The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day, with toilets accounting for around 27% of that daily water use.  This number is alarming on its own and we need to be treating water like the beloved resource that it is.  There’s hundreds of ways to conserve water in and around your home; you’ve probably been told a thousand times to turn the water off when brushing your teeth, take shorter showers, etc.  We will not be mentioning any of those.  Instead, here’s five less-obvious ways to save water and money at home.

1. Choose efficient fixtures:

Replacing your toilet, shower heads, faucets, and/or washing machine with low-flow and water efficient fixtures/appliances is a great way to start saving water instantly.  Look for the WaterSense label on products, as they have been independently certified to perform well and save water, energy, and money.  While a new washing machine may not be on the top of everyone’s list due to the price tag, WaterSense labeled shower heads, faucets, and toilets can all be very inexpensive.

2. If your bill goes up, check for leaks:

If you feel that you have an unwarranted spike in your water bill, be sure to check for leaks around your home.  There are two easy ways you can do this yourself:

  • Check for leaks in your toilet. This is done by putting a small amount of food coloring in the tank of your toilet.  Check back in an hour and be sure to not flush the toilet, if the color starts to appear in the bowl, you have a leak.
  • Check your water meter. Read the meter and don’t use any water afterwards for a couple hours.  If the meter doesn’t read exactly the same, there’s a leak somewhere.

In either case or if you’re still not sure, contacting a professional to inspect and fix the problem will result in massive savings in the future.

3. The Bucket Trick:

While waiting for the water in your sink or shower to get warm, use a bucket to collect the cold water that you can use later.  Conserving water this way will eliminate any waste and allow you to use the water some time in the future for gardening, cleaning, etc.

4. Water your garden efficiently:

Water your plants and lawn early in the morning as cooler morning temperatures mean that you’ll be losing less water due to evaporation.  What’s even more effective is watering your plants with a watering can rather than sprinklers or hose, especially when incorporating the bucket trick!

5. The Water Bottle Trick:

The water bottle trick is an efficient and effective way to save water every time you flush your toilet without having to purchase a new WaterSense labeled toilet.  Get a half-gallon jug or two smaller water bottles and put some sand or gravel at the bottom to weigh them down.  Fill the rest with water and put the lid(s) back on and place them in the toilet tank. The presence of a half-gallon jug will save half a gallon of water every single time you flush.

Save water and the planet by incorporating some of these tips in your home.  No one’s expecting you to get that new washing machine immediately after reading this, but the water bottle and bucket tricks are great ways to conserve water and save money immediately.