Tips for Reducing Your Water Consumption
Our water, specifically which is sourced from non-bottled varieties, will come from one of two sources – either from above-ground resources like lakes and rivers or from underground aquifers or wells. To learn the specifics of your local water supply, try requesting an annual water quality report from the utility company providing your community with water.
There is a lot of creative thought being put into the process of recycling water, using “gray water” and of course, the quality of our water considered potable. The reports are also sent out to customers by July 1st of each year. There you’ll begin to uncover what lurks in your drinking water supply including contaminants and chemicals like chlorine and chloramines (which are toxic to fish and amphibians).
It is important to know what’s in your water supply so you know what you need to filter out. This will help you choose the best water filter for you and your family. The report also gives you a summary of water sources i.e. lakes, rivers, aquifers, reservoirs). To further uncover what’s really in your tap water send a sample to lab and have it tested.
You can also go to http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo/index.html to learn more.
If you follow the green movement – or even adopt measures to protect your own health, you may have heard about “Reverse Osmosis” (RO). In decades past, scientists noted that water molecules would spontaneously migrate through certain membranes that were separating a dilute solution from a concentrated solution. This phenomenon is called osmosis. They also noted that if pressure was added to the higher contaminant solution, this natural flow could be reversed. This reversal allows the contaminant solution to be concentrated further and allows purified water to be produced.
Where only a small volume of treated water is needed, approximately 0-10 gallons per day (gpd), RO is typically the preferred recommendation for clients as it is a flexible and cost-efficient treatment process – readily available for private home use. Devices treating small volumes of water are often called “under-the-sink” or “point-of-use” (POU) sized treatment devices. Treatment devices that purify all water used in a home are commonly called “whole house” or “point-of-entry” sized water treatment devices.
Is Bottled Water Better?
If your water supply comes from large flats of plastic water bottles, clients should consider changing this habit. We don’t want to encourage changing one behavior for health reasons, only to bring another known concern to our client.
Apart from contaminants and plastics, bottled water can be a lot more expensive than what comes from kitchen tap; furthermore, if RO is used, there is really no need for bottled water apart from personal preference. So if you are looking for smart recommendations for your client, this is a one-way approach to the topic of water. But for anyone looking to trim costs, this is a great place to begin. This will save your client money and ideally, cleaner water. Since most bottled water is really just tap water (most bottles are now labeled “P.W.S.” to indicate that the water is actually from a “public water source.”). When one considers the possible risks involved with consuming foods/liquids from plastic (which leach chemicals into the water or food), the decision to switch to an RO method becomes more favorable. Remember that water bottles are often made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is an environmental hazard itself.
Only a small amount of water on our planet is actually available for human consumption, after considering that much of our water has salt (oceans) or makes up ice caps and glaciers. There is no option – we all have to conserve water. This is not just a client choice…. it’s really a ‘given’ that we all need to observe. And one of the quickest ways to help a client lower household water consumption is by promoting the training of family members and their habits. This would include not leaving water running when brushing teeth or even when doing the dishes. Aerators should be recommended on all of the faucets. These work by decreasing water flow, mixing in air, and turning a continuous water stream into many small droplets. These aerators can cut water usage at the sink by 40%.
We all make lifestyle choices and some of these choices are hard to change or give up. But if you like taking a long soak in your tub, you should realize that a standard tub holds 60 gallons of water…which is more than what a shower would use. If you want to give your client some choices, however, encourage cuts in their consumption elsewhere.
Here is another opportunity to save or cut back on water usage. 10,000 gallons of water is wasted per year waiting on the hot water to heat up. Adjust the initial burst of water by adding more hot water. Cutting water use, reduces greenhouse gasses and shrinks your utility bills.
Top Tips for Reducing Water Consumption
Most clients will have a budget to work within but when their budget is ready, consider the following recommendations in support of green living.
- Check faucets, pipes, and toilets for leaks. They can waste thousands of gallons of water per year.
- Install aerators on all of the faucets in the house. This can reduce your water flow by up to two gallons per minute.
- Turn off the water while brushing teeth, face washing and shaving. If needed, fill the water basin with water for washing or shaving.
- When washing fruits and veggies, fill the sink basin with water instead of running them under continuously flowing water. For easy do-it-yourself clean, add a couple of tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and 20-30 drops of grapefruit seed extract.
- When washing dishes, get your client in the habit of scraping food scraps into your compost bin (if they use one) instead of using water to wash it down the drain. This will also prevent clogs in pipes!
- Install a low-flow showerhead to reduce shower water consumption by 20-60%.
- For toilets installed before 199s, install a toilet dam. It can reduce toilet water consumption by up to 35%.
- When it becomes time to replace a toilet, select a modern low-flush toilet. New models use about half the water of old toilets.
- Update old appliances and replace them with water-efficient appliances like a front-loading washing machine, and low water use dishwasher. Wash only full loads of each.
- Landscape should include native plants that don’t require a lot of water.
- Use a rain barrel to collect water and use it to irrigate lawns and gardens.
- Sweep driveways instead of hosing them down. This will also prevent heavy metals and oils from parked cars going into storm drains.
- Wash your car with a waterless car wash product
- If your client has a pool, use a pool cover to prevent evaporation and keep in the heat.
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