4 smart ways to reduce household water usage

June 30, 2015

We all know that it makes sense for the environment and your wallet to conserve water where you can in your home. Here are four smart ways to reduce your household water consumption.

4 smart ways to reduce household water usage

1. Install water-saving hardware

There are all sorts of accessories and fittings available today that can help you save water. However, before you start installing new hardware, check with your local authority whether plumbing work has to be carried out by a licensed plumber. In some jurisdictions, doing it yourself may impact your insurance coverage.

  • Replace separate taps with a single-lever mixer tap. This will help you adjust the water temperature more rapidly, thereby saving water.
  • Ask a plumber to fit aerators and flow regulators to taps, or install taps that incorporate these devices. They reduce the flow of water without diminishing pressure – in other words, without you really noticing a difference.
  • Replace your existing cistern (toilet tank) with a high-efficiency dual flush system. This can reduce flush volume from 11 litres (3 gallons) to 3 litres (12 cups).
  • If your toilet doesn't have a half-flush option, consider reducing the flush volume by installing a commercially available flush regulator or by placing a plastic bottle full of water in the cistern, well away from the flush mechanism.
  • To avoid wasting cold water left in hot-water pipes, install a recirculating system, which sends unused water back to the heater, or a heat-tracing system, which uses minimal power to keep the water in the pipes warm.

2. Check efficiency ratings

When buying appliances that use water, look for models bearing labels or ratings that indicate they are water efficient.

  • These efficiency ratings cover showerheads, dishwashers, washing machines, taps, toilet equipment and flow regulators.
  • Water rating labels indicate efficiency using a rating of between one and six stars and a consumption figure. The more stars, the more efficient the product.
  • Appliances with high ratings may cost more, but they will offer significant long-term savings.
  • Water-efficient products save not only water and money, but also energy, thereby limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Check for leaks

Small leaks can waste huge amounts of water – which you are paying for – so it's a good idea to run this check for a leaking pipe every now and then.

  • Turn off all taps and machines that use water.
  • Write down the reading on your water meter.
  • Check it again half an hour later.
  • If it has gone up, you have a leak.
  • Call a plumber if you can't find the leak yourself.

4. Install a water-saving showerhead

Switching to a water-saving showerhead is the cheapest and most effective change you can make inside your home to save water.

  • A water-saving showerhead can save up to 50,000 litres (13,208 gallons) per year.
  • Some water authorities will provide, install and even offer rebates for using these devices.

By taking small steps to make your home more water efficient, you can have a large long-term impact in preserving this precious resource.

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