It should come as no surprise that water conservation is important. The average Canadian uses around 250 litres of water per day (roughly 300 bathtubs full of water per year), and this number is only rising due to stay-at-home orders. Households use the third-highest amount of water in Canada, so learning how to conserve water at home can help protect the environment and our water supply.
Small, water-conscious habits can be formed at home to have a positive impact on the environment and your bank account. We’ve created a room-by-room guide to help you learn how to save water at home to get you started.
Why Conserve Water?
Households are the third-largest consumers of freshwater in Canada, after thermal-electric power generation and manufacturing, accounting for around 9% of total freshwater use. Though improvements in the water efficiency of household appliances have been made, there is still more that can be done at home to reduce water waste. Because Canada is responsible for 20% of the world’s freshwater resources, it’s critical to make environmentally conscious decisions.
The there is the financial aspect of things. The more water you waste in your Waterloo Region home the higher your water bill. This is a problem both when you are living there – no one wants to pay for stuff they don’t use – and even when selling your Waterloo Region home.
Savvy homebuyers do their homework, and if the water bill looks too high they will wonder about the impact it would have on their budget, and/or whether they might have to spend more money than they would like to making water system repairs and upgrades.
A Guide to Saving Water in Your Waterloo Region Home
It’s simple to save water in every room of your house (and even outside). We’ve compiled a list of water-saving tips for your home, ranging from taking shorter showers to upgrading your appliances. And as we mentioned, saving water also saves money, so don’t be surprised if you see a reduction in your water bill!
Saving Water in the Kitchen
Instead of doing the dishes by hand, use the dishwasher.
While cooking at home saves money, it also means there are more dishes to clean. To save water in the kitchen.
Washing dishes by hand uses a lot more water than running full loads in a dishwasher — even if you have a water-conserving model — which may seem counterintuitive at first.
A dishwasher that is ENERGY STAR certified uses 30% less water on average than a standard model and does not require prewashing. You save time as well as 1,211 litres of water per year when you skip rinsing, scrubbing, and drying your dishes.
Another water-saving kitchen trick is to set aside one glass for drinking water each day. This will reduce the number of glasses that need to be washed.
Instead of rinsing your pots and pans, soak them.
Soak pots, pans, and other large items that can’t be put in the dishwasher rather than letting them sit under running water. Instead of wasting 100 litres of water by running your pots and pans under the faucet for 10 minutes, fill up your sink and soak your pots and pans overnight.
Cooking water can be reused.
Reusing cooking water as much as possible can save a lot of water. This includes water used to cook pasta and rice, as well as water used to boil eggs and clean fruits and vegetables. Because boiling pasta and rice uses about four litres of water, you can save that by reusing it or using it to water plants.
Allowing the faucet to run while cleaning food is not a good idea.
While it is important to clean your fruits and vegetables for hygiene reasons, do not run the faucet while doing so. The average faucet produces approximately eight litres of water per minute. Similarly, instead of thawing food under running water, defrost it in the refrigerator.
Composting can help you save water and money too, while making your garden greener
Composting is an excellent way to reduce the amount of time you spend running your garbage disposal. Garbage disposal consumes approximately 30 litres of water per day. Using your garbage disposal less often can save you 190 to 567 litres of water per month. Composting fruit and vegetable scraps for your garden is a better way to dispose of them.
Compost also reduces plant water requirements by increasing the amount of water that soil can hold. The capacity of the soil to hold water is quadrupled with just a 5% increase in organic material. As a result, incorporating compost into your lawn or garden can help you save up to 60% on watering.
Saving Water in the Bathroom
Oh, the leaks, baths, and flushes! In the bathroom, there are lots of ways to waste water. When cleaning and bathing, try the following methods to save water instead.
After you’ve wet your toothbrush, turn off the water.
Brushing your teeth while turning off the water can save 95 litres per month. When washing your face or shaving, remember to turn off the water after filing the basin, and don’t leave water running when executing these daily tasks either.
Check for leaks in your toilets, faucets, and pipes.
Fixing leaky faucets can save up to 530 litres of water per week. Putting a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank water is one way to see if your toilet has a leak. If the coloring seeps into the toilet bowl after 10 to 15 minutes without being flushed, you have a leak. It can save up to 3,785 litres per month if it’s fixed.
Showers should be shorter.
Bathing accounts for 35% of all domestic water use in Canada. Showering uses about 10 litres of water per minute, so shaving off a minute or two from your shower can save you up to 568 litres per month. Filling your bathtub halfway uses about 200 litres of water if you’re a frequent bather. Instead, take one bath per week, filling the tub only about a quarter full to save water.
Install toilets that are low-flush or dual-flush.
Toilet flushes use one-third of the water used in the home, ranging from 6 to 14 litres per flush. If your toilet was installed before 1993, it most likely uses nearly 8 litres more water per flush than newer toilets. Install low-flush or dual-flush toilets to save water.
Showerheads that save water should be installed.
If your shower fills a 4 liter bucket in less than 20 seconds, you should consider upgrading to a water-saving showerhead. Showerheads that use less water can save you up to 2,839 litres per month.
Saving Water When Doing Laundry
Laundry accounts for 20% of your home’s annual water consumption; try implementing the following water conservation techniques in your laundry room.
Use cold water and run full loads.
Only run your clothes washer when it’s completely full. You can save up to 3,785 litres per month with this method. If you’re concerned that your clothes won’t get clean in cold water, look for a laundry detergent specifically designed for cold water washing, which is becoming more common.
Wash your delicates by hand.
For some delicate clothing items, handwashing is better for them anyway and saves more water than putting them in the machine on the “Delicate” setting. Machine washing uses around 53 litres per wash, while handwashing uses only 20 litres when you don’t run the water and put a stopper in the sink.
Collect all the items that need to be washed so that you can do one batch at a time. Limiting the amount of detergent you use is also a good idea. A little goes a long way, and fewer suds means less rinse water is required.
Use concentrated detergents
Concentrated detergents save water because the cost of adding water to the bottle is avoided. Because non-concentrated liquid laundry detergents contain 60 to 90% water, opting for a concentrated detergent can save you hundreds of litres of water per year.
Don’t wash everything.
After one use, not all laundry needs to be washed. Bath and hand towels, as well as jeans and pyjamas, can be worn three times or more before being washed. To save one to two full loads of laundry per week, wait to wash towels due to their size (49 to 87 litres).
Make the switch to a more energy-efficient washing machine.
New ENERGY STAR-certified washers use half as much water and use half as much energy as washers that were certified before January 1, 2007. A well-designed washing machine can save your family up to 26,498 litres per year.
Saving Water Outside Your Home
Saving water outside can have a significant impact on the environment and your wallet. Discover the various methods for conserving water outside of your home.
To turn water on and off, use a hose nozzle.
A running hose can discharge up to 38 litres of water per minute, so using a hose nozzle, which automatically turns on and off, can save water. You can water a lot of plants at the end of the day when it’s cooler and evaporation is less likely.
Examine irrigation systems on a regular basis.
Check your irrigation systems for leaks and broken or clogged sprinkler heads on a regular basis. Over the course of a six-month irrigation season, a single broken sprinkler head can waste up to 94,635 litres of water.
Install drip irrigation and a smart controller to complete the project.
Each time you water, a drip irrigation system with a smart controller can save you 57 litres. Also, group plants with similar watering requirements together to avoid overwatering some and drowning others.
Clean driveways and sidewalks with a broom.
For every five minutes you don’t use the hose, and clean outside walkways with a broom instead saves about 113 litres of water. Sweeping instead of washing can save an average homeowner more than 11,356 litres per year.
Rainwater can be collected and reused.
Rainwater collection is an excellent irrigation method because it allows you to reuse water in your yard or garden. A rain barrel that holds 190 litres of rainwater is the most common method of collecting rainwater.
Other Ways to Save Water In and Around Your Waterloo Region Home
There are lots of other ways to save water in your everyday life:
Protect your water pipes by insulating them.
When temperatures drop, insulating your water pipes reduces heat loss and keeps your water from freezing. It can also help you save money on your heating bill by conserving energy.
Wherever possible, recycle your water.
It’s easier than you might think to find places around your house where you can collect and recycle water.
Here are a few ideas for collecting and reusing water:
Fill a bucket with water and place it in your shower: While you’re waiting for the water to warm up, collect it and use it in your garden or to water your plants.
Water from drinking bottles can be reused in a variety of ways. Before recycling or washing your bottles or cups, use the extra water to water your plants.
Extra ice cubes can be strewn across your lawn: Your lawn will be replenished as ice cubes melt.
Reduce your meat and dairy consumption.
The livestock industry is the largest user of freshwater, so eating fewer animal-based products can help save water. A pound of beef requires nearly 9,000 litres of water to produce; switching to a plant-based diet can save up to 567,812 litres of water per person.
Car washing should be done responsibly.
Use a commercial car wash or find a location where the wastewater won’t flow into a catch basin. When washing your car at home, use only a small amount of water in a bucket and empty it into a toilet or laundry sink when finished.
We hope that our step-by-step guide has inspired you to incorporate some water-saving practices into your homesteading routines. Saving water is a good idea no matter where you live or what kind of home you have, and it’s easier than you think, as we’ve shown you.