• 47254011

    While these tips are great in that they don’t require any time to set up they require a change in habits that can be difficult to get everyone to participate in. We’ve gone the other direction by making changes changes that require up front effort but don’t require habit changes to see water savings. As for cost they all pay for themselves and the time for each is less than 5 minutes each. And the only tools needed were pliers (for removing old fixtures) and the only skill required was equivalent to being able to screw in a light bulb.

    Toilets – We’ve been retrofitting with dual flush converters. They cost around $25 but claim to save up to $100 a year making them pay for themselves quickly. We’ve used the HydroRIght models. The converter itself doesn’t require any tools to install, but I did have to use pliers to remove the existing handle. Just by appropriate button when you flush you save water with no change of habit required, and no bowls filled with urine sitting around.

    Sinks – We’re replaced out aerators with 1.0 gpm models and not noticed a difference in effectiveness. And if you do remember to shut off the tap while brushing teeth and washing hands it will save even more water. But by default we’re saving water even with existing bad habits. Just unscrew the old model (again with the help of pliers) and screw on the new one. The low flow aerators cost around $5 at Home Depot. At $20 for the entire house it wasn’t worth the effort to figure out how long it would take to recoup our costs.

    Showers – Our showers don’t have separate temperature and flow controls making turning water off involve going through a dousing of ice cold water when you turn the water back on. Again we went with low flow fixtures but additionally we chose a model with a pause setting. Instead of trying to hurry up in the shower you wet yourself down, turn the head to pause while you lather up, shave, etc and turn the water back on to rinse.

    Cooking – We have pasta a few times a week and the water from boiling the pasta used to go down the drain. Now we hold onto the water and use it to rinse out recyclable containers or to pre-rinse dishes.

    Drinking glasses – We’ve made the switch to primary drinking only water but at the end of the day there’s usually a glass of water sitting around and getting warm. While we could just stick the water in the fridge the next day to get cold again, drinking water that sat around and collected germs and dust didn’t appeal to us. So the water now either goes to the dogs (literally) or can go to water plants if you dont have pets.

    • http://glueandglitter.com Becky Striepe

      Thanks for the additional tips! I especially like the idea of reusing pasta cooking water. Do you have an in-pot strainer, or do you set the colander into a container? I’m trying to visualize the best way to do this without burning myself, since I’m what you might call “accident prone.” :)

      • 47254011

        We have a pot with a colander built-in. But it’s a 5 quart pot and we’ve been trying to go with the smallest post we can by breaking spaghetti in half. For pots without a colander you can find a colander that fits inside another pot, nest them ahead of time and just pour into the second pot. Unfortunately when I told my wife to use the water to clean out a plastic Angel Food Cake container she thought she could pour the hot water directly into the plastic, so I understand the accident prone part. ;)

        • http://glueandglitter.com Becky Striepe

          Thanks for the tips! I’m glad to hear I’m not alone on the accident-prone front. :)

  • http://www.gogreenonline.com Candace

    We have been doing some of the basics around here. With two young kids, getting them to take short showers has been a fight. We bought a kitchen timer and set it. They get a two minute warning and then they have to be out by the time the timer goes off. We make a game out of it to entice them to get out of the shower fast.

    We’ve also bought new bottles for us. The bottles are bpa free and replaced buying bottled water. Now, we carry our filled giant bottles wherever we go.

    • http://glueandglitter.com Becky Striepe

      Making it a game for the kiddos is a great idea!

      Congrats on your new bottles. They’re a little pricey up front, but you save so much by refilling instead of paying for bottled water.

    • 47254011

      While our daughter usually takes showers and we use the timer trick, she does occasionally take baths also. As a trick to teach her to limit her water usage we figured out what was a good level and then we put duck shaped anti-slip appliques around the perimeter of the tub and taught her when the ducks are “floating” on top of the water it’s time to turn the water off.

  • http://vivbizclub.com dinesh

    Hey Becky,

    I’d like to throw on 1 more which is perhaps a bit alternative, but actually really simple and has the potential for a really really big impact.

    Eating less meat.

    I know the statistic varies a bit depending on who you talk to, but it’s something like… “it takes 500 – 2,500 gallons of water to make 1 pound of beef.”

    The first time I heard this I was completely shocked. Instituting something like a ‘vegetarian night’ would probably be pretty easy for most households. Especially because there are so many great faux-meat options out there these days for meat eaters who are trying to cut back.

    Eating even just 1/2 a lb less of beef once a week saves at least 250 gallons of water. That’s a lot.

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    Eating less meat.

    I know the statistic varies a bit depending on who you talk to, but it’s something like… “it takes 500 – 2,500 gallons of water to make 1 pound of beef.”

    The first time I heard this I was completely shocked. Instituting something like a ‘vegetarian night’ would probably be pretty easy for most households. Especially because there are so many great faux-meat options out there these days for meat eaters who are trying to cut back.