a water waster :/ I need to work on it

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