10 Ways to Save Water Around Your House and Yard
While you’re busy adjusting sprinklers, cleaning the dishes and washing the dog, your water bill is busy going up. This can be a problem, especially if you live in an area that struggles with droughts. However, your budget may not allow for major water-saving innovations, which is why this article focuses on affordable ways to save water in your house and around your yard. Find the methods that fit your lifestyle best and give them a try this season!
Use Rain Barrels and Other Water Catchers
Rain barrels are a simple home project designed to catch water runoff from your roof and gutters for later use. Of course, you can’t use this water for drinking or washing, but it’s an excellent choice for irrigation, especially with a large setup that can contribute enough water after a rainstorm to water your garden or flower beds. Additionally, rain barrels can be literal wooden barrels that make for excellent landscaping additions to a backyard, so you don’t have to sacrifice appearance.
Insulate Hot Water Pipes
Are your hot water pipes insulated? Remember, pipes (especially metal pipes) conduct heat, and your hot water can lose a lot of heat traveling through cold pipes, which means you’ll have to let your faucet run longer before hot water comes out. Insulating pipes is an affordable solution to this problem, keeping heat contained within the pipes and shortening the time it takes for your water to run hot so you waste less.
Use Your Water Meter
A water meter isn’t just for show! These meters provide valuable information about exactly how much water you are using—even water use you may not be aware of. Use the water meter to track water use during weekdays and weekends, and look for high-use days or times. Then try to change your habits to reduce unnecessary water use.
Your sprinklers should water your plants and grass—and nothing else. If a sprinkler is aimed at a fence or siding, it’s wasting water (and potentially damaging those surfaces). Reposition sprinkler heads so that they only spray what they need to. If the angle or width is wrong, buy new sprinkler heads with the right pattern for the area you want to water.
Cover Bare Soil
Bare soil is bad news for water: It allows moisture to evaporate too quickly and dries out the ground. Cover bare soil around your yard with mulch to help retain moisture in those areas, and route water to where it’s needed most before it evaporates.
Xeriscaping refers to landscaping that uses drought-resistant plants and various techniques designed to save as much water as possible. For example, opting for accent plants that require little water or even replacing the lawn with more native grasses. The plants will thrive with little effort from you and you’ll save water, to boot! If you decide to try xeriscapting just remember to adapt your watering schedule so you don’t overwater.
Photo: Carmen Sorvillo/Shutterstock
Implement Micro Irrigation
Micro irrigation is all about highly localized watering. There are several popular forms of micro irrigation. One option uses underground tubes with holes that allow water to seep out directly to roots. Another option uses small sprinkler heads with a spray radius of just a few inches for watering flower beds with very little waste. Self-watering drippers are another good option for both indoor and outdoor plants.
Water in the Morning
Schedule your sprinklers and other watering tasks for the morning. Temperature and humidity combine to make this an ideal time to soak the earth with water. Water evaporates quicker as the day goes on, so watering in the morning can help save some water.
Check out these other tips for keeping your grass green and achieving a healthy lawn.
Use Low Flow
Today’s low-flow appliances save water while still providing all the water pressure you need around the house. If you have the money to invest in a low-flow showerhead or even a new toilet, you can save a significant amount of money on your monthly water bills. Don’t underestimate how much water home appliances use!
Don’t Let Water Run
Think of all the activities where you keep the water running: shaving, washing pans, brushing your teeth, the list is a long one. If you want to save water in the house, set new guidelines. Shut off the water when you’re not using it. A few good habits can save gallons of water a day!