Blame it on global warming, summers are not only hotter, they are also longer. Our home’s cooling systems are always on and trips to the showers are more frequent. While most are wary about their energy consumption, water usage should not be taken for granted.
A typical household uses 260 gallons of water everyday with toilets accounting for nearly 30%. During summer, the consumption increases — from drinking water to long showers and baths. But don’t worry; there are easy and simple ways to conserve water this summer that can make condo living more sustainable in the long run. By doing these water conservation tips, you don’t only live responsibly, you also slash your water bill significantly.
Slash the flush
Each flush uses around 1.6 gallons of water. You can cut the usage by half through simple physics. All you need to do is fill two liter-sized plastic bottles with water and drop pebbles in the bottom before lowering them in the toilet tank. Remember to place them out of the way of the flush mechanism. You can also purchase an inexpensive toilet tank bank for the same purpose.
Do the toilet test
Find out if your toilet has leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring on the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl, then that means your toilet is leaking. Doing this regularly is an essential way to conserve water in your condo because a toilet leak washes away 100 gallons of water each day. One way to fix this is by replacing the rubber flapper.
Check the leaks
Speaking of leaks, did you know that 10% of homes worldwide have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average household’s leaks account for more than 10,000 gallons of water that is put to waste everyday, enough water to wash 270 loads of laundry. Don’t let your home fall under this category by performing regular water check-ups. The most common household leaks are usually very easy to fix — toilet flappers and dripping faucets. They also won’t hurt your tight budget. In fact, fixing them can save homeowners 10% in their water bills.
Skip the tub
Luxurious condo units have tubs in the bathroom and a bubble bath with essential oils and a good book may be the perfect way to cap the night. But if you are looking into slashing your water bill especially this summer, you might want to skip the tub. Report from the EPA shows that an average bathtub requires about 70 gallons and even if you don’t fill it to the top, baths still use up more water than showers by any calculation.
In the shower, every minute counts
Showers save water and quicker ones save more. A five-minute shower uses 10-25 gallons. Can you manage to cut it down to three minutes? Try and save up to 1,750 gallons of water a year for every two minutes you saved during shower time. If you are afraid you will lose track of time, bring your iPod in the shower and time down your shower to a single song. And no, epic rock anthems like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Freebird” do not count.
Keep it low
A low-flow showerhead is a no-brainer. If your condo doesn’t have one yet, consider getting one. It may cost you some money on the onset but it will save you more money down the road. A conventional showerhead flows at five gallons per minute while a low-flow showerhead uses 2.5 gallons or less. Enough of the talk about performance because you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Keep a bucket
This is an old trick that, well, never really gets old. Keep a bucket around the condo when you shower and do the laundry. Use the bucket to catch the water from the shower while you are waiting for it to get warm. Keep a bucket near you when you shower to catch more excess water. Use the bucket for all the laundry water. These buckets full of water can be used to clean the bathroom, water the plants, wash your car, mop the floor, etc. A bucket can do wonders to your water bill.
Use the dishwasher
You might have the impression that hand-washing your dishes save more water and energy than using a dishwasher. You got it all wrong. On the average, hand-washing of dishes use up to 27 gallons of water whereas an energy-saving dishwasher only uses three gallons of water. As a bonus, you also save time and effort.
When not in use, turn it off
How many times do you have to be told about turning the water off when not using it? Turning the shower off while you shampoo, soap, and shave is a good tip for those on a tight budget and those that aim to trim down their water bill. When you brush your teeth, fill a glass with water instead of keeping the water running.
Play water games
No, you are not going to throw water balloons around the condo. Make saving water fun by playing around with it. For example, ask each member of the family to pick their favorite cup which they will use the entire day for drinking instead of washing cups over and over again. Encourage the whole family to save water using buckets. Keep a chalkboard in the kitchen for everyone to write their water-saving tips, however crazy they seem.
Use the pool more
The beauty of condo living is having all luxuries right at your doorstep. Major condos in the Philippines have lap and swimming pools that come in handy during the summer. Encourage your family to frequent the pool more. This will help you beat the heat in a fun way. After that, all you need is a few minutes to rinse off in the shower.
More than just cutting down monthly bills, conserving water is a responsibility. Ways to do it are fairly simple and also inexpensive. It might take a few lifestyle changes here and there but the returns are worth it and lasting.