Questions for 'water savers'

miscindyJanuary 16, 2009

I've been reading about some of you save water from waiting for the sink or shower to warm up to use for other tasks. All I can think of is how much time and energy it would take me to:

1. Keep a bucket in each shower.

2. Figure out the best placement for it while the water runs each time.

3. Convince dh and chidlren to do it.

4. Carry the full buckets of water down the stairs and

5. Actually remember to use them for various tasks.

I'm wondering if some of you live in water shortage areas, are concerned about the amount of water in your wells, or pay high prices for water in your area.

Both my dh and I work full time outside the home and all this water saving I'm reading about seems like it would take a long time. I do little versions such as: fill a pitcher with cold water as I wait for it to warm and then water plants with it once a week or so, turn off water when brushing teeth, yell at kids to get out of the shower . . .

Maybe it's a Michigan thing, but we have municipal water, don't save bucketsfull of water, run lawn sprinklers all summer, etc . . . Our bills aren't all that much money to bother worrying about.

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"Our bills aren't all that much money to bother worrying about."

Neither are ours... and I do the things you do, plus more like using dehumidifier water for plants, having a front loader that cut our usage 25%, etc.

but some will post saying saving $$ is not the point, but that saving water is.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 11:37AM
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Here in Texas it is a water saving point, and also a dollar saving point. We have a bucket in a bathroom cabinet and run the shower water into it until the shower water is a comfortable temperature. We save rainwater and use it on the gardens--downspouts go into large fiberglass tubs rather than dumping the rainwater on the ground. We also run the dishwasher about every other day--full loads only, and I only use the clothes washer for large loads.
Once you get into the routine, and it doesn't take long, you will be amazed at the amount of water you save. Even if you are in Michigan, your grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, will thank you.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 3:59PM
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- We used saved water for hand-washing dishes. We generally use 1-gallon of water for after-meal clean-up and washing any dishes that don't go in the dishwasher. We use a small plastic tub in the sink, heat 5-cups of water in an electric kettle, add 5 cups of cold water, and use the remaining 6 cups for rinsing.

- Saved water is also stored in the basement on racks containing three 5-gallon water bottles, for emergency use.

- Saved shower water can be used to flush the toilet. We found narrow mop buckets that slip nicely beside the tub and stool.

- We have a 1,000-gallon rain barrel system that's used primarily for lawn/garden/landscape. I know some people who also use it for doing their laundry.

- Saved water is also what we use in our 1-gallon distiller to distill out drinking/cooking water (usually 2 to 3-gallons a day).

- Saved water is used in our steam cleaners.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:58PM
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Michigan has water on three sides (actually, it's legitimate to say that there's a way in which one can say that it's on four sides).

Different ball game in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and some others north of there.

And guess which areas have the greatest population growth?

Don't tell me that humans don't have a "stupid" bone in their bodies!

Heck ... they even build big buildings in an area where they know darn well that there's going to be a *big* earthquake, one of these days!

Don't ask me to work on the 74th floor!

With regard to saving energy and water and making less garbage/taking better care of the environment, we have quite a bit in common with the guy who, having fallen from the 40th floor of a high-rise, was heard to say, as he travelled past the 27th - 25th floors,

"So far - so good!"!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

ole joyful

P.S. He who plans early, then seriously implements the plan ...

... retires early ...

... which makes every day ...


(Or vacation - take your pick!).

o j

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:55PM
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Grainlady, what kind of water distiller do you use? I've been thinking about getting one since I read an article that said that in many communities, the tap water isn't nearly as safe as people think. I saw a piece on the news not too many months ago about a man who was talking about a distiller he had that could make safe drinking water out of anything liquid, and that our biggest threat may very well be damage to our water supply someday. I did some research and found lots of things that filtered the water but when you run out of filters you run out of water, too.

My water bill runs about $50 a month, since the last rate hike. Of course that has other things included, which is sewer, street lights, garbage pick-up and mosquito spray. The sewer cost is calculated on how much water you use so if you cut down on your water use you save in two areas.

A year and two rate hikes ago, my water bill was running $60. We have done several things to economize. Had we not, our bill by now would be nearly $80. DH and I share our bath water, and I've quit running the water right up to the overflow like I used to. I'm careful to run just the cold water unless I really do want warm water. It takes about a gallon of water before it starts getting warm, so I do keep a clean milk jug beside each sink. The water that we collect in the bathroom can be poured into the tub. Then when you run bath water you can just turn on the hot, no cold. I don't particularly like to flush with it because it doesn't seem to work very well, but that might just be unique to my bathroom.

A lot of my water savings has to do with timing. If someone runs warm water in the master bathroom, or if I happen to be running the washing machine or the dishwasher, I will take that time also to wash up whatever pots and pans and other things that don't fit in the dishwasher. This way I take advantage of hot water that is already "at my fingertips". Of course, I'm at home all day so I can do these things. I can see how it would be hard when you have a job to get off to.

I've bought a water storage tank to collect rainwater in for my garden but haven't got it connected yet. Last year we got so much rain I didn't have to water my garden much at all. Usually, though, in July and August, I would have to water every day. This really hikes up the water bill. One summer we rigged up a pump and some hoses and pumped the bath water out on our flower beds.

Our grandson lives with us and I wish I could fix the tub in his bathroom to not hold very much water. We have an older home and the bathtubs are those deep ones. I keep reminding him, "It's a bathtub, not a swimming pool. You don't really need to float." But unfortunately he doesn't always comply. His bathwater, though, does make a lot of flowers happy during dry spells.

OJ, I will have been retired for a year in March. It's wonderful! --Ilene

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 10:06AM
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ilene - I have a couple water distillers. The non-electric distiller is for emergency use only. It's not energy efficient. The last distiller I got was from A 1-gallon electric water distiller. It's the 6th distiller I've owned over the last 25+ years.

Distillation is the only way to remove pharamaceutical drugs from drinking water, and I've been aware of the problems from those since the early 1990's. Typical water treatment in our fair cities and towns kills bacteria, but doesn't remove the drugs.

When our daughter's family moved to Germany in 1995 (Army), one of the first things they were told was to use some type of water purifier. After I studied out why, I found that's where they first discovered pharmaceutical drugs in the drinking water. I've also known 2 people who were having drug interactions that was attributed to drugs in the drinking water and the problems went away when they switched to distilled water...


    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 11:10AM
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Interesting point of view reagarding the danger of drugs in out drinking water supply. I worry about that too.

But I do not think that drinking distilled water is the answer. Doesn't our bodies need the minerals found in water? There may not be a one hundred percent right or wrong answer or maybe I am wrong here in my thinking.

May I link to an article about the danger of drinking distilled water as one's only source. It is just another point of view by a doctor with validity and food for thought. Google for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Water

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 2:46AM
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dilly dally -

Yes, our bodies require minerals - ORGANIC minerals that we get from FOOD, not mineral salts (rocks and dirt) found in suspension in water. The minerals in water are INorganic - something similar to "rocks".

When you pop our distiller open after it's completed distilling a gallon of water, it's loaded with calcium (and who knows what else?). If we are getting all this calcium in our water, why do people have osteoporosis? Oh... perhaps it's because we can't absorb it properly when it's in an inorganic form.

Minerals are inorganic elements found in the soil. Plants absorb minerals directly from the soil (in the form of mineral salts); through photosynthesis it converts the mineral salts to organic minerals. Animals (including humans) get their mineral supply indirectly by eating the plants or by eating other animals who have eaten the plants.

Rain is distilled water - ever notice how plants and yards thrive on it much better than city water?

I've used distilled water for nearly all of my adult life. My first DEXA test (bone density) at the age of 43 revealed the bones of a much younger woman. I should have already lost 1/2-inch of height at that age, but at 56 I'm still the same height as I was at the age of 17 when I stopped growing and the last DEXA test was still excellent.

I also think there was a time when Dr. Mercola promoted distillation for drinking water, if my memory serves me. I wonder which water filter greases the palm of Dr. Mercola? But I digress.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 7:59AM
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This post is getting to me! Every morning when I'm waiting for the water to heat up in the shower I think about this post now. I put a bucket in the bathroom today.

I especially like the idea of using the water to flush the toilet. That way you don't even have to take the bucket out of the bathroom - a perfect solution for a lazy housekeeper like me!!!

My washer & dryer are in the basement. I would love to use the saved water for washer - but know I'm too lazy to haul it down. I do pour the water out of the dehumidifier into the washer every time I do a load. My washer has a water sensor, not a timer, on the fill so I can add water to the tub without it running over. Don't do this if your washer fills by a timer or you'll have a mess on the floor!

I guess I can also use that saved water to mop the bathroom & kitchen floor. Maybe it will motivate me to mop more often!

My Dad was a fanatic about saving water when I was growing up - he grew up in a house with a well, and even though we had "city water" (as he called it) he went nuts when we kids left a faucet running. EVERY DAY he'd bang on the bathroom door when I took a shower and shout, "Turn that water down - you've been in there long enough!" That upbringing is under my skin and the sound of a faucet running for no reason drives me crazy. Those desk top fountains make my skin crawl -they sound like a faucet running. How nuts is this - I can't even stand the sound of a high creek running because it sounds like a faucet on high : ) THANKS DAD!

Anyway, thanks for a way to aleveiate my guilt over letting the shower water run to warm up! I've strugged with that one for year - it never occurred to me to just put a bucket under it!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:20PM
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Mommabird, I tried using buckets to move bathwater to the washer and it's a lot of work! But DS found me a little pump that is flat on the bottom and has a hose on it long enough to reach to the washer. I keep the pump and the coiled-up hose in an empty kitty-litter bucket in the bathroom. After the bath is over, just set the pump into the water by the drain, where it's deepest, carry the end of the hose to the washer (if you close the lid down on top of the hose, that will keep it from jumping out when the water begins to come through), and then plug the pump in to start. When the pump's done, set the bucket into the tub and put the pump in it (keeps you from getting water on the floor) and then you're ready for next time.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 8:16AM
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This is very interesting. Growing up we used to visit family in Trinidad. My grandfathers showers on the first floor had a little hole in it that drained all the bathwater straight into the garden. I have been thinking recently that this would be great to do here (I'm in Florida). Of course I really don't like the idea of just having a hole in my shower that bugs and who knows what else can get into. But maybe there is a way to put a nice screen in....then of course you still have to worry about the AC leaking out and what about flood water coming in. I haven't worked out all the kinks as yet as you can see, but it seemed like a good idea. If I could do it for all the sinks in the house that would be great.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 12:58PM
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trinigemini - I remember reading an article about greywater systems years ago. A greywater system is where you put a Y divider in your drain, and a diverter switch, and you can divert the "grey" water into a cistern or your garden, and still have the water that should be going in the sewer go there. You might consider doing a Web search on greywater systems. I read the article in the 80's and thought it was a really good idea. But like most of my good ideas, I never acted on it.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 4:36PM
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I tried to get a plumber to install just such a thing, and he told me that he would not do it because it was against code. I also would not put bathwater in my vegetable garden, just on my flower beds. In the vegetable garden, there's danger of e.Coli.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 7:51AM
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ilene is right about city codes and grey water and black water use. I use water from rain barrels for the vegetable garden, never grey water.

Laundry rinse water (unless you ply it with softeners, and even vinegar can cause an acidic condition to your soil) is a low-risk grey water source.

Water from dishes is high-risk.

You're also supposed to keep grey water within your property bounderies.

Grey water should only be stored for 24-hours or less, due to microbes. You should also filter your grey water to reduce solids.

Reduce health risks-
Suggestions include:
-DonÂt use grey water on vegetable gardens.
-DonÂt use grey water if any member of your family is suffering from gastroenteritis.
-DonÂt irrigate your garden with grey water in wet weather, or if the soil is already sodden.
-DonÂt allow grey water to form pools or ponds in your garden. The microbes will thrive, creating an offensive stink and a health hazard.
-DonÂt allow your pets to drink grey water.
-Take all steps to reduce public access to areas irrigated with grey water.
-Keep children away from garden areas irrigated with grey water.
-Make sure your swimming pool and any other water features, like ponds and birdbaths, are safe from grey water runoff.
-Encourage all the family to wash their hands before eating.
Improving the quality of your grey water
-You can improve the quality of your grey water by monitoring how your water is used in the first place.

Suggestions include:
-Grey water that can be reused straight away without the need for pre-treatment includes grey water from the shower, bath and laundry rinse cycle.
-Choose phosphate-free or low-phosphate household cleaners and detergents.
-Install a lint filter in your washing machine.
-DonÂt urinate in the shower or bath.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 9:59AM
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Completely believe in conservation of ANY natural resource,but i can honestly say i'd never collect shower water for any purpose,NEVER...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 7:34PM
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qdognj -

Why wouldn't you collect the clear water that normally runs down the drain while you are waiting for the water to run hot before you start your shower?


    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Grainlady, i installed a "hot water on demand " pump on my water line to masterbath,so no waste waiting for hot water,though still not sure i'd do what you do,but think it is wonderful you do so

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 8:06PM
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