Indoor Water Tips
The average Southwest Floridian uses about 100 gallons of water a day for personal needs. Two-thirds of it is used in the bathroom. Toilets account for 40 percent of indoor water use, and showers and baths consume another 30 percent. Washing machines and dishwashers take 15 percent. Ongoing toilet, faucet and other leaks can as much as double your water and wastewater charges. Here’s how you immediately can cut your water and wastewater bill:
Detect and Repair Leaks
- Turn off everything that uses water in your home, and then check your water meter dial for 15 minutes. If the triangular knob remains still, you are watertight! If it’s moving, look for leaks.
- Fix leaks in toilets, faucets, showerheads and plumbing fixtures. Use food coloring to “dye” the water in your toilet tank to help detect leaks.
- Check the condition of water shut-off valves used for repairs and emergencies. Install Water-Saving Devices.
Install Water-Saving Devices
- Insert a water-filled bottle in older toilet tanks to displace space and reduce the gallons flushed.
- Retrofit sink faucets with aerators to reduce excess water flow.
- Update your bathrooms with low-flow showerheads and toilets.
- Install air-to-air heat pumps and air-conditioning systems that don’t use water.
- If water is running too hot or too cold, turn the offending temperature down instead of turning the
opposite temperature up. Run only full loads in the washing machine, and use proper fill levels.
- Hand wash dishes in one sink of water and rinse in a second to eliminate running water.
- Thaw foods in a microwave or pan of water, not under running water.
- Compost food waste instead of using a garbage disposal.
- Use the minimum amount of detergent required for any job, allowing heavily soiled items to pre-soak. Natural detergents are best.
- Choose a sponge mop and pail, instead of a string mop and running water.
- Keep a soft water tank’s regenerating cycles to a minimum. Turn it off during vacation.
- Save cooking water for nutritious soup stock, or use it to nourish your houseplants.
- Pour old fish tank water on your garden. Plants thrive on the nutrients.
- Reuse bathing water for heavy cleaning jobs.
Outdoor Water Tips
Irrigation is often the largest source of wasted water. Take advantage of the rainy season and let nature water your lawn. Read below for tips on how you can immediately reduce your water and wastewater bill.
Know Your Watering Restrictions
Detect & Repair Leaks
- Turn off everything that uses water in your home and check your water meter dial for 15 minutes. If the triangular knob remains still, you are watertight! If it’s moving, look for leaks.
- Check for broken or misdirected sprinkler heads. Turn on your irrigation system manually. Look for areas where water may be shooting into the air or spraying incorrectly.
- Look for soft, wet spots that may be forming on your lawn or plant bed areas while testing your irrigation system or after your irrigation system finishes a scheduled run. This may indicate a leak.
- Check to ensure your rain shut-off device, most commonly a rain sensor, is working properly to avoid overwatering.
Install Water-Saving Devices
- Use short on/off sprinkler cycles to allow landscaping to absorb the water. Set for large drops dispersed low to the ground, not high-flying mists. Water plant roots rather than leaves.
- Use efficient drip irrigation and soaker hoses, which can save from 20 to 50% of the water needed to keep plants thriving. Keep lines and filters clean.
- Install a new water-saving filter for your swimming pool.
- To stay informed of when your lawn needs water, use a moisture indicator.
- Water only when necessary, when grass shows signs of stress, such as folded blades, different color spots and lingering footprints. Professionals suggest watering once every five to seven days in summer, and every 10 to 14 days in winter. One good rain can eliminate the need for watering for up to two weeks. Over-watering is unhealthy.
- Group plants in “zones” that have similar water needs. Plant native and drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees to save as much as 30 to 60% of your water bill.
- Shut off automatic sprinklers during the rainy season.
- Raise your lawnmower blade to three inches or more to protect grass.
- Apply slow-release fertilizers with water-insoluble nitrogen and use them less often.
- Dig trenches around plants to catch water.
- Mulch controls water-hungry weeds and retains moisture for plants and trees.
- Prune plants properly. Excessive or improper pruning increases the need for water.
- Outfit your hose with an adjustable-stream trigger nozzle that automatically shuts off. When done, turn it off at the spigot to avoid leaks.
- Install hose washers between spigots and water hoses to stop leaks.