Did you know the average American family spends over $1000 per year on water bills? And by making a few simple changes they could spend $380 less!
Over the last year I cut water usage in my apartment by over 40%.
I spent a whole weekend researching the most effective ways to save water at home. Then I picked the ones that I could do easily – and did them!
I’ve put this list together so, like me, you can make some water-saving changes in your house today.
63 Ways To Save Water & Reduce Your Water Footprint
Following just a few of these suggestions could help your home save thousands of gallons of water per year. You’ll also reduce your water bill and help to save the planet too.
We’ve split our tips into 9 sections:
Kitchen Water Saving Tips
When cooking, washing the dishes or making coffee, it’s very easy to use more water than we need to.
Here are some useful ways to save water in the kitchen.
- Recycle used water
Excess water from making tea or boiling eggs can be cooled then used to water your plants. You can even give your garden a nutrient boost, by watering plants with the leftover liquid from boiling vegetables. [source]
- Peel veggies before washing
Peel your carrots or potatoes before cleaning them. Your knife will be a little dirtier than usual. But you’ll need way less water when rinsing them off in the kitchen sink.
- Wash your fruit and vegetables in a bowl
You’ll save far more water than rinsing them under the faucet.
- Cook vegetables together
Is there any need for using two separate pans for cooking carrots and broccoli? I use one pan for all my vegetables and I don’t taste the difference!
- Use A Steamer
Steaming veggies or fish requires way less water than boiling.
Pro tip: Put your steamer on top of your boiling rice or potatoes and double your savings!
- Chill drinking water in advance
We’re all guilty of running the tap until it’s cold before filling up our glasses. Fill up a reusable bottle or glass with tap water in advance. Then chill in the refrigerator for refreshing, cold H2O at any time of day.!
- Sautee instead
Not only does frying with a small amount of oil taste great, you won’t be using any water either.
- Measure before boiling
Whether you’re boiling vegetables or making a cup of tea you probably need way less water than you think. For example, if you’re only making one cup of coffee, measure in your drinking mug before you transfer to the kettle.
- Defrost things in the fridge
It might be a little slower than soaking it, but think of all that water you’ll save!
- Make stock or soup from leftover water
Water that’s been used to cook vegetables can make delicious soup. In fact there are many ways to cook with nutrient-dense vegetable water.
- Use one glass a day for drinking
Instead of using a new clean glass every time you feel thirsty, use the same bottle every time.
PRO tip: choose different colored cups, or glasses for each member of the family so you don’t get mixed up.
- Make one-pot meals
It’s quick, it’s easy and you’ll save water when it’s time to do the dishes. It might even prevent an argument with your significant other too!
- Get a dishwasher
A dishwasher can save gallons per year and saves you time slaving over the kitchen sink. make sure you choose a model with an Energy Star certificate.
- Use a plug to do the dishes by hand
A common theme throughout this article is not to let the faucet run for too long. Using a plug when you wash the dishes is another great way to reduce water usage at home.
- Use a double basin for dishes
If you have a double basin at home, fill one with warm soapy water and one with clean, cold water for rinsing. You’ll save water as you won’t need to run the faucet.
- Don’t pre-rinse your dishes
It’s just as effective and reduces water waste too.
Bathroom & Toilet Water Saving Tips
From the shower to the toilet tank, here are our favourite ways to save water in the bathroom.
- Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth
Leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth can waste up to four gallons each time.
- Check for leaks and drips
The average household in the US loses over 10,000 gallons of water per year to leaks [source]. If you have a house water meter, check it regularly for any unusual spikes in usage. It may mean you have a leak!
- Check your toilet tank for leaks
Add a drop or two of food coloring in your toilet tank. If color appears in the toilet bowl without flushing, your toilet flapper may not be closing properly. You could be wasting up to 100 gallons of water per day.
- Collect shower water while it heats
Keep a bucket inside your shower cubicle to collect cold water as it warms up. You can use this out in the garden later on.
- Get a low-flow shower head & faucet
A low-flow shower head can cost between $10 and $20 and can reduce water use from 25 – 65%. Check your water meter in the weeks after installation to see how much you saved.
- Time your shower
I used to hate my father standing outside the bathroom with his stopwatch when I was a teenager. But now I pay the water bill I understand why.
- Take cold showers
You’ll want to spend less time in the shower if it’s cold. Bonus: you’ll be using less electricity too.
- If it’s yellow let it mellow
If it’s brown… jokes aside, following this old saying could save an average household up to 8760 gallons of water each year.
- Get a dual flush toilet
If you’re like me and ‘letting it mellow’ just isn’t your style – that’s fine. A dual flush toilet only lets you use the appropriate amount needed for the – (cough) – situation.
Food & Drink Water Saving Tips
Irrigation for food production is the main consumer of the world’s water resources and uses over 70% of all the water we use. These ways to save water will help you to make smarter food and drink choices.
- Become vegetarian
Producing meat uses far more water than vegetables. In fact, producing beef consumes as much as 1,800 gallons per pound of meat.
- Try meatless Mondays
If you can’t commit to going meat-free all week, cutting out meat consumption one or two days per week can still make a difference.
- Drink tea instead of coffee
Coffee production uses five times more water than tea. So it’s a no-brainer to reduce your water consumption. Tea also has less caffeine, which reduces both the frequency and time it takes to pee, meaning you’ll be flushing less too!
- Avoid processed food products
We know that natural food production takes up a lot of water, but anything processed and packaged in a factory wastes even more water..
- Ditch the cow’s milk
Switch to a healthy, non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or oat. Cow’s milk consumes much more water in it’s production.
- Avoid food waste
Food production is the highest consumer of freshwater on the planet. Plan your meals in advance, and save your leftovers in the refrigerator.
Laundry Water Saving Tips
- Buy a water efficient washing machine
Look for an Energy Star Efficient clothes washer.These use around 33% less water than a regular washing machine.
- Only wash full loads
Wait until you can completely fill the washing machine drum before doing a load.Tthis way you can wash more clothes with less water.
- Use the half-load setting
If you really wait, a good washing machine will have a half-load setting which uses less water.
- Wash your jeans less
They won’t wear out or fade as quickly.
Pro tip: hang your jeans outside for a few hours to ‘freshen up’.
- Wash your towels less
If you hang your towels out to try, immediately after you finish your shower they’ll be good to use again in a few hours.
Pet Water Saving Tips
We all know our furry friends need fresh drinking water daily. But what about all the other ways they use water?
If your home has a pet, try out some of these ways to save water.
- Use a pet water dispenser
You can buy these for as little as $10. They dispense water slowly and keep your pet’s water fresher for longer. You’ll change the water less often and save as a result.
- Use old drinking water for plants
If you do need to discard your pet’s drinking water, add it to a leftover bucket and use it to water plants or the lawn later.
- Recycle fish tank water
As long as it’s not saltwater, not too dirty, and chemicals haven’t been used, you can use old fish tank water in the garden. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and ammonia which are all key ingredients in plant fertilizer.
- Bathe smaller pets in a basin
You can bathe a small dog, cat, or rabbit in a small bowl or basin like a baby. You’ll waste much less compared to using a hose.
- Wash larger pets on the lawn
It’s hard to avoid using more water for a larger animal. Hose them down in the garden and help hydrate your garden at the same time.
- Don’t let pets pee on the lawn
Dog and cat pee can kill your grass and you’ll need to water it more often as a result.
Garden Water Saving Tips
Outdoor water restrictions are common across the world and in many US states (eg. California). An irrigation system for a lawn or your home garden can be a huge drain on the water supply system, particularly in the summer.
These are some of our favorite ways to conserve water in your yard.
- Get a rain barrel
A single rain barrell can save around 1,300 gallons of water during summer months. You can use the collected water in the garden, for your lawn or flowers.
- Direct gutters to your lawn
Make use of free water from nature! Every downpour will improve your lawn’s soil moisture.
- Use artificial grass
Artificial grass comes with a large upfront cost. But that’s where the costs stop. And most importantly there are zero watering requirements!
- Water the lawn overnight
As it’s cooler, you’ll lose less water to evaporation.
- Set your lawn mower slightly higher
Taller grass keeps your soil cooler and preserves more moisture.
- Position your sprinklers correctly
Make sure they’re pointing towards your garden, and you’re not wasting any water on pavements or patios.
- Don’t water the garden when rain is forecast
Keep an eye on the weather each day. If it’s going to rain, you don’t need to water your lawn.
- Don’t leave the hose running
Turn it off immediately when you aren’t using it.
Even better: buy a hose extension nozzle with a shut-off valve.
Swimming Pool Water Saving Tips
If you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your yard, there are several things you can do to keep water wastage to a minimum.
- Use a pool cover
A pool cover will reduce the amount of water you lose to evaporation. It can also keep your water free from leaves and dirt so you won’t need to change it so often.
- Don’t overfill the pool
An overfilled pool will lose lots of water over the sides. This is especially true if you have children who enjoy playing and diving.
- Keep your pool cool
If you live in a warm climate there’s no need to heat your pool. Use a pool over and keep the temperature low, and you’ll lose much less water to evaporation.
- Keep your pool water maintained
Use the right amount of pool chemicals and keep the pool at the correct levels. You’ll save water by not needing to change it so often.
- Check for pool leaks
The average lifespan of a vinyl pool liner is 5 to 9 years. If your pool is over 5-years-old you’ll need to be extra-vigilant with checking for leaks. After five years you may want to think about replacing the liner completely.
Car Washing Water Saving Tips
Here are some ways you can keep your car clean without wasting gallons of water.
- Use a bucket and a sponge
Fill one bucket with soapy water to clear the car and when you’re done you can rinse off with buckets of clean water. You’ll be much less likely to waste water compared to using a hose.
- Use a water efficient pressure washer
Another option is to use a good pressure washer with a shut off nozzle, so you’re only using water when you need it.
- Visit a water-efficient car wash
Most newer conveyer-style car washes have recycling systems built in. These can use up to 80% less water than a standard car wash.
Water Saving Tips for Kids
These suggestions will help get your kids thinking about water conservation while they’re still young!
- Learn about water conservation together
School projects are a great chance to learn about saving water at home with your kids. You could also invest in a few of these books.
- Share a bath
This isn’t so practical as an adult, but two similarly-aged siblings can take a bath together. Two for the (water footprint) price of one!
- Give up the water fights
While water fights and water guns are great fun during summer, they can waste gallons of water in minutes.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda
It takes 132 gallons of water to make two liters of soda. And fruit juice products can be just as bad.
One litre of drinking water will always be one liter of drinking water!
- Use a bucket and sponge to wash bicycles
Put the hose away and save water by washing bicycles with a bucket and sponge.
A Note on Water Conservation VS. Water Efficiency
The difference between conservation and efficiency is a small one, but it’s a question I’m often asked.
Water efficiency means using the smallest amount of water needed for any task at hand. For example, switching your shower head to a low flow model that uses less water.
Water conservation is changing people’s behaviours to use less water. Let’s stay with our example of taking a shower. We could conserve water by setting an alarm and only showering for four minutes at most.
Let’s get saving…
You’ve made it to the end, congratulations!
It also means you’re now armed with all the facts you need to make huge water savings.
BUT… just because you’re saving water doesn’t mean your drinking is contaminant free. So why not check out our guide to choosing the best water filter for clean, safe water for your whole family.