While water feels like a resource that flows steadily from our taps, it’s actually scarcer than most of us believe. In spite of that scarcity, homeowners’ water usage increases by 100 to 200 percent during the summer. Unfortunately, many people tend to continue their excessive water usage even when fall and winter return.
Luckily, there are things you can do to help. If every homeowner took a few small steps to conserve water throughout the year, including during the fall and winter, there would be much more water to go around. Water conservation also puts less strain on your water softener and water heater, which means you save money on utility bills.
Here are a few easy things you can do to limit your water use during this fall and winter.
Change Water Fountain Usage
You might want to get the most out of your decorative outdoor water fountain while the weather is still nice. Before winter sets in, though, you should put the fountain on a timer. That way it only runs during daylight hours or after work when you can enjoy it.
Hack Your Shower
On brisk fall and winter mornings, you use your shower to warm up. You might try to keep your shower time low to save water, but it’s hard to force yourself out of the warm water and back into the chilly air after only five minutes.
Compromise by showering every other day instead of daily. If you have long hair, resolve to wear it up on the second day; you’ll save the time you would have spent blow-drying your hair and conserve water while you’re at it.
If you still prefer to shower every day, compromise by turning off the water while you lather with shampoo and soap. A brief 30 seconds without water won’t make you too cold and can save several gallons.
Check Outdoor Water Sources
Now that summer is over and your family stays inside more often than not, don’t forget to check outdoor water sources for leaks. Pipes, drains, and hoses can leak for days or weeks if you don’t notice them right away. Make it a habit to walk around your house and inspect for leaks once a week to save precious water.
Collect Rain Water
If you live in a place with frequent fall rain, take advantage of it. Collect rain in barrels on the side of your house. Just sit the barrels underneath gutter spouts for easy filling. Make sure to check your city’s codes before you do this-some cities prohibit homeowners from collecting rainwater.
Once you collect the rainwater, connect a garden hose to the bottom of the barrel and use it to water your lawn or garden or to wash your driveway, sidewalk, and car. If you wash your car at home, you’ll conserve dozens of gallons of water by not using an automatic car wash.
Fall and winter are the seasons of comfort food. You may feel inclined to make more pasta, rice, soup, and warm foods in general. However, you can save water in the kitchen by cooking items in less water. Your pasta will retain its nutrients and your rice will be less soggy. Whenever possible, cook items with the lid on to retain as much water as possible in your food.
Install a Water Softener
If you don’t already have a water softener, call a professional to put one in your home. Water softeners eliminate pesky hard-water stains on dishes and in your shower. You’ll spend less water on re-washing dishes and cleaning the shower more often than necessary.
While you want to conserve water at home, you also want the water you use to be high quality and free of minerals or toxins. Talk to a water treatment company to ensure the quality of your water at home. They can also give you tips on how to improve your water usage this fall and winter.