20 handy tips to conserve water and save money this summer

It’s estimated that up to 50% of the water we use outdoors in the summer is not needed to maintain a healthy landscape, according to New York American Water.
Across the tri-state area, water suppliers have instituted conservation rate structures as a means to encourage customers to adjust their consumption habits, and reduce water usage for the sake of long-term environmental protection and clean drinking water.
You can implement the small changes below to help conserve water and lower the cost of your water bill:

1. Water use calculator

This online water calculator from Alliance for Water Efficiency allows you to input water use information specific to your household and offers tips on where you can save water and energy based on that data.

2. Plants

No need to water every day. Instead, only water as needed. Depending on the weather or type of plants/turf, you may find that you only need to water once or twice per week.

3. Lawn

Lawn watering uses a lot of water. Water your lawn only when it needs it. An easy way to tell if your lawn needs water is to simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, your lawn may be thirsty! Generally, lawns only need an inch or so of water per week during the summer months. Set your lawn mower one notch higher to make your lawn more drought-tolerant.

4. Drip irrigation

Use drip irrigation hoses to water plants, and water in the early morning or evening.

5. Porous pavement

Consider using porous pavement (gravel is a good example) instead of asphalt for driveways and walkways, the rain will soak into the soil instead of running off and contributing to erosion.

6. Broom

Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your sidewalk, driveway, or patio.

7. Local plants

Plant appropriately for your local climate. Check with local nurseries for non-invasive, drought-tolerant plants. Choose drought-resistant plants or native plants. Plants native to the local conditions have the benefit of being able to thrive within them. And, they often require less maintenance and water.

8. Control the flow

Use a hose nozzle on your hose to better control the flow you are using. Place hoses carefully to avoid watering unnecessary areas like sidewalks.

9. Sprinklers

If you use a sprinkler, check sprinkler heads to make sure they’re not watering paved or unwanted areas. Be sure to turn them off when it rains.

10. Mulch

Mulch plant beds to reduce weeds and preserve moisture. Over mulching can stress plants - only two to three inches are needed.

11. Car wash

Use a bucket of soapy water rather than leaving the hose running when washing your car or take your car to a car wash that recycles the water.

12. Pets

Bathe pets outdoors in areas that need water.

13. Showers

Install water-saving showerheads and shorten your shower time to five minutes.

14. Washers

Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are full. If you have a water-saver cycle, use it. Adjust the water level of your clothes washer so it matches your load size. If you wash dishes by hand, use two basins: one for washing and one for rinsing. Don’t let the water run. Before washing dishes by hand or in the dishwasher, scrape them; don’t rinse first.

15. Leaks

Regularly check your toilet, faucets, and pipes for leaks. If you find a leak, have it fixed as soon as possible. Check your water meter before and after a one-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. Check water bills for any instances of high water use, as this may be an indication of a leak.

16. Water-efficient

Consider water and energy-efficient appliances. Products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20% more efficient without sacrificing performance. The USEPA reports that EPA-certified Energy Star washing machines may use 35% less water per load. Water-saving showerheads, toilets and faucet aerators can also help cut your water usage.

17. Insulation

Insulate exposed water pipes with pre-slit foam insulation. You’ll enjoy hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.

18. Turn it off

Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth.

19. Running the tap

Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for a cold glass.

20. Rinsing

Rinse vegetables and fruit in a basin rather than under running water. Defrost frozen foods without running water over the packages. Plan ahead and place frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.