Saving money on water

tim45z10June 22, 2014

Unfortunately, in this case you may have to spend to save.
Measure the water pressure in your house. If it is more than 60psi, turn down your water pressure regulator. If you dont have one, you will need to install one.
This will save on water used for dishes and showers.
My consumption dropped a lot after adding a pressure regulator.

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I'll have to call my plumber and see what he thinks, but it's an interesting concept.....

How we save water....
For after meal clean-up and washing anything that doesn't go into the dishwasher, as well as rinsing off the dishes that do go into the dishwasher, we use approximately one-gallon of "saved water".

Saved water is the water that would normally run down the drain while the water gets hot enough for a shower. I collect it and store it in 3-gallon BPA-free water jugs.

To expedite this, you need to do the washing in a plastic tub/bowl (1-1/2 to 2-gallon capacity) placed in your sink. Sinks can hold anywhere between 6 and 15-gallons of water and this small amount would be lost.

I put 5-cups of room temperature water in the plastic tub. Then I heat 5-cups of water in the electric kettle (it just needs to be hot, not boiling) and add it. The remainder of the gallon is used to rinse with. When I calculated the cost for heating water in the electric kettle, microwave, and on the Induction hot plate, the kettle was faster (5-minutes using .11 KWH of electricity to come to a full boil). An electric kettle is faster because the water is in contact with the heating element.

If I have a solar oven out, I can heat the water in it and put it in a thermal jug or large Thermos Bottle to use for dishes. To heat water in a solar oven (or use for cooking in for that matter): Paint the outside of quart jars with heat-resistant paint designed for repainting barbeque grills. The black paint absorbs the heat and quickly heats the water.

We run our dishwasher when it is full (about once every 5-7 days), on the shortest cycle and no-heat drying.

We can also place saved water in 5-gallon camp showers and heat them outside in the sun. We have a special hanger installed in the master shower that will hold the weight of 5-gallons of water, and we can get two showers (including washing hair) out of 5-gallons.

For the first time in a number of years we aren't living with severe drought and restricted water use, and our 1,000-gallon rain barrel system has stayed full all spring to water the gardens and landscape.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 4:26PM
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Less pressure equals less flow. Its that simple.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:36PM
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Don't waste water on rinsing the dishes that go in the dishwasher. Scrape off the chunks but leave rest on. The food left on the dishes gives the soap a place to cling to and the dishes will get cleaner.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Yes, I understand the principle, but will it interfere with other things like filling the washer or dishwasher and actually be any real savings? We already have low-flow shower heads and do an abbreviated shower method (step into the shower and wet body and washcloth; turn off water; wash with soapy wet washcloth; turn on water and rinse - 30-60 seconds of flowing water). We lived in a townhouse that had low water pressure and it took seemingly "forever" to fill the washer and the dishwasher, and 15-minutes to partially fill the bath tub. Not sure I want that again.....

The water I use for rinsing the dishes that go into the dishwasher is (A) saved water that most people let go down the drain, and (B) has already been used for doing dishes that DON'T go into the dishwasher. It's not like we are running copious amounts of water from the faucet to rinse them off. We scrape them with a plastic spatula first, but since our dishes sit in the dishwasher for up to a week waiting for a full load, a quick rinse in the USED dishwater after we've done the dishes doesn't cost anything and prevents odors and any dried on food residue.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 6:45AM
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Turning down the pressure regulator will do little more than increase the time it takes to fill the washer, dishwasher, bathtub, etc because as Tim says, it just decreases the flow, not the amount of water used. But it does mean you'll use less water washing your hands, rinsing dishes, showering, etc.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 6:49AM
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christopherh is right .... You get the same answer at a sink by not turning the water on full, but for your water-using appliances, no effect. If you're concerned, you could install low flow faucets (in my area it's required, no others are sold) that seem to be ok for sink use although tasks like filling pots for cooking do take longer.

Our area has draught-imposed use restrictions this summer, but even now the usage charge for 100 gallons of water costs is 25 cents. I think most people don't have the time or interest to pursue the Rube Goldberg-esque gyrations as described above, the resulting savings would be less than pennies. Most of my neighbors who require major reductions to stay within their quota curtail outdoor watering and perhaps may do washing at a laundromat.

My favorite way to reduce water usage is to drink beer and wine instead.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 5:25PM
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snidely - I am with you on the drinking of wine (I don't like beer) - after all, we have to do our part. Plus I am in training for Italy. Sure hope that Amex Ultimate out of country/province multi-trip health plan we have pays off if something happens! It costs us a fortune. Water costs are high in Toronto and about to go up again. Actually, I also drink bottled water (and so does our dog - he is a 10 1/3 year old white, double-coated shedder - with perfectly clear eyes). Learned about the bottled water trick when he was 7 months old (helps that he is a normal size for his breed of course). We have had a lot of rain today - torrential and then nothing - this seems to be the new norm. I just wish it would rain in a normal fashion - especially when I am out in it. Of course torrential rains will not stop the idiots from setting off the gun-shot sounding fire crackers at 3:00 a.m. - this has been going on for days. Your turn will come Friday - or sooner.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Teaching children to turn the water on half? Tough one.
Lower pressure will allow your sink, toilet, laundry hoses to last longer too.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:27PM
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As with saving formerly hot but cooled after some time in the line water from heater, keep a bucket by the lavatory, dip most of post-wash soapy water out with plastic e.g. yogurt, margarine tub, use the bucket of water to flush the toilet.

If you're on septic system ... check with folks with experience before trying this soapy/detergenty water through the toilet project. But only if your water from sinks goes out into a different drainage system: if they go into the septic tank, it'd be the same game.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:28PM
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Thanks Grainlady for that incredible description... I'm gonna start using some of those tips right away especially the dishwasher one.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:44PM
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The first thing I do when I buy a new shower attachment is to pop that damned water saver plug OUT. The politicians and the celebs and the suits sure as hell aren't going without, and it's not like we'll get back the water we saved, if we do try to save.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Curt D'Onofrio

No pressure regulator at main. Change the shower head. There you can manually adjust amount of water coming out....ergo at kitchen/bath faucets

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 12:30AM
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I did not know about a water saver plug. I do know this home of mine has less water pressure than my older home. I will definitely ask the plumber when I need one again or google how to do it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2015 at 4:07PM
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