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Overall Household Tips 1
Dripping Faucets 2
Toilet Tank 3
Insulate your Pipes 5
Shower/Bath Tips 6
Brushing your Teeth 7
Shower vs Bath 9
Shower Head 10
Length of Shower 11
Kitchen Tips 12
Washing Dishes 13
Washing Vegetables 14
Thawing Frozen Items 15
Laundry Tips 16
Washing Machine 18
Lawn and Garden 19
Reusing Water 22
Rain Barrel 23
Sink Water 24
Bath Water 25
Drinking Water 26
Tap Water 27
Bottled Water 28
About the Green Living Series 30
The Green Team 32
BellaOnline Mission Statement 34
Water is the driving force
Of all of nature
[_ -- Leonardo da Vinci _]
Water is one of this earth’s most precious resources. Our world is one large network of water flow, and we should each do our part to conserve the water and keep it clean!
While we think about the oceans being full of billions of gallons of water, it’s important to remember that we cannot drink salt water. When you look solely at the amount of drinkable water on the planet, only 1% of the water on our planet is water we could drink. It’s important that we preserve this water as much as possible.
Think of how you use water each day. Are you careful with it, to use only what you need? Do you ensure that the water is not polluted or contaminated as it heads back out into the world?
In some countries they go to great extremes to monitor every drop of water they use. No matter how stringent water measures are in your area, it’s a good idea for all of us to be more aware of how we conserve water.
These tips will help you learn how to use water more efficiently, and become a custodian of the water which is entrusted to your care.
Some of these tips will seem like common sense to you – but there are other readers out there who are not doing them. Certain tips might seem like a stretch that wouldn’t work well in your lifestyle. The key for a book like this is that there are tips for each type of person out there. Some will struggle just to turn off the running water when they brush their teeth for five minutes. Others have taken that step years ago and are now working on setting up rain barrels.
Wherever you are on your water conservation path, choose a tip or two from this book and embark on that next step! Then share the news and encourage others to give it a try! Together we can make a difference.
All author’s proceeds from this series go to support environmental charity.
Water is a precious resource, more precious than oil or gold. Without water a person cannot live for more than a week. Wars are fought over water, with people dying in order to preserve their access to this life-maintaining liquid.
Each of us shares in the global system of water. By doing your part, you can help to ensure that enough drinkable water remains available for the world’s network. Each of us is an important link in that chain.
The quickest and easiest thing to check for is dripping faucets. Go sink by sink through your house and ensure each one seals tightly. If one is dripping, make an effort to get that resolved.
A dripping faucet can easily add up to gallons of water lost. The fix is usually pretty simple. So this should be the first quick-and-done stop for most households.
While you’re at it, check your toilet tanks. Do they seem to run when they’re not in use? Look into fixing that, so they only run to refill after a flush.
If you’ve never examined how your toilet works before, this could be the fun opportunity to learn something new! Think about the toilet and how it is constructed.
Water comes in from your outside feed and goes straight up into that top holding tank, the one above and behind the toilet seat. The water in the top of your toilet tank is clean water. It is not dirty in any way. That clean water sits there patiently until it is needed. When you pull the toilet’s handle, the clean water flows from that totally clean area downwards and rinses out the bowl part. Now it becomes dirty. Then it flushes out the material down and out of your home.
So the top area – the holding tank – fills up each time with fresh, clean water. Typically if you are on a sewer system, that water is coming in from a water processing plant after having gone through every test and treatment required to make the water safe for drinking. It’s a shame that the perfectly clean drinking water is just sitting there waiting to flush out again! So it’s a great idea to look into ways to minimize how much water is used in this process.
One easy solution is to put a cleaned, used milk jug into the tank of your toilet so it uses less water with each flush. The jug should fit within the tank space and usually some rocks or water in the jug help keep it in place. The jug will displace a portion of the water in the tank so that less is used to fill it up.
Start with a small container and make sure it still does its flushing activity adequately for your household. Over time try increasing the container size until you reach the point where it does the job but a larger one wouldn’t.
You can instantly turn your old toilet into a new water-saving variety!
In many households, half of their water consumption comes from their toilet.
One of the reasons people run water for a while is that they’re waiting for the hot water to arrive in their pipes. For example, I live in Massachusetts and in the winter the water that comes through first is ice-cold, as if it’s come from a glacier. I have to run the water for a minute or two before the water is warm enough to put a body part beneath it without incurring frostbite.
If you’re in a situation like that, look into insulating the pipes. That will ensure they stay reasonably warm. It’ll take less time for the water to be usable.
Also look into getting a localized heater near your shower / bath. That will mean you get the hot water quickly without having to push it through the entire house.
It makes sense that a fair amount of our water usage takes place when we’re showering, bathing, and brushing our teeth.
Here are some tips to help you save water during those necessary activities!
Here’s a fun experiment for you to do. The next time you brush your teeth, put a glass measuring container underneath the water spigot as you do the brushing part. See how much water you typically let wash straight down the drain while you do your teeth brushing.
Now multiply that by the number of times a day you brush your teeth, and then by 365 days in a year.
Some studies come out with figures of gallons of water every time you brush! That is an amazing amount of water you can save just by turning off the water while you brush your teeth.
It might be a hard habit to get into the first time or two – but keep at it. Usually habits become part of our normal lives after twenty to thirty days. Past that point, you’ll wonder why you ever left the faucet on.
The process of shaving a face involves little hairs getting stuck in the razor. Those hairs have to then get shaken loose. Sometimes people leave the water streaming the entire time they shave, to handle that. However, there’s no need to!
Simply put some water into the sink and plug it up. Now you have water available to rinse whenever you need to, without wasting the rest of the water down the drain.
Do you think that a shower takes less water than a bath, or vice-versa? This is another fun water usage experiment that you can test out yourself.
First, make sure you have a rubber mat or other anti-slip objects in the bottom of your tub to prevent slipping. Then, the next time you take a shower, keep the plug in the tub. That is, see how much water you use when you take an average shower. The water will creep up around your ankles while you shower, but it should not get high at all.
When you are finished, step out of the tub and take a look. Does the tub hold the same amount of water as it would when you take a bath?
For most people the shower water height isn’t nearly what they would have used for a bath. A shower is far more efficient at saving water. In essence you save water every time you shower!
Certainly there are some times that a luxurious bath can be helpful to aching muscles and a tired neck. The key is balance. Look for the tiny steps in your life which can help ease the world’s water resource issues.
It’s interesting how we sense the power of water. It’s not necessarily about having a massive flood of water coming down onto us from a shower head. Often having a lot of streams which are each small can feel just as wonderful – and can save immense amounts of water.
Look into a shower head which both optimizes water usage and also feels good to you. You don’t have to suffer with a drizzly, weak shower stream. There are definitely solutions out there which give that nice, strong feel to them and at the same time minimize the water used. It’s a true win-win.
If you’re paying for your water usage, you can even save money fairly quickly by making this one quick change.
How long do you stand in the shower for? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Do you know?
Every minute you reduce in the shower is a substantial amount of water saved.
In the United States, the average shower time is about eight minutes. That means half of all people take a shower in less time than that.
Try timing your shower. You want to get clean, of course! But there’s no reason to listen to a full length novel on an audiobook while you’re in there, either :). If you’re seeking that kind of hour-long experience, it might be better to opt for a bath!
The kitchen area can often involve quite a lot of water usage. From cooking to cleaning, from drinking to general activity, here are ideas to keep your kitchen water usage to a minimum.
There’s always a balance in life. With dishes, the balance is how to best use the water you have available.
If you have a full dishwasher load, then run the dishwasher. This lets all the dishes get washed together with one set of water. The jets spray everything down efficiently.
If it’s just a few dishes, don’t run an entire dishwasher cycle just to get those done. Do those by hand. When you rinse, don’t leave the stream running. Use another plastic bin (or second sink area, if you have one) with clean water to do the rinse in.
If you’ve got a pot with caked-on gunk, don’t run the water for twenty minutes while you scrub it out. Let it soak overnight with a bit of dish soap. Then you can easily handle it the next day with just some quick wiping.
Rather than leaving the water streaming when you’re washing and rinsing vegetables, get a plastic bin and put water in there. Then you can rinse everything quickly and efficiently without losing all the water down the drain.
Sometimes people use running warm water to thaw out frozen meat or vegetables. Rather than doing this, plan ahead. Put the item into the refrigerator section the day before.
That way the item warms up in a slower, more natural way and has less damage as a result. It also saves on water!
Did you know that the average home uses a full 22% of their water on laundry activities? That’s quite a lot!
Use these tips to help minimize the amount of water you expend when you do your clothes washing.
We can often think of laundry as a mindless activity. Toss things into a machine. It comes out clean. But laundry can use quite a lot of water. It’s important to manage that process as well as one can.
First, wait until you have a full load before you do the laundry. Pack it well. Don’t over-pack it, of course – then things won’t get clean. But learn what the best level of clothes is for your machine and then store up to get that far.
Also, you know how when you travel the hotel suggests you don’t wash the towels every day? To save on water? The same goes for at-home too. Your towels are generally being used on clean bodies and hands. They aren’t getting dirty. It’s fine to use the same towel for a week and then toss them in with the weekly laundry load. There’s no reason to use a new towel every day and create the resulting extra laundry to run.
If you live somewhere that is incredibly humid, and the towel simply won’t get dry within one day, consider having two that you rotate between. That way each towel gets two days of drying time to return to a fully dry state before it needs to be used again.
If you have the budget to buy a new washer, it might be time to seriously look into a front-loading washer.
The front loading washers use less water than the top loading variety. Even if you have to heat up warm or hot water, you’re heating less water and saving money.
With a front loading washer, the clothes are treated more gently and last longer. Instead of having to be roughly agitated from side to side in order to get moved around, they naturally tumble with the action of the machine, and that gets them to move around with less impact.
You get an added benefit with this style of washer. Because less water is used, the clothes don’t end up soaking wet. This then means you don’t have to dry them as long. So not only are you saving water and energy on the washer side, you are also now saving substantial amounts of money on the dryer side, since the dryer is typically an energy hog.
Look into sales in your local neighborhood, and crunch the numbers. You could easily save back the money you spend in a short while, and then be making money with each wash you run!
The natural world is, generally, beyond our control. Rain sticks don’t seem to do much good when we really need water to fall.
The best solution is to work within our environment’s range, rather than trying to fight it. Here are some tips!
One of the biggest uses of water in many homes is the watering of the grassy lawn. There are many ways to handle this task.
First, make sure you’ve planted grass that is best suited to your environment. Research what grass grows most efficiently in your area. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to water at all. The grass you’ve chosen will naturally work with the amount of rain the sky provides.
Next, make sure you water only when necessary. Set up a rain gauge and monitor how much water comes down naturally. That way you know to only water when the sky isn’t doing everything that needs to be done.
When you do water, water in the early morning or evening when it is least likely to evaporate. Get as much as you can down into the soil. Know your local weather patterns and match your watering to the highs and lows of the day.
If you use sprinklers, make sure you aren’t watering the driveway or sidewalk. Optimize your pattern to solely water the lawn itself.
Just as with inside the home, make sure you don’t have any leaks or drips in any of your outside systems. Those can add up quickly.
Finally, use plantings to handle areas which simply cannot sustain grass for whatever reason.
The garden area can often pose a special challenge. It’s always wise to plant native flowers and plants, so they are optimized to grow with what nature provides. However, there’s always the lure to add in an item or two which needs a little special care.
For those, use rain barrels and other water sources to supplement the watering as much as you can.
Make sure you keep your plants properly pruned and cared for. That will ensure they take up the proper amount of water for good health.
Use mulch around the base of plants where you can. This will help keep moisture in the soil for the plants and also reduce weeds at the same time.
By planning carefully, you could reduce your outside water usage to a minimal level.
While reducing water is a wonderful aim for all of us to move toward, there are times that you simply have to use water. For example, most of us would say that the average human adult should bathe or shower occasionally!
Just because you had to use the water doesn’t mean that it’s now done with its purpose in your world.
Here are ideas for reusing the water that is necessary in your life.
A rain barrel is a large barrel that’s set up to catch the natural water that falls from the sky. If you set up rain barrels around your home, you can capture the free water from the clouds and have it available for watering your plants and other outdoor uses.
The first logical place to put a rain barrel is under each gutter spigot. Catch the water that runs off your roof so you can use it later on.
Look around your land to see where else a rain barrel can come in handy. Are there other areas of natural run-off that you can take advantage of?
It’s good to cover rain barrels during dry periods so that the water does not evaporate as quickly.
If you add some dish soap or bleach into the barrel it will help prevent mosquitoes from using it as a breeding ground.
When you’re done washing the dishes, you have an entire sink full of water that can be used for garden watering. After all, any organic bits in there can be natural fertilizer!
Just be sure to use a plant-safe dish soap. We have recipes for all natural dish soap in our cleaner recipe book! There are also many commercial products on the market that are organic and natural. Read the labels to choose one that works best for your situation.
Saving sink water for other purposes works best if you do your dishes in a plastic bin that fits within your regular sink. That way when you are done with the dishes you can lift the bin and bring it to where the plants are without having to scoop the water manually out of the sink.
If you don’t have that option, a long, thin tube can work well. Put one end in the sink and find a way to weigh it down in the bottom center. Use gravity feed to get water to come out the other end at the plants you wish to water.
When you take a bath, take a look at the bathtub before you let it empty out. That is a ton of water that just goes right down the drain! What else could you do with that bath water?
Some people have systems set up to reuse their used bath water to flush their toilets with. After all, a toilet’s flush doesn’t have to be sterile water – it just needs to do its job of flushing the toilet. Bath water can serve this purpose quite fine, and not waste drinking water in the process!
If you aren’t able to set up that kind of a system, consider what other uses could be done with the bath water.
If you use eco-friendly soaps – which you should! – you could use the water for watering your garden. Perhaps you could set up a hose with gravity feed to move the water from your bathtub into a rain barrel outside the window of your bathroom.
Brainstorm other uses for that large volume of water!
We all know that for good health we should be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. The water helps to keep our cells hydrated, it assists with healthy metabolism, and it moves nutrients and wastes around inside our body.
While we are drinking the water to maintain our health, it’s important that we do that in an eco-friendly fashion!
If you’re not blessed with a perfectly clean, fresh stream of water coming into your home through your faucet, the ideal solution is to get a filter for your existing tap water. Many studies indicate that filtering your own water will create a far safer and cleaner water than buying a commercial bottled water product!
The filter can be set up right on your faucet, can be in a standalone pitcher, or can reside in a counter-top unit.
When you’re drinking your eight glasses of water a day, choose a specific glass for the day and carry it around with you. That way you only need to wash it once at night when you’re done with it. It also helps keep you on track with your water drinking!
For nighttime usage, they sell pitchers where the cup fits neatly over the top of the pitcher to keep pets from stuffing their little furry faces into your water while you sleep. Not that I have any experience with that happening, Juliet the cat.
The key is to make your own drinking water in your house so that heavy bottles of water are not shipped around the globe in plastic containers. Your own water is local, it’s fresh, and it’s readily available. Put it to good use!
In the United States alone people drink almost nine billion gallons of bottled water every year. That is a phenomenal number. All of these bottles are using plastic. They are being trucked around, adding to our usage of gas and creation of pollution. Most of these bottles are not recycled. Some estimates suggest that three billion pounds of waste annually are created around the world.
These plastic piles have gotten so large that they have formed islands in our ocean. Look up “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” to learn about a gigantic plastic pile the size of Texas which is floating in the Pacific Ocean. That’s just one of them. It’s time for us to cut back on our use of plastics.
When you go out to go for a walk or bike, bottle your own from your clean tap system. Be sure to use BPA-free bottles – BPA is estrogenic and has been banned in many countries. Many people prefer stainless-steel bottles for the best ability to be cleaned and its resistance to damage.
By bottling your own water, you’re minimizing the gas and pollution necessary to transport the water from its source and to your hands. In addition, you’re reusing the container rather than causing countless new ones to be manufactured or handled each year.
Our earth’s water is a precious commodity. We all inhabit this beautiful, blue sphere together and share in its single world-wide water system. We each should do our part to use as little water as we can, to make the best use of the water that we do use, and to keep the water as contaminant-free as it moves on through other stages of its life cycle.
I’m sure that some of these seem like common sense to you, and you already do them. Other ideas might be ones you’ve heard of but haven’t gotten around to implementing yet. Let this be your wake-up call to put them into place! If each of us just made one small change in our daily routine, the results would be staggering.
We would enthusiastically love more ideas about water conservation to add into this book. Please let us know if you have any additional ideas for using and reusing water.
Every small step helps!
The Green Living Series was created by the BellaOnline Green Team as a way to promote healthy, environmentally-conscious lifestyle choices.
Books in this series include:
Heating and Cooling
Room by Room
Food & Drink
Health & Beauty
BOX SET: The complete set of all 12 Green Living ebooks
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Water is one of this earth’s most precious resources. Our world is one large network of water flow, and we should each do our part to conserve the water and keep it clean! While we think about the oceans being full of billions of gallons of water, it’s important to remember that we cannot drink salt water. When you look solely at the amount of drinkable water on the planet, only 1% of the water on our planet is water we could drink. It’s important that we preserve this water as much as possible. Think of how you use water each day. Are you careful with it, to use only what you need? Do you ensure that the water is not polluted or contaminated as it heads back out into the world? These practical tips will help you learn how to use water more efficiently and become a custodian of the water which is entrusted to your care. Some of the suggestions are easy while others might involve a bit more work. No matter where you currently fall in the scale of saving water, you'll find something here to give a try! All author's proceeds from this Green Living series support environmental charities.