How you can help save the whales (not exactly) without blowing your budget.
I remember lining up at the drinking fountain in elementary school waiting my turn. We used to give each other a hard time for taking to long and drinking too much and we used to say, “Hey! Save some for the whales!”
In most areas of the world the amount of water we drink is not very directly linked to the health of whales in the ocean; It is however linked to the availability of freshwater in the areas we live in, some of which can experience droughts occasionally or even regularly. In most parts of North America we also pay for the water we use. While it is often not that expensive, it is often also linked to the amount we pay for sewage treatment, thus using less water in and around our home will often reduce the amount of our water and sewage bills.
So what can we do to save water around our home?
The good news is that the vast majority of things you can do to save water around your home are a few hundred dollars or less…. Unless you are replacing fixtures and have very expensive tastes.
You can even save some water by simply changing a couple of your daily habits.
I am going to start off by listing a few habits you can change, and then move on to maintenance and other things that you can do to save water around your home.
I have prepared a brief PDF download of the items listed below.
Habits to Change to Save Water
- Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth.
This is a habit that has been advocated for for decades. Just wet your toothbrush and then turn off the water until you are done brushing your teeth and are ready to rinse out your mouth.
- Turn off the water while you are washing your hands.
I haven’t heard this one advocated for much but it is something that I have been doing for several years myself.
Simply wet your hands, turn the water off, and then turn the water back on to rinse after you have soaped and scrubbed your hands.
This does result in getting a bit of soap on your tap handles which in my opinion would slightly counteract any germs that may be on the handles from turning the tap on with your dirty hands.
- Have “military showers”
A military shower is when you turn off the water once you are wet and then turning the water back on once you have finished washing your hair and body. Depending on the shower faucet you have though, it may be a bit of a hassle to get the water back to your preferred temperature.
Maintain Your Fixtures
Fix or replace any leaky taps or leaky toilets. Sometimes a repair to stop a leak can be very simple and cheap to complete. Even if a leak appears pretty small, the amount of water wasted can become a significant amount over the course of an entire year.
Use More Efficient Fixtures
- Install a more efficient toilet that uses 6 litres or less per flush. You can also look at getting dual flush toilets that allow you to only use 1-4 litres per flush (depending on the model) when a full flush is not needed.
- Use a low flow shower head which will reduce your overall water use in the shower. Research different shower heads and if possible (if you know someone that has one and it isn’t too awkward) try out different low flow shower heads before you buy one.
We learned from personal experience that using some low-flow shower heads may result in taking longer to rinse off.
- Get a shower head with a trickle button.
Once you get adequately wet you push the button on the shower head which reduces the flow to just a bit more than a trickle while you soap up. Then you release the button and have full flow right away. You don’t even have to set the temperature again as would happen if you just turned the water off as discussed above for military showers.
- Get a shower faucet that allows you to set the flow and temperature separately. Most shower faucets currently installed in homes only allow you to adjust the mix of hot and cold water to get your desired temperature, which results in the hot and cold water being on full flow in the center of the temperature range. I do not have extensive personal experience with any of these products but have included a couple links below for reference.
When it comes to reducing your water use the best place to start is to change a couple habits and ensure all of your plumbing fixtures are in good repair. Once you have covered those bases you can look at installing more efficient faucets, toilets, or shower heads.
There is a lot you can do… including replacing some basic fixtures without having to spend too much money.
If you have any ideas that I have not listed, leave a comment below.
I have prepared a PDF with a brief list of all of these items.
If you have found this post valuable and if you know someone who you think would also benefit from it please share it with them.
Thank you so much for reading and until next time… Go do something to make your home a little more sustainable.