Traditionally, homeowners use more water during the summer months than any other season throughout the year. This can have a direct impact on your wallet and the environment. To save some money this summer, try these 9 easy ways to reduce water waste and save money.
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1. Mulch Your Garden Beds
Mulch not only suppresses weed growth and makes your garden beds look tidy, but it also helps retain water. Rubber mulch is the best option for water retention. According to Your Easy Garden, rubber mulch is nonporous so it won’t absorb water. This prevents the water from becoming trapped above the soild and allows it to drain directly into it. However, rubber is one of the more expensive varieties of mulch. For a cheaper option, try shredded wood mulch. It may absorb some of the water, but it also traps moisture.
2. Invest in a Smart Timer
Having your landscape sprinkler system on a timer will limit the amount of water used. If you want to make a real impact, invest in a smart timer that senses rainfall and will automatically shut off when it’s raining. That way, you won’t be watering your yard or garden when it doesn’t need it. While you’re installing a timer, make sure you check all the system lines for leaks. A small leak may not look like much, but it quickly adds up over time.
3. Water in the Morning or Evening
When you water your lawn and garden can also affect how much water is used. If you water in the middle of the day when the temperatures are hottest, more water will be evaporated than absorbed so you’ll have to water more frequently. The best time to water is in the cooler temperatures of morning and evening, morning being preferred, especially when the seasons start to turn and nights get colder. You don’t want to accidentally freeze your plants.
4. Use a Rain Barrel
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, homeowners use 2-4x the amount of water during the summer than they do any other time of the year due to watering lawns and gardens, and 50% of that is wasted due to overwatering. If you want to cut down on your water bill and you have rain gutters, install a rain barrel. Not only do they provide a free source of water to tap into, but they also help reduce runoff pollution, prevent erosion, and help control moisture around the foundation of your home, among many other benefits.
5. Take Your Car to the Car Wash
If you’re like many people, you may think the warm weather and sunshine creates the perfect opportunity to wash the car in the driveway and save some money. You may be surprised to learn that you use more water at home than you do at the car wash. According to RealSimple, an average car wash uses 30 gallons of water per car. At home, you run 30 gallons of water through your hose in about 4 minutes. So, unless you have a rain barrel (see #4), you’ll use less water by going to a car wash.
6. Use Your Dishwasher
Between cookouts and kids spending more time at home while on summer break, you may find your sink quickly filling up with cookware and dishes. Hand washing might be an enticing way to stay on top of the mess. After all, it’s a quicker method for getting items back in the cupboards. However, the folks at Reviewed found that washing your dishes by hand can use 5x as much water as a dishwasher. Washing a cup here and plate there may not seem like much water, but it does add up throughout the day. So when you can, fill up the dishwasher and try to avoid hand washing.
7. Carry a Reusable Water Bottle
It’s important to stay hydrated during the summer months. Instead of buying disposable bottles while you’re out, carry a reusable water bottle filled with water and ice. If you invest in a high-quality bottle, your water will stay cool all day. Have kids? Assign them their own bottle, even when they’re at home. That way, they won’t be filling up a new cup every time they get thirsty.
8. Shorten Showers
During the summer, it’s easy to spend more time outside where you can get dirty and sweaty, and you may feel inclined to shower more often, but next time you take a shower, consider cutting back. According to Peter Lehner, Former Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), shortening a shower by 2 minutes will save 1,750 gallons of water per person. Need a reminder or want to reign in the amount of time your kids shower? Get a waterproof shower timer. While you’re at it, also consider shortening the amount of time you leave the sink faucet on. In just the amount of time you spend brushing your teeth with the water still flowing, you can waste about 4 gallons.
9. Cover the Pool
Anyone lucky enough to have a backyard pool knows the crazy amount of money that’s spent filling it up. So, why let any of it go to waste? Not only does covering a pool help keep out frogs, snakes, and other aqua-loving creatures, but it prevents the water from evaporating up into the atmosphere. If you have kids or pets, you may even want to consider getting a safety pool cover to prevent them from accidentally falling in.
Do you have any tips for reducing water waste and saving money? Share it in the comments!
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