The Phaserl


Survival Basics: 15 Ways To Conserve Water

by Gaye Levy, The Sleuth Journal:

It is my belief that preparedness is a lifestyle and to that end, we need to be proactive and embrace good habits now so when and if a crisis, disaster or collapse occurs, these habits will be second nature and intuitive. One of those habits is the conservation of household water.

Today I share 15 ways to conserve water, beginning in the bathroom since interestingly enough, that is where 75% of all household water is used.

1. The faucet at the bathroom sink does not need to be running continuously while you brush your teeth, wash your face or shave. You will save between three and five gallons of water each minute your faucet is turned off. That is a lot of water.! Instead, use the stopper on the sink and drain the basin when you are done.

2. Only flush when needed. A toilet is not a wastepaper basket for tissues, cotton balls or other bits of trash.

3. Most toilets installed before 1980 use 5-7 gallons of water per flush. Toilets installed between 1980 and 1993 use 3.5 gallons per flush. Toilets installed since 1994 use 1.6 gallons.

If you happen to have an older toilet, consider filling a used soda bottle or jar with water and small pebbles or marbles and place it upright in the tank. This will cut down on the amount of water that flows through the tank with each flush. Just be careful not to place the bottle where it will jam the flushing mechanism. Also, make sure you don’t displace so much water that you have to double-flush. Double flushing wastes more water than you would save.

4. Check for leaky facets and toilets. It is easy to replace worn washers and since a small leak can waste many gallons of water a day, it is well worth the effort to test for leaks now.

The way to test for toilet leaks is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if the colored water appears in the bowl. This takes about 10 minutes. If the water color changes, you have a leak. Not to worry though. Most leaks can be repaired with a kit that you can pick up at your local hardware store. You can find lots of information on toilets and toilet repairs at the Toiletology 101 website.

Keep in mind that little leaks can add fast. A faucet drip or invisible toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to 15 gallons a day. That’s 105 gallons a week or 5,460 wasted gallons of water a year.

Helpful hint: Are you wondering how long the parts in your toilet tank should last? The answer is: it depends. Replaceable parts such as flappers and washers or seals inside the refill valve may last several years. However factors such as water treatment processes, toilet bowl cleaners, and high water pressure can cause parts to disintegrate much sooner. If you touch the flapper and get black “goo” on your hands, the flapper needs to be replaced.

5. Check for hidden water leaks elsewhere in your home by reading your water meter. What you do is read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

6. Take shorter showers. Bathing and showering consume huge amounts of water. One good way to conserve is to turn the water off while you soap up. I get too cold doing that so instead, I have installed a water saving shower head. Another option is to limit the length of your shower to 5 minutes or less. Reducing your shower time by 1 minute can save up to 1,000 gallons of water a year.

7. When you take a bath, use lots of bubble bath. I kid you not. Stop up the tub, add a copious amount of bubble bath and and just a few inches of water. It is totally an illusion but it will seem as though the water is higher than it really is. In addition, remember to plug the tub before turning on water; that initial burst of cold water will be warmed later by adding hot water.

8. Like you drinking water cold? Keep a bottle or carafe of drinking water in the refrigerator so that you don’t let the water from the faucet run while getting a cold drink. This applies only if you drink the water from your tap, of course.

9. In the kitchen, don’t let the faucet run when you scrub vegetables or prepare other foods. Put a stopper in the sink instead. Likewise, do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator instead.

10. Instead of using a garbage disposal that requires running water to operate, start and use a compost pile. Your garden will love you for it.

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3 comments to Survival Basics: 15 Ways To Conserve Water

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    Here’s MY 2 cents worth. I hope you find it useful for YOUR home as I did for mine.

    I got rid of the the 1.6 gallon toilets, and replaced them with new ones from Home Depot- they’ve got a FLAPPERLESS toilet (store brand=Glacier Bay), it has an independent FLUSH rating of the MAXIMUM reliable flush (no. TEN). IT has a LARGE “trap”, etc.

    It uses ONLY 1.28 gallons per flush, and is just about impossible to clog it up. It’s a STRONG flusher (but also, it’s a GRAVITY flush, so you can do a “bucket flush” even with a bucket of RAIN WATER, poured into the bowl, or you can open the tank and fill it too.)

    The TANK does NOT hold the water (so it cannot get COLD and “sweat” and drip condensed water on the floor. The water is held in a kind of like a section of house “rain gutter”. Flush the handle, and the “gutter” rotates and drops the water down the hole.

    Flushing the handle, is VERY easy, and even if you’ve got 10 broken fingers, you can still flush this toilet.

    The toilet typically sells for about $100, but often is on SALE for less.

    Watch the video and you’ll see. PLUS, the replacement valve is quite LOW PRICE.

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    Here is ANOTHER “money saving tip”. It may not save water, but saves HOT water.

    I can’t remember where I found the diagram (perhaps it was “Home Power” or Mother Earth News?), this won’t work for every home, but MANY people can do this.

    To recapture about 20% of the “lost heat” going down the SHOWER DRAIN, you put the COLD WATER inlet pipe that normally goes INTO your hot water tank, and DIVERT it, into some COPPER TUBING that you WRAP around the bathtub drain pipe under the tub, and THEN it goes into the cold water inlet like normal.

    Now when you take a SHOWER (as the hot water is RUNNING down the HOT drain), your modification pipe, is getting PRE-WARMED before it enters the hot water tank!!! The article I read, said that you typically capture about twenty percent of the BTU’s that normally goes down the drain.

    So either you SAVE 20% of your shower hot water costs, OR,.. you can take a shower that is about 20% longer before you run out of hot water.

    For best efficiency of “BTU capture”, start the wrap a little bit AWAY from the tub, and wrap around the pipe (perhaps 7 twists or more), until the last wrap is almost touching the bottom of the tub at the drain.

    Even if you cannot get up underneath your shower pan or bathtub, you can wrap the drain pipe somewhere before the heat is lost forever down the sewer drain.

    Put insulation around the drain pipe to prevent from losing any heat. PS. Don’t forget to wrap all your pipes with insulation. You’ll stop the COLD water pipes from “sweating-condensation”, and you’ll save BTU’s from being lost from the HOT water pipes.

    As for HEATING ducts? Silicone rubber calking is good for up to 400F degrees (feel free to caulk the seams) or buy “PROPER” duct tape that is GOOD for at least 250F, and then INSULATE those ducts to improve efficiency.

    Do NOT use bathtub or shower water for GARDENS (because that water contains some BUTT krap particles that is considered “black water” dangerous.) But you MAY capture bath water and use it for flushing the TOILET.

    Rain water also is OK for doing “bucket flush”.

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