More opportunities to reduce water use at home
by Peter Speckner, Communications Coordinator
The average person in the Region of Waterloo uses 200 litres of water a day so our regional government created an online self-audit called the WET Challenge. It is part of an effort to lower the average amount of water used per person to 165 litres.
We’ve been providing you with advice on how to save water. In our last post, we talked about your bathroom.Now, we’ll be covering all of the other items in your home that use water. So, let’s jump in and make sure they’re doing so efficiently.
We’ll start with an amazing fact about dishwashers. There is less water and energy used to run a dishwasher than to wash dishes by hand. Yes, you read that correctly! Dishwashers filter and reuse the wash water; hand washing/rinsing usually requires warm, running water. Therefore, the dishwasher wins!
If seeing is believing, here is a breakdown of the numbers. Check out some more tips on ensuring your dishwasher is running efficiently. And you really need to see this by-the-numbers comparison of cold vs hot water washing for how you can save some water and lots of energy.
The next most common water using device in your home is the washing machine. This hard-working appliance can produce great savings in both water and energy usage. Here are a couple key tips:
- front load washers are more water efficient than top load
- if you limit washing to full loads, and wash in cold water and you can save a lot of energy compared to warm/hot water.
Softening your water
Living in Waterloo Region for most people means using water softeners to make showers/baths more enjoyable, or to improve water use in other appliances. They are wonderful to have, but they can also be very wasteful.
Many people don’t know that water softeners have to regenerate to recharge their saltwater capacity. This regeneration process can use anywhere from 300-600 L per session. Allowing regenerations to run only when they’re needed, and not on a fixed schedule, will save you water. Learn about the best ways to initiate a regeneration. You can compare those options to the options which your own softener may have.
Everybody loves splashing around in a pool, or taking a long, relaxing soak in a hot tub. They’re great to own, but they use an incredible amount of water. If not properly maintained, they can also waste a lot as well.
First and foremost – always use a cover! Water evaporation can cause a huge loss. Don’t forget to check for leaks – even a small one can waste a lot of water. Lowering the temperature can also save water, as warmer water evaporates more quickly. Here are more water-saving ideas.
Be sure to obey the Region of Waterloo has by-laws on outdoor water uses.
Watering your lawn
The old saying goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side”. It’s probably because they’re using sprinklers to regularly water their lawn. There is, however, a fine line between sufficient watering and wasteful over-watering.
Knowing how much water your plants and lawn need is paramount. Also, watering is best done in the morning, and water only until the soil can no longer absorb the water. To ensure your automatic sprinklers don’t run in the rain, install a rain sensor. The Region of Waterloo has by-laws covering lawn watering, so read them carefully to see how they apply to you.
Humidifying your home’s air
Lastly, we have attached humidifiers. Nobody likes the extremely dry air of winter. The hair-raising effects of static from dry air are also not fun. So, when things get really bad, there are humidifiers. Attached to the furnace, they moisten the air before it’s circulated throughout your home.
The biggest cause of water waste with this set up is leaks. However, even certain types of humidifiers can use more water than others. Check out the differences here.
Water is something everyone uses everyday. It’s an important part of our daily routines. Using water is not a bad thing, but allowing your appliances or habits to waste water is not good for either your pocketbook or the environment. It’s up to everyone to do their part to make sure our children and grandchildren have clean water for their own daily routines as well.